Diversify Your Portfolio

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.

Ecclesiastes 11:1-6

 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.

Questions

  1. Why does the passage advocate investing in a number of ventures in different lands?
  2. What images from nature does the author use to describe the effects on the financial markets?
  3. When can a person relax and be sure that their investments will be fruitful?
  4. How does this passage speak to setting up your 401K?
  5. What kind of mutual fund does Ecclesiastes suggest?
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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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16 Responses to Diversify Your Portfolio

  1. Cassie Clark says:

    1. He seems to think that it is a wise venture in order to prepare for the future.
    2. Rain, trees falling, watching the wind.
    3. Can you? Perhaps by investing in many different things, because some of them may fail and some may succeed.
    4. It is not wrong to prepare for the future.
    5.I’m not sure. A diverse one?

  2. Amy Kringle says:

    1. We don’t know what will happen in some of our investments so it is wise to put our investments into more than one place.
    2. He talks about the paths of the wind, trees falling a certain way and the clouds raining on the earth.
    3. We never really know whether our investments are going to do well.
    4. It’s good to be well prepared for the future.
    5. I have no idea.

  3. Grace Yoo says:

    1. The passage advocates on investing in a lot of ventures because we do not know what will happen in the future and we should be prepared.

    2. The author uses and describes images of nature such as clouds, rain, trees, wind, plants, and more.

    3. We will never exactly be sure if our investments will be fruitful. It could be successful and it may not.

    4. It helps us to remember that we should be prepared for the future.

    5. I am not sure.

  4. Kristin Goffinet says:

    1) The author suggests that we invest in a number of things because we don’t know which ones will prosper.
    2) He uses the “path of the wind,” like currents and air flow, as well as how an infant is formed in its mother’s womb.
    3) I don’t think you can ever relax and be assured that your investments will be fruitful, unless you are investing in the Lord.
    4) Well, it speaks against putting all of your money into one investment, so I don’t think the author would have really been supportive of 401K.
    5) One that is not lazy or idle.

  5. HeeJin,Choi says:

    1.Why does the passage advocate investing in a number of ventures in different lands?
    -It is because we do not know which will fail or succeed.
    2.What images from nature does the author use to describe the effects on the financial markets?
    – grains, cloud, rains, trees falling, wind, and human body
    3.When can a person relax and be sure that their investments will be fruitful?
    – Never. The only reason we are less concerned about the outcome of our investment just because we know that the treasure we store up now on the earth is temporary according to God’s word.
    4.How does this passage speak to setting up your 401K?
    – It tells that we prepare for the future with that as a means but don’t try to find
    your future prosperity in it.
    5.What kind of mutual fund does Ecclesiastes suggest?
    – Sorry, I don’t fully understand this question.

  6. Sokloon Dy (Lizzy) says:

    1. To be wise, you should invest in many different areas because you will ensure profit one way or another.
    2. grain, rain, paths of wind, tree falling.
    3. when you have invested in many different venues, you can be sure that profit is going to come at least from one direction or more.
    4. it basically speaks to people who are going to retire by telling them to invest in many things now so when they retire, they will continuously have a flow of income.
    5. one that continuously builds.

  7. Melisa Guiles says:

    1. He advocates investing in a number of ventures, because we do not know what the future holds. If a person invests in many places, one or more are likely to return.
    2. rain, trees, wind
    3. They can’t ever really relax because they can never be sure that their investments will come back fruitful.
    4. It encourages people to invest for the future, but it also encourages them to invest in many things. I think the passage encourages setting up a 401K, but also investing in other things.
    5. It seems to suggests an exchange-traded fund.

  8. spiritandtruth1128 says:

    1.Why does the passage advocate investing in a number of ventures in different lands? Because it is good to be prepared for any bad that may come and because if you invest you might be able to get some in return (make a profit)
    2.What images from nature does the author use to describe the effects on the financial markets? clouds, trees, the sea, wind, planting (seed).
    3.When can a person relax and be sure that their investments will be fruitful? They have to continue to try to make their investment fruitful. They can’t just relax and try to wait for things to happen themselves.
    4.How does this passage speak to setting up your 401K? I feel like the plan about investing fits in with what the author says, but after retiring we would be just “watching the clouds”
    5.What kind of mutual fund does Ecclesiastes suggest? one where you work for what you will obtain not just reap from others

  9. Rebecca Langer says:

    1. The passage advocates in investing in many different things so that you do not have all your “eggs in one basket”.
    2. clouds, water, earth, rain, trees, wind
    3. The people can’t relax because they never knew when something bad would happen. You never know when the next disaster will hit.
    4. The passage encourages thinking in the long term, but also realizing that times could change and to not put all your hope in a 401-K.
    5. I do not know.

