錯誤投資的愚昧

在全球經濟下滑時,投資一直是大家討論的主題。幾年前似乎很穩當的投資,卻在非常短的時間內就驚人地下跌。有些所謂的「積優股」突然比撲克牌還不值錢。

這許多投資本來都在合理期待下做出來的,根據過去的積效表現,而且國際市場可能會繼續繁榮。但現在即使有名的經濟潮流專家也不知所措。然而我們可以不根據傳統的智慧做其他形態的投資。當那些傳統的智慧無效時,不論原因為何,都會讓我們損失慘重。

舉例來說,一位超級富裕的賭場老闆上了電視新聞雜誌「60分鐘」。這節目報導那賭場鉅子用一億三千九百萬美元買了一幅畫。然而這幅畫之所以受到矚目不只因為它的價格,還因為它有一個令人難以置信的昂貴瑕疵。

在訪問中,那賭場老闆說,在前一次展示那藝術品時,他帶著驕傲的笑容,做了一個誇張的手勢,轉身指向那幅畫時,手指不小心把畫戳破了一個洞。

你可想像那人當時的害怕與驚慌。他一時的失誤使得那幅畫的價值減少了好幾百萬美元。想到他已投資下去的金錢,那損失就像把他的心挖掉了一塊。

我們大多數人不會擁有一個價值一億三千九百萬美元的藝術品。我們可能連想像那情況的念頭都沒有。但這只是金額大小的問題。不論我們的收入有多少,我們都會冒風險投資金錢--以及我們的心--在會損壞或會失去的物品上。那可能是一輛車、一棟房子、最新的高科技娛樂器材、傢俱、或任何東西。

聖經談到把「物品」作為我們生命的第一優先是愚昧的。在馬太福音6章19-21節,耶穌教導:「不要為自己積儹財寶在地上;地上有蟲子咬,能銹壞,也有賊挖窟窿來偷。只要積儹財寶在天上;天上沒有蟲子咬,不能銹壞,也沒有賊挖窟窿來偷。因為你的財寶在那裡,你的心也在那裡」。

在這段經文中,耶穌指出我們的心會追隨我們的投資。若我們不注意,物品就會變成我們所崇拜的偶像。祂不是說物質本身有錯。在馬太福音6章31-33節祂說:「所以,不要憂慮說:吃什麼﹖喝什麼﹖穿什麼﹖…你們需用的這一切東西,你們的天父是知道的。你們要先求他的國和他的義,這些東西都要加給你們了。

本文要人們學到什麼功課?當你要投資時,你的心要智慧地選擇。個人的投資很重要,但它們可能會消失。而永恆的財寶,如耶穌所說,永遠不會消失。

思想 / 討論題目

你有什麼投資因為經濟下滑,遭受到相當大的損失?對於那些損失,你的反應是什麼?

若你像那賭場老闆一樣花了上億美元買一幅畫,卻不小心破壞了那幅畫,你會有何感覺?

你對耶穌的教導「積財寶在天上」有何看法?你認為那是什麼意思?

你最近是否做了什麼投資是不會鏽壞,也不會被偷走的?若你要清點你的「永恆財寶」,你的清單上會有什麼東西?

註:若你有聖經且想要看有關此主題的其他經文,請看:
傳道書5章8-15節;馬可福音10章17-31節;路加福音16章10-13節;哥林多後書9章6-11節;腓立比書4章19節;提摩太前說6章17節

THE FOLLY OF FLAWED INVESTMENTS

By: Rick Boxx

With the global economic downturn, investments have been a popular topic of discussion. Portfolios that seemed stocked with solid investments just a few years ago sustained shocking declines in value within a very short time. Some so-called “blue chip” stocks suddenly were of less worth than poker chips.

Many of these investments had been made with reasonable expectations, based on past performance and the likelihood of continued prosperity that the international marketplace had been experiencing. Even noted experts on economic trends were caught off guard. We can make other types of investments, however, that are not based on conventional wisdom. When they fail, for whatever reason, they can exact a huge cost.

Take for example the mega-wealthy owner of a gambling casino who was the subject of a segment on the TV news magazine, "60 Minutes." This program centered on a painting the mogul had bought for the incredible sum of $139 million. The reason this treasure was particularly noteworthy, however, was not only because of its original price. It was being singled out because it had an incredibly expensive flaw.

In the interview, the casino owner explained that during a previous showing of the artwork, he had made a flamboyant gesture. With a smile of great pride, he had turned and pointed toward his magnificent piece of art, only to feel his finger perforate the masterpiece.

Imagine the horror and dismay this man must have felt. His momentary, unthinking mistake had resulted in reducing the value of the painting by many millions of dollars. Considering the amount of money he had invested, it is likely that it cost a piece of his heart as well.

Most of us will never own a $139 million art object. We probably could not even imagine that. But it”s only a matter in scale. Regardless of our income bracket, we all risk the danger of investing material resources – as well as our hearts – in possessions that can be damaged or lost. It could be a car, a house, the latest high-tech entertainment system, furniture, or any of a number of other things.

The Bible addresses the folly of making “stuff” the highest priority of our lives. In Matthew 6:19-21 Jesus taught, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Jesus was pointing out in this verse that our hearts follow after our investments. In essence, if we are not careful things can become idols of our worship. He was not saying material things are inherently wrong. In Matthew 6:31-32 he said, “So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?”…your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

The moral of the story? When you make an investment, let your heart choose wisely. Personal investments are important, but they can disappear. Eternal treasures, as Jesus pointed out, never disappear.

Copyright 2009, Integrity Resource Center, Inc. Adapted with permission from "Integrity Moments with Rick Boxx," a commentary on issues of integrity in the workplace from a Christian perspective.

Reflection/Discussion Questions

What investments have you made that have suffered substantial decreases in value, perhaps due to the economic downturn? What has been your reaction to those losses?

If you had made an investment equivalent to the multi-million dollar painting that the casino owner purchased, how would you feel if you accidentally damaged it?

What do you think of Jesus” exhortation to “store up treasures in heaven”? What do you think he meant by that?

Can you think of any investments you have made recently that cannot rust, be stolen or destroyed? If you were to take an inventory of your “eternal treasures,” what would you include on the list?

NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages:

Ecclesiastes 5:8-15; Mark 10:17-31; Luke 16:10-13; 2 Corinthians 9:6-11; Philippians 4:19; 1 Timothy 6:17

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