The concept of ‘Investment’
The focus of my little word today is on a current pursuit of mine which has been consuming a considerable chunk of my Monday to Friday. I really believe that it is always a worthwhile exercise to examine our hobbies, passions, and time expenditure, if we wish to develop into not only productive members of society, but more importantly, into the people that God has called us to be.
If it is true that God is the supreme director of our lives, we must examine whether the way in which choose to spend our time; aligns with His word and calling over our lives, whether it fosters productivity, development and creativity, and perhaps whether there is some way that it can be used to contribute to the lives of others.
This is a question which requires a great deal of self-awareness to respond to, because the answer will inevitably differ between you and I. Today I want to talk about the concept of investment, and some of the characteristics common between both financial investment and what I’ve called ‘spiritual investment’ defined as ‘the intentional pursuit of God through our communing with Him or with others.’
I have had a keen interest in the financial markets for almost two years, which has developed into a bit of an obsession for me recently, such that it’s a rare day where I won’t spend at least a few hours browsing over the brokerage charts and mapping out potential trades.
Over the time I have been involved in this activity, my perspective on areas such as human psychology, risk, and global finance has changed dramatically. I have also learned that investment in an asset or financial instrument and our daily ‘investment in God’, for want of a better phrase, can be viewed through a similar lens. So what are some of these common points?
Investment involves faith and reliance
Well firstly, it is important to acknowledge that any trade or investment decision is an act of faith and reliance. This is a fundamental pillar of investment psychology. When placing a trade, you are, in essence, placing your faith in a system, in a broker, or in a market which you believe will both execute a speculative order, and yield a higher return than what is the norm.
You are assuming that the market will continue to fluctuate according to human emotion as it always has, and that the market rewards those investors who are vigilant and utilise time-tested techniques, rather than get-rich-quick schemes or a simple algorithm.
In the same way, when we invest in Godly pursuits, like prayer and communion with Him, we place our faith and reliance on him, a being that we cannot yet see, because we have enough evidence to know that He is worthy of our trust. We see the way in which is able to change the life of the bitter into a life of joy, to undertake acts of supernatural intervention, and to reveal himself through conscience, science and creation.
Nonetheless this is still an act of faith, as we believe in the unseen and acknowledge that there remain great questions about the world, that we may never be able to answer.
Investment involves historical and experiential probability
However, is it a blind faith that we have?… by no means. This is because secondly, it is essential to acknowledge that a good trade or investment decision is an act based on historical and experiential probability.
A wise trader recognises that anyone can win big on a lucky punt, but no one will ever achieve consistent returns unless they develop a strategy which has been shown to work time and again. While investors acknowledge the impossibility to predict with certainty the outcome of any particular trade, a proficient investor gathers enough historical data to identify that the probability is on their side, so that while any one trade might go against them, they have the statistical edge in their favour over time.
In the same way, when we invest in Godly pursuits, like prayer and communion with Him, we safely rely on the knowledge that what he brought about in the lives of Moses and Daniel and Abraham as well as thousands of Christians before us, he will also bring about in our lives when we place our trust in him. While we can’t always see the result immediately, we believe that because of
His unparalleled track-record, God will continue to deliver a greater yield through fullness of life, than the alternative, which leads to destruction. We also recognise that when we commune with him, God is refining us into the person he would have us be. Just as a good investor acknowledges, we won’t get in right 100% of the time, and we still fall short every so often, but over time we recognise that we will change and see the fruit of our investment, namely, becoming an individual who is no longer so burdened by sin, and who is greatly more influential, joyful, satisfied, and Christ-like than ever before.
Investment rewards and develops
Thirdly, it is important to acknowledge that a trade or investment decision is an act which, if used wisely, rewards and develops the individual. When an investor finds a strategy, which delivers consistent returns over time, he finds a very powerful thing. He recognises this as an asset which he will be able to carry forward for the rest of his life.
He rests easy knowing that no matter where in the world he goes or whatever pathway he chooses in life, he will always have a consistent capital inflow whenever he chooses to wield his knowledge. Even when he makes a loss, he still realises that no loss is truly a loss, unless he fails to learn from it for future investment. In the same way, when we invest in Godly pursuits, like prayer and communion with Him, we know that God blesses and rewards our obedience and trust in Him.
What form this blessing or reward takes, we do not always know. However, we recognise that our greatest blessing is that of peace, joy, and satisfaction, on earth, and eternal life thereafter. We also know that the fruit of our investment follows us wherever we choose to go in life, and can be readily applied in any context, from family and friendship circles, to a vocation, to a classroom, and even to periods of our greatest adversity. Just as losing a trade, when we mess up, God uses these losses as opportunities to develop and transform us into the people he has called us to be.
So let’s continue to invest our time, effort, and resources into Godly pursuits… he has, does, and will continue to provide superior returns than any other alternative.
David is law & accounting student, elite athlete & business owner, from Brisbane, Australia.
David Lean is law & accounting student, elite athlete & business owner, from Brisbane, Australia.