Scripture often reminds us that while money is important, our earthly and eternal security lies in our relationship with God.
In Ecclesiastes 5:10, Solomon cautions, “Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.”
Proverbs 11:28 says, “He who trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like foliage.”
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And in Hebrews 13:5, we are told, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. for He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’”
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Himself puts it this way: “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24).
The Apostle Paul shares an admonition against greed that is often misquoted. He does not call money itself evil — only the excessive desire for it.
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:10).
But Christians must still seek to impact the kingdom through their God-given resources. Biblically responsible investing, or BRI, is one avenue to realize that “kingdom impact.”
The ethics of socially responsible investing (SRI), the precursor to BRI, are not new. In fact, they can be traced not only to specific Bible verses but also to Jewish interpretive writing in the Talmud, stretching back before Christ.
Even with the rising number of SRI funds — including some that were based on religion — there wasn’t really an option for Christian conservatives or pastors to invest without compromising their beliefs, including the sanctity of life and wholesome family values.
In March 1994, the Timothy Plan unveiled its fund — aimed at evangelical Christians.
“This fund may have gone too far,” mutual fund analyst Michael Lipper told Bloomberg News for an article headlined “New Fund Seeks Christians” back in April 1994. “It sounds like someone trying to preach to the converted and then setting up a big collection.”
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Despite some opposition, Art Ally, the founder of Timothy Plan, has had a leadership role in steering investments toward biblically responsible outcomes for 24 years. Today, Christians are benefiting from BRI because they don’t aid immoral activities with their money; they also encourage good corporate behavior while receiving a competitive return.
“As people become convicted of being biblically responsible investors, they are the best clients to have,” says BRI authority and nationally syndicated host Dan Celia of Financial Issues Stewardship Ministries. “They are at peace; they’re not going to call every time the market goes down.”
“Every day, people comment on how grateful they are and how blessed they are to have peace of mind that their money is invested in areas that are not grieving the heart of God,” Celia continued. “For the first time in most of their lives, they are not worried about money. They know that God will honor their commitment.”
Celia has little patience for advisers who try to steer clients away from BRI-focused portfolios.
“If a financial adviser tries to talk you out of it, fire him (or her),” he said. “Advisers shouldn’t question someone’s convictions. They should be helping their clients fulfill their goals and their objective of being responsible with God’s money. If they don’t find an adviser who can help them do this, they should keep looking.”
The immediate positive impact is on the Christian investor, who no longer worries that his or her dollars are funding immoral activities. Society also benefits — as companies take notice that many of their shareholders don’t want their investments aiding anti-family, anti-marriage and anti-morality causes.
And it’s good for the financial advisers, too.
What about Christian employees at secular companies with company-sponsored retirement plans? What should they do if their investment options amount only to a few mutual funds that include immoral investments?
“There’s nothing wrong with bringing your employer’s attention to the possibility of adding some investment choices that incorporate BRI,” said financial adviser Mark Minnella, author of “The Wall Street Awakening.”
As he explained, “First, Christian employees should be thankful and approach the employer with respect and thanksgiving for what they are doing. They could then point out that their current 401(k) includes an environmentally friendly fund — because most do — and they could say: ‘That’s great. We wonder if you would consider also doing that for those of us interested in BRI?’”
Minnella also recommends downloading a letter provided by the screening site eVALUEator, a tool to analyze mutual funds based on moral integrity, and sending it to the employer. “You could even send it anonymously, if you’re worried about being singled out,” he said.
Money, like other material things, is good because God made it. Money allows us to take care of ourselves, our families and our neighbors with legitimate needs. Jesus said that it is more blessed to give than to receive.
Biblically responsible investing allows people to grow their finances — and to be able to give without supporting moral corruption. We have true peace of mind when we lean for all of our needs on the One Who made us: “Both riches and honor come from You, And You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; In Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all” (1 Chronicles 29:12).
See more on biblical financing in the video below.
Robert Knight is an author and a communications adviser for Timothy Partners, Ltd.
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