I am always a little nervous about books that identify Jesus’ management style or put Jesus in the CEO chair. While we should always run our companies by godly principles, Jesus did not come to earth to start a business. He came to launch a kingdom. But He did promote a financial investment strategy for His kingdom citizens. I call “send it on ahead” investing. And I asked last post why we don’t see this strategy advertised, particularly in the Christian community, as much as traditional financial instruments.
First, we are uncomfortable with the “send it on ahead” approach because the results are intangible. We can’t measure the rate of return on using money to “make friends that will welcome us into the eternal dwellings.” (Lk 16:9). At least, not in this life. We want a rate of return that we can measure in percentage points. The rate of return on Jesus’ strategy is too nebulous for our liking so we put His words in some kind of spiritual sentiment category and not applicable to the real world of investing.
Second, and related to the first, I want to see the return on my financial investment in this lifetime. Even if I were comfortable with not measuring my rate of return, I would like to know that I will receive a financial blessing in this lifetime based on my giving to the needs of others. Remember our Francis Bacon quote, circa 1512? “Prosperity is the blessing of the Old Testament, adversity is the blessing of the New.” Despite what the prosperity preachers advertise, I don’t believe we have an iron clad promise in the New Testament that our generosity obligates God to bless us in material ways of abundance.
Third, “send it on ahead” investing is so contrary to the world’s system and our natural inclination that it requires an exercise of faith. A pastor once shared the idea with me that the Christian life can be a dangerous proposition in a world that hates us, but with the full force of God’s character backing the full range of God’s promises it basically carries no risk. I had to think about that a minute and concluded he was correct under one condition; if our faith were perfect. On a practical level, however, the weakness of our faith makes investing along the lines of what Jesus suggests risky as can be. Due to our lack of faith, investing our money in the lives of others, in terms of rate of return, appears very risky indeed.
And this risk is mitigated by faith. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spends a considerable portion summarizing the promise of God to take care of the material needs of His people (Mt 6:25-34). In the middle of this passage, Jesus identifies our worry about these things and calls us out, “O you of little faith.” (Mt 6:30). Adopting a “send it on ahead” investment strategy is a matter of faith. If God is moving your heart in the direction of this type of investing, join me in calling out to the Lord the prayer of the apostles in Luke 17:5, “Increase our faith!”