  10. [ED2203-01] HyeJin Lee says:

    1.Why does the passage advocate investing in a number of ventures in different lands?
    – The author advocates investing in a number of fields because we do not know which will prosper.
    2.What images from nature does the author use to describe the effects on the financial markets?
    – The author uses the images of clouds, rain, tree wind, and sowing.
    3. When can a person relax and be sure that their investments will be fruitful?
    – It seems like people never can relax because it is hard to foresee whether the investments will be fruitful or not.
    4. How does this passage speak to setting up your 401K?
    – I think this passage encourages to set up a 410K since this is one of the investment program.
    5. What kind of mutual fund does Ecclesiastes suggest?
    – I think we have to look for low-risk mutual fund……….(?)

  11. Moon [ED 2203;Mon 6:00pm class] says:

    1.because we don’t know what will happen to the ventures.
    2.clouds, trees, wind, rain
    3.people are never able to be sure that their investments will be fruitful, since we don’t know what will happen in the future.
    4. i think this passage speak to us to invest in different ways and also keep on working hard.
    5. diversified investments..?

  12. Sandra Tindle says:

    1. The passage advocates investing in a number of ventures in different lands because you don’t know what disaster may come in the future, and if you are invested in only one land, everything could get destroyed at once.
    2. The author uses clouds and rain, trees falling, wind, and sowing seeds.
    3. A person can never relax and know that their investments will be fruitful, because they don’t know what the future will bring.
    4. This passage speaks to setting up my 401K by telling me that I should work and save in many different places so that it doesn’t all crash and disappear.
    5. Ecclesiastes suggests a mutual fund with many different investments.

  13. aaron wright says:

    1/. should invest in more than one thing
    2. clouds, trees, the sea, etc
    3. not really ever…nothings for certain!
    4. its not bad to think ahead toward ur future
    5. this passage only spoke to individuals and never compared two people so i didnt recognize any mutual funds

  14. Kerri Klingsmith says:

    1. Why does the passage advocate investing in a number of ventures in different lands?
    It is better to spread yourself over a larger area because you don’t know what will happen. It is the whole idea of don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
    2. What images from nature does the author use to describe the effects on the financial markets?
    The author uses elements of nature like the wind, rain and clouds to describe financial markets.
    3. When can a person relax and be sure that their investments will be fruitful?
    Never because the future is so uncertain.
    4. How does this passage speak to setting up your 401K?
    It is important to prepare for the future because it is so uncertain.
    5. What kind of mutual fund does Ecclesiastes suggest?
    One with diverse investments and that has been built up

  15. Kendalle says:

    1. Why does the passage advocate investing in a number of ventures in different lands?
    You should spread yourself out
    2. What images from nature does the author use to describe the effects on the financial markets?
    Rain and nature
    3. When can a person relax and be sure that their investments will be fruitful?
    Never everything is uncertain
    4. How does this passage speak to setting up your 401K?
    It’s not as important as our cultrue tells us
    5. What kind of mutual fund does Ecclesiastes suggest?
    I don’t know

  16. 1. The passage suggests investing in other lands probably because he thinks it is wise to not have your money all stored up in one thing, but to allow different places to have potential to grow your money.
    2. The author uses the examples of rain in the clouds and grain in the sea, and trees to describe the financial markets.
    3. A person can be relax to an extent after they have made their many investments, not because they are sure to succeed, but because there is no use worrying over them, some will and some won’t but once you have been wise with your money there is not much else you can do.
    4. This passage seems to reveal that it is not a bad thing to prepare for the future, that shouldn’t be our everything obviously because that would be vanity, but yet seeking to be wise with your money is a good thing.
    5. I am not sure about a mutual fund, maybe one that doesn’t let your hands grow idle, so you are working for your money and investing it.

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