Thirty years ago, during a severe recession, a west coast televangelist advised his hearers to sell their homes and buy gold. He was convinced that an economic crash was imminent and that gold was the only safe investment.
A popular economic forecaster of that tense time predicted the price of gold would reach two thousand dollars an ounce, a high that has still not been achieved.
But if gold is not the best investment, what is? How shall we invest being sure of the safety of our investments?
Wise investors start with this unchanging truth: some things are temporary and other things last forever.
Temporal things have limited value. Most of these financial holdings are continually deteriorating through rust, rot or outdating. Even so called “precious metals” cannot be counted on to hold their value forever.
Our brief length of life must also be considered, which limits our ability to enjoy things we accumulate. The average lifespan is still approximately what it was at the time of the writing of the Psalms: seventy to eighty years…and this in spite of all of our so called miracle drugs and medical breakthroughs.
How shall we then live?
Jesus instructed His hearers to lay up treasures in heaven where moth and rust cannot corrupt nor thieves break through and steal. But how can we make investments that pay dividends forever?
We can give generously to others and to the work of God.
A message on an old gravestone in an English cemetery says it well: What I spent, I had. What I saved, I lost. What I gave, I have.
Admittedly, this kind of investing demands faith. To give to others, especially to the needy, rather than store our resources in large bank accounts or secret hiding places is to risk the future on the faithfulness of God.
And think of the adventure this kind of investing brings to the giver!
A banker and financial adviser once shocked me by saying he had become so worried about the state of the economy that he found himself walking around his backyard looking for a safe place to bury his money. Books by panic peddlers had convinced him that a major depression was near and he thought burying his money might be the only way to survive. But my friend’s fears were groundless. Nearly three decades have passed since our conversation and the financial tragedy he feared still hasn’t arrived.
I’m motivated daily by the following quote of John Bunyan, author of “The Pilgrim’s Progress” displayed at eye level on my office wall: “A man there was, though some did count him mad; the more he gave away, the more he had.”
How much do you have?
Roger Campbell is an author, a columnist and broadcaster who was a pastor for 22 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org