Actually, those are trick questions! According to the Bible, you and I don’t own anything. It is God who owns it all! God’s ownership of all things includes: “your” money, “your” cars, “your” house,
and “your” investments!
When you make investments as a Christian, you must recognize that you are not investing what belongs to you; you are investing what belongs to the Lord.
The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters. (Ps. 24:1-2)
Christian investing should be motivated by a desire to see His kingdom expand. As Christian investors, we seek to use the resources God has entrusted to us as a means of playing our role, however small it may seem, in the growth of His kingdom and the accomplishment of His purposes.
On a practical basis, investing isn’t about getting rich quick. It is about growing wealth over a long period of time, so that you can provide for future needs (such as college and retirement), and have more resources to give to support the Lord’s work.
Christian investing isn’t focused on making the most money. Christian investing is focused on glorifying God by doing our best to manage His resources wisely and well, then trusting Him for the results.
Knowing that you have a God-given responsibility to manage your life wisely, and for His glory, should motivate you to take this responsibility seriously and become more realistic about the following:
More realistic about your need for additional knowledge to be a good manager. You accept that you must learn certain financial and investing basics. You can’t just say, “Oh, I don’t have the time (or interest or intellect) for that.”
More realistic about the limitations of what investing can accomplish. For example, as you begin to learn some basic financial principles, you learn that rates of return over the long haul tend to be in the 8%-12% range, not 15%-20% as your cousin's stockbroker promised him. The idea that you will readily make large returns to bail you out of your problems is a dream.
More realistic about the strengths and weaknesses of the investment industry (an industry that often doesn’t have your best interests at heart.) The investment business is awash in conflicts of interest (brokers get paid for selling securities, publishers get paid for selling magazines, financial networks get paid for attracting viewers). Your naïveté will diminish as you develop a healthy skepticism.
More realistic about the markets themselves. You’ll no longer believe that “the pros” know something you don’t, and you’ll see erratic swings in the market as being evidence of emotionalism rather than calm reason. You’ll discover there are few absolutes, other than preservation of your capital, to guide you as you navigate the tumultuous storms and cross-currents.
These doses of realism will be very, very good for you as a Christian investor.
We must also humbly acknowledge that from God’s eternal perspective what appears good to us ("wealth and success") can actually be bad for us, while what appears bad (“trials of many kinds”) can actually be good for us. Only He knows what is best.
But if you aim you life in the direction of God’s glory, you will enjoy his blessings — perhaps those blessing will be material, perhaps they will be spiritual, perhaps both.
But I am sure of His promise: “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed” (Rom. 10:11)