Is Investing Gambling? (Biblical Finance #9)

From time to time, I’ll hear people arguing that, morally speaking, investing in the stock market is the same thing as gambling.  Usually, the argument is advanced by folks who think that gambling is fine and want to expose what they see as hypocrisy in those who believe that it’s wrong.  They don’t actually avoid the market themselves; instead, they want to be left to their gambling. Continue reading

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Are You Scoring Points or Winning the Game? (Biblical Finance #8)

The first video-game system I ever owned was the original Nintendo Entertainment System, and the first game I owned was the game that came packaged with it:  Super Mario Bros.  I don’t think I ever won it, but I spent countless hours playing it. Continue reading

A Christian Critique of FIRE (Biblical Finance #7)

There are two kinds of people in the world:  those who like spending money, and those who like having money.  Often, with unerring instinct, they find each other, marry each other, and devote the next several decades to arguing about money with each other.  I’m definitely in the second camp.

My co-worker observed the other day that most men have a hobby that they like spending money on.  “I don’t have any expensive hobbies,” I noted to my wife.  She replied, “Your hobby is piling up money.”

As a result, it’s not surprising that for the past several years, I’ve been drawn to blogs that advocate FIRE (which is short for “Financial Independence, Retire Early).  Never mind that I love preaching and hope to implement the David Girardot Retirement Plan, which is to preach your last sermon a week before you die.  I am nonetheless drawn to the notion of accumulating enough money that I can spend the rest of my life doing Whatever I Want and not having to worry about finances. Continue reading

Good Stewardship and Trusting in God (Biblical Finance #6)

One of the gratifying things about my coming to Jackson Heights has been the conversations with the Christians here who cared enough to read up on what I’ve written before and ask me questions about it.  These haven’t been looking to prove a point; they’ve been looking to understand, and people like that are a joy to teach!

One such question came from Landon Loveall (side note:  if you have a suggestion for a blog post but don’t want your name associated with it, I’m open to leaving the inquirer anonymous), who, as a financial planner, was naturally very interested in my series on Biblical finance. The most recent post in the series (http://hisexcellentword.blogspot.com/2017/07/money-as-protection-biblical-finance-5.html) addressed one of the subtler financial temptations Christians can face:  the temptation to become so adept at saving money that we start trusting the money rather than God to protect us.  Landon wanted to know, quite reasonably, what the difference is between financial prudence on the one hand and idolatrous confidence in wealth on the other.  How do I know when I’ve stopped trusting God and started trusting my savings? Continue reading