Making Your Money Work For You. (The Parable of the Talents)
The Bible Teaches that Investing and Putting Your Money to Work is Good Stewardship.
In an ideal situation, you have all the money you need to live your life the way you desire. All your needs are covered and even most of your wants. You only work on things that bring meaning and purpose to your life. You don’t go to a job just because you need money to survive. That was how it was when your career started, but things are different now.
All this is possible because your income is a result of making your money work for you.
You invested and saved your money early on in life, and now instead of working for money, your money is working for you. And the fantastic thing about having money work for you is: it never quits! It never needs a vacation. And it never gets tired. Once you put it to work, it works 24 – 7 – 365! When it comes to money . . . This should be your goal.
As much as you might think of this concept of investing and making your money work for you as a secular idea, and subsequently one that Christians should shun, the Bible does endorse this principle. Because being a good steward of the things God has given to us includes increasing the money that God has entrusted us with.
The Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30)
In Matthew 25, Jesus tells a story about a lord who left his three servants with an allotment of money (talents) for each of them. He gave them amounts that corresponded to their skills and abilities, and he left.
While he was gone, the first servant went and traded and doubled his money. The second servant also was able to double his money even though he initially had less.
Things get interesting when it comes to the third servant. You see, instead of trading and trying to increase his money, he buried it in the ground.
When the lord returned, he questioned each of his servants to discover what they had accomplished with the money he had given to them. He was pleased with the results of the first and second servants. They had done well to double their initial allotment.
However, when it come to the third servant, the story changes. This servant, who buried his money, told a sad story about how he was afraid and how he knew his lord was a hard and firm master. And he knew that if he lost his lord’s money, things would be even worse. So, in order to preserve the initial money, he buried it.
Of course the lord was displeased with the third servant. He questioned why the lazy servant didn’t even put the money in the bank to at least earn interest. It wouldn’t have doubled like the other servants’ money, but it would have been better than nothing.
In the end, the money that the lazy, third servant had was given to the first servant, and the lazy servant was cast out.
How Can We Avoid the Situation of the Lazy Servant?
Verse 29 of Matthew 25 says, “For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.”
In other words, do the best with what you have in all areas of life. Be a good steward of the money that you have. God will reward a faithful steward. But what does being a good steward look like?
Being a good steward is essentially managing your money well. And the first step to managing your money is controlling your spending with a budget.
Learn to spend your money intentionally on planned purchases and not on impulses.
These all sound like simple things, and if you did them, you would be better than the lazy servant. But you certainly wouldn’t be on the same level as the first two servants. Because you certainly can’t double your money with some savings accounts and controlled spending. You need to go a step further. You need to take some risk.
Doubling Your Money and Making Your Money Work for You Requires Risk.
In order to make your money work for you, you need to invest it. And all investing requires risk. Any investment that is guaranteed-no-risk is either very low return or a scam.
The reason the third servant didn’t invest his money was fear. He was afraid of losing his money. He was afraid of what his lord would say or do to him. So he was paralyzed by his fear. And he did something even worse than taking risk. He did nothing. By burying his money in the ground, he actually was losing money due to inflation (over time the value of money decreases).
If he would have put his money in a savings account, he would have earned at least enough to somewhat mitigate the effects of inflation. So, if you don’t yet understand investments or what to do, at least put your extra money in an online savings account.
But eventually you’ll need to get off the sidelines and into the game. You’ll have to invest your money if you have any hope of being a good steward and making your money work for you. And it really isn’t as complicated or as difficult as it sounds. But there is risk. You could lose your money.
How Should I Start My Investing Journey?
If you have no investments, you should initially consider what your options for retirement investing are through your employer. Do you have a 401k or similar program available to you? Start there. Invest your money within the plan in a broad index or mutual fund. Read a little about what each of the options are, and pick the one that closest resembles a total market index fund (an aggregation of all the stocks available to buy in a single fund).
If you do nothing else but invest in your employer sponsored retirement plan in a total market index fund, you’ll be miles ahead of most Americans. You’ll be well on your way to being a good steward of your money.
Keep reading and researching. Your goal should be to maximize your rate of return while minimizing your risk. And while it’s impossible to do both, you should start to develop a risk tolerance with which you’re comfortable while still earning a good rate of return. Index funds are a great way to accomplish this. And portfoliocharts.com is a great resource to check out.
Making your money work for you is not only a great idea in practice, but God wants us to whatever extent we can manage, do the same. In the parable of the talents, the lord commends those servants who took some risk and doubled their money. And he condemns the lazy servant who did nothing out of fear.
Get off the sidelines and start investing your extra money! And if you can’t find any extra monies, take a closer look at your budget and spending. You can do it!
But you have to want it.
When did you start investing? How is it going for you?
Let me know in the comments below. I appreciate you taking the time to read this article, so thanks.