As a Christian financial analyst and commentator, I have discovered that too many of us, unfortunately, only think about financial stewardship in times of uncertainty.
The sad part of this habit is that during such squeezes, we fail to take one very important step. In the midst of stress, we don’t take time to reflect on what we do have, whether that is a lot or a little. This is generally true, even for those who are not overly religious and don’t use God’s handbook — the Bible — for guidance and help to carry them through life.
We have to show our strength of belief through our dollars.
Even those who consider themselves faithful Christians and who are aware of God’s impact on their lives rationalize what they do with their money, especially when it comes to consulting God about what He would have them do with it.
We take so many things to the Lord in prayer — but we have a problem praying about our finances. In effect, it’s like saying, “It’s OK, God, I won’t bother You with this. I’ve got it covered.”
Before going any further, I should put a few things in perspective.
We are at a place in today’s economy that we have never seen before. We live in a world where some of the brightest minds in economics have failed to figure out where the markets are headed. We also live in a time when we have less discretionary income, wages continue to decline, food prices continue to rise, and health care costs are off the charts.
The fundamentals of the economy have been replaced by a Federal Reserve-directed stimulus effect. Everyone holds their breath for the next interest rate announcement, or where oil inventories stand, or what government intervention is coming. Geopolitical events and terrorist attacks across the globe have a far greater impact on economies than ever, too.
At the same time, we continue to witness the erosion of this country’s moral fiber. “Black Lives Matter” — unless that black life is still in the womb. The genocide of black communities’ unborn across this country reflects a sad truth: We have seen 50 million-plus babies murdered since the Supreme Court’s 1973’s Roe v. Wade ruling. Yet we wonder why God is not blessing this nation.
We have snuffed out the lives of incredible innovators, scientists, entrepreneurs, and doctors before they could begin. We could well have lost the next Martin Luther King Jr., Booker T. Washington, Harriet Tubman, Abraham Lincoln, and countless others. This has been the cost of embracing Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger’s vision for America.
Make no mistake about it, this genocide has had a negative impact on America’s prosperity and our economy. You may ask, “But what’s that got to do with our own personal financial stewardship?”
In my opinion, everything.
We can’t recognize what has happened in our society without contemplating where we are investing our money, giving it, and spending our resources. I deeply believe that if we are going to be good stewards of our finances, then one thing we have to do is make an impact on the culture war.
I have been a biblically responsible investing advocate for 28 years. If we are going to rebuild our country’s moral fiber, we absolutely must consider where our money is going.
To help restore our moral fiber, we must ask corporate America to do whatever it is they do best — whether that is selling clothing, building cars, manufacturing bulldozers, cooking hamburgers, drilling for oil, or processing chemicals. They need to show backbone and leadership by doing whatever they do without caving in to social or political pressures from the Left or the Right. In other words, stand up and say, “We flip burgers,” or “We make bulldozers. So we are going to spend our money doing what we do best and being the best company we can be. Period.”
How does that fit into our finances? Corporate America pays close attention to the bottom line. So if we hope to create an impact, we need to hit them in the pocketbook. The stocks we own, dividends we receive, and interest we earn must come from decent endeavors.
If we own even one share of a company’s stock (remember your mutual funds, too), then we have ownership in it. This begs the question: Do you invest in any companies involved in abortion, pornography, or gambling? Imagine what would happen if millions of us stopped investing in such companies.
We have to show our strength of beliefs through our dollars. In the last 13 months, eight Fortune 100 companies have contacted our ministry, asking what they have to do to get on my “responsible investing” list. When I put a “sell” order in and tens of thousands of people sell stock in those companies for doing the wrong thing, we make an impact. We need to consider such action part of good stewardship.
This kind of approach is a bit “out of the box.” I know, too, that many people fight with financial advisers who say, “It can’t be done.” I’ve had countless ministries, churches, and parachurch organizations tell me the same thing. Yet once I show them the practical steps they can take — they realize how easily it can be done.
Strengthening the Nation
To be good stewards of all we have, including our influence and time, we must be concerned about every aspect of America, and about every aspect of our family’s life and the well-being of our neighbors and community.
We need to give more thought to what we are spending and investing, where we are spending it, and how we are investing. Those of us who believe deeply in a stronger America must be thinking with our dollars, our faith, and our hearts. Want to fight the culture war? Corporate America will change as we influence their bottom line. Our finances will change as we honor God with what we have.
Dan Celia is president and CEO of Financial Issues Stewardship Ministries, Inc., and host of the national syndicated radio talk program “Financial Issues.”