“Someone told me that if you’d owned one share of Coca-Cola stock one hundred years ago, it would’ve split one thousand times by this point. No one I know has held shares of anything for a century, but you get the point.” — Rene Rivkin

1 Timothy 6:17-21
Matthew 6:24-34
Luke 12:13-34

Albert Einstein said, “The most powerful force in the universe is compound interest.” The longer the interest accumulates, the faster it grows by turns.

What, in traditional theory, will win me a greater return? Given equal annual yields of a safe 5 percent, will a thirty-year investment perform better than a one hundred year investment? That latter always dominates the former; the time value involved carries the 100-year investment to heights the thirty-year couldn’t imagine.

But we don’t live long enough to reap the rewards of a century’s worth of investing, do we? But others could. Our investments could pay out huge annuities to others.

Must long-term investing mean that the IRA you can safely tap into at 59½ or 65? What of investing in others, for others, and not merely your children’s children?

What of investing in the things God values? His kingdom desires love, mercy, justice (see Micah 6:6-8), and reconciled lives. The returns on these, while neither visible nor material, put the savviest fund managers to shame.

Jesus says what we should all honestly recognize, realistically embrace and pragmatically consider: the world’s wealth passes. Only something in a sort of spiritual Swiss bank account is secure for long-term performance. Only something invested in God’s market won’t burn, corrupt or pass away.

Consider the following names: J. Pierpont Morgan or Mother Teresa? Glenn McCarthy or Martin Luther King Jr.?  Dhirubhai Ambani or Mahatma Ghandi? Whose investments will continue to yield results for the sick, the orphaned, civil rights and India? Whom do we remember?

Let’s not say that Morgan, McCarthy and Ambani lived lesser lives, but we clearly see the others living for and investing in what God values. Mother Teresa, King and Ghandi invested in an invisible market. The interest continues to compound at amazing rates in the lives of people everywhere.

Whose investment practices do you want to model? Morgan’s? Or King’s?

Remember the words of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: “Whatever you can do or dream you can do, begin it. Begin it now.”

On what do you spend the currency of your time?
Who benefits from your investments?  Who will tomorrow?
What reaps the greatest harvest in our lives? 


© 2006