God and gains
God is pro financial investment. Though Scripture has many warnings about money - many from the mouth of Jesus Himself - God is not anti money per se. God is after our hearts and money can wrap around our hearts like a gnarl of thorns if we place too high of a value on it. Thus the warnings.
In the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25), Jesus explains a scenario where 3 servants were entrusted with their master's money while the master is away:
- Servant 1 - given 5 talents, produces 5 more (100% return on investment)
- Servant 2 - given 2 talents, produces 2 more (100% return on investment)
- Servant 3 - given 1 talent, he buries the talent out of fear (0% return on investment)
When the master returns, he checks in with his servants to see how they did. He is very pleased with Servants 1 and 2 because they were good stewards of his money (100% returns! Beat that Wall Street!). He is furious with Servant 3, who literally dug a hole and put the money in the dirt.
There is more to Servant 3 than bad investing.
Servant 3 did not trust his master. He thought his master was rich due to unfair gain and he did not think that his master earned his money. He said he was a "hard man" and thus Servant 3 just punted on the whole investment deal because he was scared. The issue was with Servant 3's fear and lack of trust in his master.
There is more to this parable than investing.
The word here is "stewardship". We are not owners of God's blessings (our time, talents, and treasure), but rather we are stewards - those appointed to look after these resources as God's ambassadors in the world. Our stewardship of God's stuff is not about the stuff, but rather about our relationship with our loving Father. As we trust, we experience more and more of the love of Christ in our lives. Stewardship thus brings us closer to Jesus.
Will we trust God enough to be bold stewards or will we bury His gifts out of fear?