It is well known in investment that you need to diversify your portfolio. This is not a new principle. The writer in Ecclesiastes knew it too. He suggested that his listeners invest in domestic and overseas ventures in the business of his day. Looking to invest is outward looking. Jesus reinforced this principle when he commended the ones who multiplied their talents in his parable of the talents. The one who took his talent and held it close preserved what he had, but was cursed. I think we see that defensive, introspective living is not condoned in the Bible. We have to develop a courage that engages the world. This means financially investing our money in good ventures as well as spreading the good news of the gospel.
Some people tend to split finances from religion. They may see the only overlap in their ‘religious’ tithe that they give to God. Ecclesiastes advocates putting your money into the cyclical flows of reality. What you cast away will come back to you. In other words, invest wisely and you will have a return.
1 Ship your grain across the sea;
after many days you may receive a return.
2 Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight;
you do not know what disaster may come upon the land.
3 If clouds are full of water,
they pour rain on the earth.
Whether a tree falls to the south or to the north,
in the place where it falls, there it will lie.
4 Whoever watches the wind will not plant;
whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.
5 As you do not know the path of the wind,
or how the body is formed[a] in a mother’s womb,
so you cannot understand the work of God,
the Maker of all things.
6 Sow your seed in the morning,
and at evening let your hands not be idle,
for you do not know which will succeed,
whether this or that,
or whether both will do equally well.
- Why does the passage advocate investing in a number of ventures in different lands?
- What images from nature does the author use to describe the effects on the financial markets?
- When can a person relax and be sure that their investments will be fruitful?
- How does this passage speak to setting up your 401K?
- What kind of mutual fund does Ecclesiastes suggest?