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I personally do not invest in the stock market. I see it as a gamble with money I have no time to replace. However, the Bible gives a good lesson in the parable of the talents found in Matthew 25 that speaks well of putting money to work. Each of the servants is given some money to hold in trust for their master. Two of the servants put the money to some form of investment, and as Matthew 25:16 reveals, it was by trading. This reveals some form of sales in a market place or trading center where value could increase through a transaction. This sounds similar to our present day stock market. These two servants are praised by their master and are given even more according to their "talent". Yet there is another servant not so influent. This last servant takes the money he is given and buries it in fear of losing it. He actually buries the money in the ground similar to hiding money in a mattress. The master was very upset and sited laziness to his lack of investiture. He went so far as to say his money should have been deposited in a bank to collect simple interest. He failed to use the money wisely and found himself out on the streets. Since many believe the master in this parable represents God, it stand to reason that God demands we place our money in a working and growing position. Although Jesus reminds us of the dangers of wealth and it's relationship to salvation, this parable illustrates an excellent lesson in not being lazy and hiding away our earnings. I personally feel that it is acceptable to God to invest if one understands the risks and has the means to re-earn against risky investments. I believe the parable in Matthew 25 is more an advisory against laziness and simply a commentary on motionless Christian living. I will use my own gift of a talent to summarize..... I play the piano. It is a gift from God that I have this "talent". I have been asked many times to do "special music" for church......I always have some excuse not to attend that date......I am not afraid to play in public. I am simply lazy. I misuse the gift of music and the talent God has granted me. Perhaps we the believers ought invest our talents as well as our money to the service of our Master. Having sound investments pleases God when the investment is in His service.
When dealing with the question of investing, it is important for the investor to understand three things: 1) What is your time horizon? 2) What is your goal in investing? 3) What is your risk tolerance? Putting money in the stock market is sound if you are doing it for a long term period, as opposed to a short one, because stock markets will go up and down as part of the business cycle. It is easily demonstrated that stocks outperform other investments consistently over long time intervals. Another principle to understand is that you should only invest in things you understand, because when things go bad, you should be able to understand why they went bad and learn from that mistake. Otherwise, not knowing why an investment went up or down is no different than gambling. We should obey the lesson of the parable of the talents and make the best use of what God has given to us, so that we may give back to Him generously and to the best of our ability.
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