A Christian Science perspective.
With all the uncertainty in the financial markets over the past few years, investors have become increasingly averse to risk. Many have chosen to park their assets in cash, even in this era of historically low interest rates. There are literally trillions of such dollars on the investment sidelines waiting for opportunity. For many the motivation is that it’s better to be “safe” than to be in an investment that can significantly decline in value. But is this true safety?
Of course there are many good reasons to temporarily put assets into cash. For example, one might be saving for a down payment on a large purchase. But if the motivation is fear of loss, it’s similar to the Bible’s parable of the talents (see Matthew 25:14-30). In that story, three servants are charged with overseeing different portions of their master’s assets. Two invest wisely and turn over their gains to the master upon his return, but one buries his portion in the ground out of fear and is chastised.
In my study of Christian Science, I’ve found gratitude to be a good antidote to fear. Specifically, being grateful for the fact that our true supply comes from God in the form of spiritually substantial ideas helps me avoid the trap of thinking that my means of security are to be found in money or physical assets. The latter are ultimately in limited supply and can run out, but ideas from God are in an inexhaustible, profitable stream.
So instead of asking myself how wealthy I am, the question is how grateful am I? When I’m filled with gratitude, I feel closer to God and can then hear His messages more clearly and receive the good they bring. These words from the “Christian Science Hymnal” are helpful:
Our gratitude is riches,
Complaint is poverty ...
True gladness is the treasure
That grateful hearts will hold.
Vivian Burnett, No. 249
Yet to many, what it all comes down to is chance, rather than divine Love’s care for us. To believe our lives and hopes are subject to an economy that can be affected by human circumstances and outside Love’s control is a frightening idea. There are many biblical and more modern examples of how those who have turned to God in prayer were saved from loss or destitution. From Elisha, an indebted woman learned that she had far more than just a pot of oil in her house (see II Kings 4:1-7). This is not to say that we shouldn’t wisely plan and save for the future, but it does make the point that our wealth does not depend on matter and material conditions.
Taking this spiritual approach when considering investments helps free one from a false sense of fear about one’s financial future. It also enables one to make better decisions. By seeing that we are permanently supplied by God with all we need, we begin to see God as our true wealth manager.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, was no stranger to poverty in her younger days, but after her discovery she came to see very clearly that divine Love truly supplies each of us with whatever we need. Writing in “Unity of Good” about a poem by John Bowring she stated, “Now if it be true that God’s power never waneth, how can it be also true that chance and change are universal factors, – that man decays?... If God be changeless goodness, as sings another line of this hymn, what place has chance in the divine economy?” (p. 26)
A dictionary definition of “invest” is to use, give, or devote in order to achieve something. If we think about it, God is communicating to us every moment. At one per second that’s 86,400 times per day!
Since the value of each of these ideas is immeasurable, it does not take us long to become spiritual multi-millionaires. And as we begin to invest just a portion of this never-ending flow of ideas by putting them into practice in our daily lives, we will begin to experience true investment security with no fear of loss.
From the Christian Science Sentinel.
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