Invest Now in a Secure Future
QUITE frankly, there is very little you can do to protect your material assets. True, spending your money more prudently and using credit sparingly may ease some of the pressure. But most of the factors affecting the economy are entirely out of your control. There is something you can do, however, to protect your peace of mind and well-being. The Bible says: “Wisdom is for a protection the same as money is for a protection; but the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom itself preserves alive its owners.”—Ecclesiastes 7:12.
This wisdom goes beyond mere secular learning. “For Jehovah himself gives wisdom; out of his mouth there are knowledge and discernment.” (Proverbs 2:6) You can gain this wisdom by investing in a study of the Bible. How does it act as a “protection”? For one thing, a knowledge of the Bible gives you a fresh perspective on today’s economic crisis. You come to appreciate that we are living in what the Bible calls “the last days.” (2 Timothy 3:1-4) Eventually, this bewildering and chaotic system of things will be swept away in the day of God’s judgment. (2 Peter 3:12, 13) And as Proverbs 11:4 warns, “Valuable things will be of no benefit on the day of fury.”
When you come to know and appreciate these things, you are spared many of the anxieties that come from vain materialistic pursuits. You are not frantic about preserving what material things you now own, knowing that riches are fleeting. And you are not discouraged if you cannot afford the latest luxuries. “For we have brought nothing into the world, and neither can we carry anything out. So, having sustenance and covering, we shall be content with these things.”—1 Timothy 6:7, 8.
Even those who are “secure” financially can benefit from godly wisdom. The apostle Paul further said at 1 Timothy 6:17, 18: “Give orders to those who are rich in the present system of things not to be high-minded, and to rest their hope, not on uncertain riches, but on God, who furnishes us all things richly for our enjoyment; to work at good, to be rich in fine works.” Even in Bible times material wealth was at best “uncertain.” Wealthy Christians therefore had to realize that any security supposedly produced by money was a mere illusion. They had to “rest their hope” in God.
This did not mean, however, that life was to be a passive vigil, an idle wait for the “end” to come. They were “to work at good, to be rich in fine works.” Obviously this meant a large commitment of time and energy. And today many flee at the mention of “work.” But what about you? Are you willing to follow the Bible’s course? ‘I’m not sure,’ would be the answer of many. Likely, you would first want to know how doing so would benefit you. What is involved? Is it really worth all the time and effort required? Let us apply some basic principles of investment so as to help you get some clear answers.
Sizing Up Your Investment
Risk factors, credit ratings, future prospects, estimated profits, as well as fringe benefits, are things a shrewd businessman will investigate before committing his resources to a project. How might this apply to your weighing whether you wish to ‘rest your hope in God’?
First, consider what a good credit rating means. Basically it indicates that one is considered trustworthy, based on previous performance. By this logic, the present economic system would have an abysmally low rating. Further, how much confidence can you really have in religious and political leaders?
On the other hand, how would God rate when it comes to trustworthiness? Judge Joshua had spent a lifetime serving God. Years of trudging through a barren wilderness, fighting battles and judging an obstinate nation did not weaken his confidence in God. He confidently declared: “Now, look! I am going today in the way of all the earth, and you well know with all your hearts and with all your souls that not one word out of all the good words that Jehovah your God has spoken to you has failed. They have all come true for you. Not one word of them has failed.” (Joshua 23:14) Jehovah has established a record of trustworthiness for himself that far exceeds that of any human institution. Investments in a promise backed by him have a rock-solid basis.
What about risk factors? The general rule is, ‘The greater the promised returns of investment, the higher the risk.’ One reason you risk so much when you trust in a human institution is that man himself has such limited power, foresight and life. Appropriately the Bible admonishes: “Do not put your trust in nobles, nor in the son of earthling man, to whom no salvation belongs. His spirit goes out, he goes back to his ground; in that day his thoughts do perish.” (Psalm 146:3, 4) Those trusting in God’s promises, however, have no such risks. As Sovereign of the universe, Jehovah has unlimited resources! No one can frustrate his purpose. Not even death itself can hinder a person from receiving “returns” from his “investment” of faithful service, for Jehovah promises to resurrect faithful servants if necessary.—John 5:28, 29; Acts 24:15.
What about future prospects and “returns,” and fringe benefits, from choosing to trust in God? The Maker of this planet foresees something far better for the earth than runaway inflation, widespread pollution, unrestrained violence and an escalating arms race. He has promised, instead, to “bring to ruin those ruining the earth.” (Revelation 11:18) Wars and weapons will be made “to cease.” (Psalm 46:9) No one will make earth’s righteous inhabitants “tremble,” for threats of violence and death will be things of the past. (Micah 4:4) Could one have a better prospect for the future?
Remember, though, that you must work hard to receive these blessings. It will cost you time and effort. But is not a secure future worth it? To illustrate, in one of his parables Jesus spoke of a “traveling merchant” seeking to invest in fine pearls. “Upon finding one pearl of high value, away he went and promptly sold all the things he had and bought it.” (Matthew 13:45, 46) One who appreciates God’s promise of a righteous Kingdom will act like the man in this parable. He will give it priority in his life. To him it is worth the sacrifice.—Matthew 6:33.
So in what will you invest? Will you be like the ancient Israelites who vainly pursued material goods rather than the interests of God’s worship? Such ones worked very hard to get their luxuriously paneled homes. Yet, the prophet Haggai compared them to a man who is “hiring himself out for a bag having holes.” (Haggai 1:4-6) Imagine the disappointment of discovering that your hard-earned money has disappeared through a leaking money purse! Material goods today are just as uncertain and fleeting.
We therefore urge one and all to lay hold on God’s promises and to trust him fully. By continued diligent study of the Bible and by application of its wise counsel you may attain to the grandest of blessings, including everlasting life in a paradise on earth! Such are the dividends paid on investing now in the secure future that God promises in his Word.—Ephesians 3:20, 21.
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After a life of trustworthy service, Joshua could say of Jehovah’s promises: “Not one word of them has failed”
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Pursuing material goods is like ‘hiring oneself out for a bag having holes’