If you have an investment account, you can see how your investments are doing at any time. Sometimes, they’re probably doing well, and other times they’re probably not. In fact, a look at the stock market’s long-term history shows that on any given day, there’s roughly a 50% chance that the market will end the day with a gain, which of course, means there’s a 50% chance it will end with a loss.
It’s true that the longer you have money invested in the market, the more the odds move in your favor. However, the market’s long-term upward trajectory has been marked by plenty of scary downturns along the way.
There’s one type of investment, though, that always generates a gain. That’s an investment in God’s Kingdom work. If you regularly make such investments by supporting your church and perhaps other Christian ministries and missionaries, when you get updates on how these investments are doing, aren’t they always positive? Through these investments, the Gospel is bing heard by more people, the poor are being cared for, those who teach God’s Word are being supported, college students are being discipled, and more.
When you check on your retirement portfolio, sometimes it probably shows a gain and sometimes a loss. However, every time you check on your investments in God’s Kingdom work, it’s a certainty that they show a gain.
Here are three ways that making such investments always generates a great return.
Giving adds meaning and joy
To live generously is to live in sync with our God-given design. We were made in God’s image and one of God’s most defining characteristics is generosity. God gave us the most extravagant gift ever given. He gave us His Son, and through Him, offers the free gift of salvation to all.
This is why living generously makes life meaningful and joyful. As Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Just in case we need any convincing about that, countless secular studies back it up.
For example, in their book Happy Money, professors Elizabeth Dunn of the University of British Columbia and Michael Norton of Harvard describe a study in which the spending habits of hundreds of Americans were analyzed. The study found that how much money individuals devoted to themselves was unrelated to their overall happiness. What did predict happiness was the amount of money they gave away. “The more they invested in others,” the authors concluded, “the happier they were.”
Giving deepens your relationship with Christ
The Bible says, “Where your treasure is, there you heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). In other words, our heart follows our money. Invest in a particular stock and you will probably find yourself checking on it fairly often. Your time, attention, and heart have gone there because some of your treasure has gone there.
Giving toward Christ-centered causes directs our hearts toward Him. As John Cortines writes in “True Riches,” I never cared much about children trapped in poverty until I began giving to Compassion International. Slowly, over time, I began to ache for every child in need to be fed, educated, and taught about Jesus.”
Cortines says we shouldn’t wait until we care deeply about certain causes before giving, we should give to causes because God cares deeply about them. Our care will follow as we increasingly see the world through God’s eyes.
Giving is infectious
If you have children (or grandchildren), your role-modeling in this area of generosity is likely to shape their generosity as well. In fact, a study by Fidelity Charitable found that of parents who give to charitable organizations, more than three-quarters (81%) of their children have participated in giving activities within the last year.
If we want the best for our children, some of the greatest gifts we can give them are an others-centered outlook and the habit of living generously. The best way we can do that is to model such a life. As has been said before about teaching our children, more will be caught than taught.
The world is a very uncertain and unpredictable place. But this much is guaranteed: A life lived generously will generate great returns.
As you consider your own generosity habits, how well have you included your kids in the experience? Do they know that you support your church or other ministries? Do they know why that’s a priority for you?”
As you look to build a culture of generosity amongst your family, explore how CCCU can be a partner with you in that journey. Click here to learn more and become a member.
Matt Bell is the author of Trusted: Preparing Your Kids for a Lifetime of God-Honoring Money Management. He speaks at churches and conferences throughout the country and writes the MattAboutMoney blog.
This article should not be considered legal, tax, or financial advice. You may wish to consult a tax or financial advisor about your individual financial situation.