思想 / 討論題目
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.
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