The Bible contains more than 2,300 verses that deal with money. Jesus talks about money in eleven of his thirty-nine parables. This topic matters to God.
What he says in the Bible is what we’re called to live by. Invest in God’s Word first. Invest in God’s work second. That’s what the Bible says about Faith Driven Investing. The combination of investing in God’s Word and his work will yield God’s wealth, which is eternal. This is the core of biblical economics.
We have to start by understanding that “the earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it” (Psalm 24:1). Everything in it belongs to him, and that includes us. We are a part of his creation.
Many of us have gotten things twisted when it comes to money. Instead of using money to help people, many of us have chosen to use people to make money, without consideration for what God has to say about this in his written Word, the Bible. The truth that would save so many of us from the money stresses we experience stays hidden before our eyes when we don’t read the Bible.
If we belong to God, and if the earth and all that’s in it belong to him, then he ought to have something to say about what to do with all this stuff. Yet that’s where we go wrong. We turn to the Bible and wonder what it says about what God has given us. How do I invest? How do I make money biblically? How do I manage my assets wisely? These are all great questions, but they’re pointed at the wrong subject.
Instead, we must do as Jesus instructs us: “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33). We’ve got it backward. We seek the stuff before we seek God. Jesus tells us of the countercultural relationship between our economy and God’s economy. Our economy is motivated by self-interest, but God’s economy is motivated by love. The objective of God’s economy is an abundant life in the here and now and eternal life hereafter. Both economies pursue a contented life, but only one gets you there.
To misread this passage is to misunderstand the biblical economy. If we view this verse as an “if, then” promise—“If I do this, then God will give me this”—we’re missing Jesus’ message. Because if we’re seeking the Kingdom of God solely because we want the benefit on the back end, then we’re not really seeking the Kingdom of God in the first place. We’re seeking our own kingdom in disguise.
When it comes to money, there are more than enough questions. The questions of how to make it, pay bills with it, invest it, save it, and even have enough of it to retire occupy an inordinate amount of our thinking every day. The pitfalls of loving money more than loving God are illuminated by Jesus’ answer when asked what the greatest commandment is. His answer was to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). He knew that, as Paul reminds us in 1 Timothy 6:10, “the love of money” would be the “root of all kinds of evil,” so he changed the priorities of our thinking from a focus on the accumulation of stuff to a focus on him from whom all blessings flow.
Love for God begins when we communicate with him. Reading the Bible is important, but so is prayer, which is the physical conversation between God and people. I wish I had known when I was younger that I could prayerfully ask God for anything. Once I came to believe in the reality of Jesus Christ as the Son of God, this truth changed my entire worldview. By letting the words of the Bible reside in me and by allowing my heart to believe in the reality of Jesus Christ by faith, I can ask for anything. I can talk to him about anything.
Once we confess the reality of Jesus Christ with our mouths and believe that reality in our hearts, all we have to do is ask in line with his words expressed in the Bible. Like so many of us, I rarely asked God what I should do or for help when I didn’t know what the next step forward looked like. I ignored the omniscient, all-knowing God who loves me and wants to care for me.
Isn’t it ironic that the whole world belongs to God, yet so often we don’t bother to ask him how he wants us to invest, give, spend, and save? Isn’t it also ironic that the centerpiece for God’s economic plan for us is to give and not to get? God is a giving God. “God so loved the world that he gave” (John 3:16). That’s what he does. That’s who he is.
When we spend time with him through his Word and through prayer, we get to experience all that he is—his love, his grace, his generosity. And that bleeds into our lives, into our jobs, into our relationships, into what we do with money, into how we invest.
That’s the life of a Faith Driven Investor. That’s the life of someone who is grounded in God’s Word and capable of spending time on their knees in prayer, asking the Creator of everything and Savior of humanity what he would have us do. We can approach his throne knowing that if we ask, he will answer. So, why not ask?
I humbly encourage you to consider this truth. So many of us are striving to wind up with more cash in our wallets, a larger 401k, and a better-performing stock portfolio, only to end up discontented. Jesus offers us more. He came into the world so that we might have life and have it abundantly.4 We are encouraged to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and to trust that, as a result, “all these things” will be added to us by faith.
Search the Scriptures, and you will find the truth for your abundant life. Having a solid financial life begins with accepting the reality that everything in your life belongs to God. In order to experience a functioning, biblical investment strategy, start by asking God to align your motives with his.
All the budgeting, saving, investing, and giving can come together in a plan that lines up with the directives you personally receive from God after having asked him that all-important first question: “What shall I do with what you’ve given me?”
He answers those who ask.
Adapted from Faith Driven Investing by Henry Kaestner, Timothy Keller, Andy Crouch, Cathie Wood, et al. Copyright © 2023. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved.
Prior to his retirement in 2018, Obie McKenzie was managing director at BlackRock Financial, the largest institutional asset management firm in the United States. He is an accomplished public speaker and has been an expository Bible teacher for over thirty years, first as senior Bible teacher at Canaan Baptist Church in Harlem, New York, and now at Community Baptist Church of Englewood, New Jersey.