Morality & Investing: Investing As A Christian

As it concerns believers in Christ and investing, I find that sometimes they're very conflicted. Today, I want to go

over my thoughts as it concerns this topic, since I periodically get questions along these lines.

Some believers say, "I'm not getting involved with stocks because that's gambling". And to that I'd say, when you buy shares in a company that has real assets and real earnings and it's bought at a value price and serves the needs of others...that's far from a gamble. So I'd call ignorance on that one. In other words, they don't know how to size up and value a company. They just see it gyrating up and down on a chart and it seems "random" to them...or "like a gamble", of which it's not.

Now...can you gamble with stocks? I believe it's possible and it's why I dodge these type of stocks. 90%+ of my investable assets will always be in prudent investments which are in huge companies that are fundamentally solid. If you ever have speculations, they should be VERY small and never get you off track from your retirement goals. Anything that can derail you from your retirement goals is simply not being a good steward of what's been entrusted to you, by God.

Secondly, you'll hear believers sometimes say, "I'm not getting involved with the stock market. That's just worldly and filthy lucre. After all...money is the root of all evil."

And to that I'd say, the Bible says, the LOVE (lusting after) money is evil. In other words, if money takes its place above God in your life, then money becomes your god...and money makes a HORRIBLE god. It can't save us. However, money is a tool and the Bible says more about the topic of money than most topics in the Bible. So I'd say, God thinks this is a pretty important topic.

He talks about the importance of not spending/consuming all you have and yet saving (storing up) some of that, via savings in Proverbs 6:6-8.

Then he goes on to talk about investing in the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30. To the one who just buried their money in the ground and didn't invest it was called, "evil", "wicked" and "lazy", depending on which translation you read. I don't want ANY one of those to fit me! So the Bible is very much on prudent investing...stewarding wisely (growing your money OVER TIME) through investing. And the story is clear...at a BARE MINIMUM, they should have put their money with the bankers and earned interest. So it's BIBLICAL to have your money make more money for you (and for the kingdom of God).

But then there come the question of "what to invest in"...

And to that, many Christians try to scrutinize a company basically to see if they've ever done anything wrong. You'll find that if you screen companies that way, you won't be left with anything to invest in. Why? I don't expect companies to necessarily to be "Christian"...although if more Christians would be entrepreneurs and launch businesses, we could have even more to pick from.

But I don't expect a company (which is most of the time run by someone that's not a believer in Christ aka born-again), to be "Christian". So where do I draw the line? Is their primary business something that meets a need of the public that's NOT immoral or to their detriment.

For instance: I'm not going to invest in Altria (MO) because I don't believe there's anything productive for society in filling their lungs with smoke that causes cancer. So I'll pass on that one, no matter how good the fundamentals of the company are.

I won't invest in marijuana companies because the CEO's still say that 80% or more of the use of what they do is still "recreational". In other words, MOST of what they do is not going to anything that helps someone medically, etc. Therefore, it provides nothing productive for society. It only degrades it as more people "toke", which causes many people to lose motivation and slow productivity and run the risk of hurting more people in auto accidents (yes, Colorado has already proven this point). So I'm not investing in them.

However, I don't expect my company to be "Christian"...but I do expect their primary business to be something that's beneficial to society and not something that is immoral or takes it downward.

So...no matter what the prospects are of a company "going to the moon" in its share price OR how fundamentally sound the company may be from a financial/fiscal standpoint, I don't need to make a profit that bad.

Anything I make a profit on, I want it to also be because the company puts out a product or delivers a service that is truly beneficial to society and not to its detriment. So this is where I stand on this issue. I believe it's biblical.

To invest in something that is "only Christian", I believe is unbiblical. For instance, where did God cause Joseph to rule? In Egypt (a non-believing nation). Where did Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego go? Their influence was in the midst of a non-believing nation.

In other words, Biblical examples have you go out INTO a non-believing world and make a difference. And steward and be an influence and great steward, out there! So that's what we do in the investing world. We're prudent stewards as we invest in SOLID companies fundamentally, that generally are large companies, with lots of cash, earnings and low debts...trading at a value price and at times, with a good paying dividend yield as well. That's stewardship!

After all, the wealth of the wicked is laid up for the just. (Proverbs 13:22). And ideally, we're to leave an inheritance to "our children's children"...so wealth that would go down a couple of generations past what we needed to live on. That's what the Bible has to say about it!

So, I hope this gives you some things to think about if you're a believer and contemplating investing or if you're a believer and an investor, yet you wonder what you should or should not invest in.

God bless!

P.S. - If you'd like to learn more about what the Bible has to say on the topic of money, you can check out my e-book: The Six Keys To Financial Success.

Comments (22)
No. 1-4
dominic52
dominic52

I liked it & will pass it on to others...….Thamks

Russ
Russ

Sean, Great explanation and I agree with you 100%!

Mark2017UK
Mark2017UK

I personally avoid tobacco, alcohol and biotechnology stocks

ben
ben

I don't believe there's anything productive for society in filling their lungs with smoke that causes cancer.

