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Ask Chuck: Is Investing Just an Unbiblical Form of Gambling?


Click here to ask Chuck your money question

To learn Biblical answers to your financial questions, you can #AskChuck @AskCrown your questions by clicking here. Questions used may be lightly edited for length or clarity.

Dear Chuck,

What is your take on "investing" in money market funds? Is this not a different way of gambling which is forbidden by the Bible? I will love to see your take on this.

Curious.

Chuck Bentley is the CEO of Crown, the largest Christian financial ministry in the world, founded by the late, Larry Burkett.
Chuck Bentley is the CEO of Crown, the largest Christian financial ministry in the world, founded by the late, Larry Burkett.

Dear Curious,

I have no problems with money market funds or other legitimate means of investing. Your question, one that I frequently receive, is to understand the difference between gambling and investing.

The difference between these two is vast but can be confusing, especially for those who don't regularly engage in either, because there is risk in both.

At the heart of it, gambling is based upon chance, and all must lose for one to gain. But investing is based upon knowledge and all have the opportunity to win. Both involve risk, but only investing allows equal opportunity for all to benefit.

For instance, if you buy stock in a company that makes a good product, the customers who buy the products win if the product is beneficial to them. The company that sells the products wins as their profitability increases, and you as an owner of the company win as the value of the company increases. The risk you take is based upon the performance of the company, and you can use knowledge to decrease your risk.

And investing also provides an opportunity to contribute to a larger good — an enterprise that can benefit many, while games of chance are a pastime that contributes nothing. No product is created and no real investment in the economy necessarily occurs. Gambling does not create a growing enterprise that can provide value; it consumes resources in a moment in time, and it too often snares the hearts of men and women in an addiction that robs them of their resources.

Gambling also relies on something I don't believe in … "luck." You will never hear me say "Good luck." As Christians, we rely on the blessings of God and are instructed to study, to work and to seek wisdom to accomplish the goals we have.

Proverbs 24:3-4 puts it like this, "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures."

Random chance is not the source of a life well lived, but rather, wisdom, knowledge and hard work that result from trusting in God and His principles.

Our goal should be to seek understanding of the world around us and make increasingly informed decisions that profit a family, a business and a community. Successful investors learn about the markets they are involved in, making informed choices. Over time, the reward that comes from those efforts becomes a blessing to many.

Frenzied efforts to get money, gambling among them, usually do not pay off; anxiety and stress can be a sign that something is wrong.

"Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, cease from your consideration of it. When you set your eyes on it, it is gone. For wealth certainly makes itself wings like an eagle that flies toward the heavens" (Proverbs 23:4-5).

You can check out these guidelines from Crown that investors can consider as they look at markets. But one of the most important things to keep in mind when investing is never to invest more than you can afford to lose, because there is risk in this world, and you should only use resources after budgeting for all your other needs and expenses.

I Timothy 6:9-10 notes, "But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs."

This is a clear warning not to place our trust in money, even money earned through investing, or it will lead to our demise.

It's not money itself that is the problem. It is the LOVE of money that traps many, distracting them from God's plans for their lives. We often lose sight of the motives of our own actions, even as Christians, and need to step back and reflect on what is in our hearts.

Try this free assessment to shed light on how your beliefs line up with your behavior and help you to evaluate your own motives.

To #Ask Chuck @AskCrown your own question, click here:

Chuck Bentley is the CEO of Crown, the largest Christian financial ministry in the world, founded by the late, Larry Burkett. He is an author, host of My MoneyLife- a daily radio feature and a frequent speaker on the topic of Biblical financial principles. Follow him on Twitter @chuckbentley and visit Crown.org for more help.

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