Sean, do you invest in coal and oil stocks, given their role in filling our citizens lungs with smoke that causes cancer and the various other harms they cause?

15 Replies

ben
ben

(irrespective of fundamentals of course)

Sean Hyman
Sean Hyman

Editor

We've invested in coal, which is FAR cleaner these days than probably what you envision. And we're presently invested in oil. Yes, oil is a necessity for our day. Most people still get in gasoline operated cars to go to work to earn their paychecks and to go get their food, etc. People are living longer today, even with more cars/trucks on the road than ever. So I don't believe your thesis that oil is killing us. But yes, I see no benefit to taking smoke (from cigarettes, marijuana, etc.) into one's lungs.

Sean Hyman
Sean Hyman

Editor

I’ve studied cold for a very long time. It’s built our nation. It’s given is cheap energy. It’s cleaner than ever. And still we get a good bit of our electricity from it. So if you’re not a believer or don’t like it, do not invest in it. It’s just that simple. We do not currently own a coal company, but I am not necessarily opposed to owning one again.

Sean Hyman
Sean Hyman

Editor

I'm not a believer in coal being "evil" and renewables being "godly". No. We have better catalytic converters, more cars/trucks on the road today and people living longer. Not sure why you work for the Maven but you're trying to stir things on my site. Like I said before, if you're not a believer in it...don't invest in it. But you're wasting your time and my time trying to convince me against oil stock, coal stocks or any traditional energy.

Things are cleaner today than ever. More rules/regulations/restrictions, etc. You discount all the good that coal and oil have done not only for the US but the growth and jobs of the world.

ben
ben

My apologies Sean! I'm not at all trying to stir things up on your site. I read your articles regularly - several times a week, and respect and appreciate the place you come from as an investor.

I don't think coal is evil, or renewables 'godly', and I appreciate the many benefits fossil fuels were able to give our society over the past 200 years. Conversely, I'm comfortable with the reality that FFs have had negative consequences as well as positive ones along the way.

Recognizing that it may be time to start thinking about new energy systems doesn't (to me) discount the contributions we historically got from FFs.

I was just curious how you might feel about a position I believe, and it seemed related to this article, so I felt comfortable asking the question. But again, my apologies.

Sean Hyman
Sean Hyman

Editor

We've invested in solar before too, but not for moral reasons...for fundamental valuations once they were hated (after its last dump/sell-off). I'm not against any form of energy from a moral standpoint.

Sean Hyman
Sean Hyman

Editor

Yeah, they act like only coal and oil potentially hurt wildlife, etc. Glad you posted this.

ben
ben

I think sometimes we forget just how incredibly toxic and dangerous for wildlife oil extraction and consumption is.

Solar: Anywhere from about 1,000 birds a year, according to BrightSource, to 28,000 birds a year, according to an expert at the Center for Biological Diversity.

Wind: Between 140,000 and 328,000 birds a year in the contiguous United States, according to a December 2013 study published in the journal Biological Conservation. Taller turbines tend to take out more birds.

Oil and Gas: An estimated 500,000 to 1 million birds a year are killed in oil fields, the Bureau of Land Management said in a December 2012 memo.

https://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/data-mine/2014/08/22/pecking-order-energys-toll-on-birds .

ben
ben

And that's not even getting to the long term threat the climate crisis poses to animal populations.

Sean Hyman
Sean Hyman

Editor

Oh, that's if you belief in the climate change nonsense. Throughout history, we've had periods of unusual cooling and unusual warming. When my dad was a kid, the fear was "global cooling". In our day it was "global warming". These have swung back and forth all through the ages. So I'm not a believer.

Sean Hyman
Sean Hyman

Editor

Oh, that's if you belief in the climate change nonsense. Throughout history, we've had periods of unusual cooling and unusual warming. When my dad was a kid, the fear was "global cooling". In our day it was "global warming". These have swung back and forth all through the ages. So I'm not a believer.

Sean Hyman
Sean Hyman

Editor

Ben,...we're very "pro-oil" and "pro-energy" on this site and we don't apologize for it. We believe it does far more good than harm. If we took oil out of our market, our GDP and productivity would shrink big-time. The bulk of cars, transportation of goods, etc are still by oil being used. Many of our clothes, cosmetics, etc are oil-based, etc. You're probably going to be much more at home in an environmentalist site than ours. We are into stewardship. And we believe that we're still stewarding by using traditional energy. You may not. And if you don't, that's fine. But no need to clutter my site with it. If you want to learn about stocks on the site, learn about stocks. But there's no need to just come on the site to spread your agenda concerning what you believe to be "moral" as it concerns the environment.

CSoM
CSoM

some refer to "climate change" as "birth pangs". It's going to get a LOT hotter on this planet before everything is said and done and mankind will not be able to control it with regulations. (2 Peter 3:9-13)

Sean Hyman
Sean Hyman

Editor

ha-ha. That scripture isn't anything about climate change. It will be far more than that.