By Doug Hanson
Dust filled my nostrils and sweat rolled down my back. But the pay was good. During summers in middle school, I would buck hay bales for two weeks for a local farmer, forgoing my pleasure of afternoons spent staying cool at the city’s public swimming pool. My fingers ached as I grabbed 50-pound bales of hay, lifted them off the stubble-filled ground, and stacked them on a flatbed trailer as a tractor pulled it slowly across the hayfield. Once the hay was stacked securely on the flatbed, we would take it to the barn and stack it again for storage until winter, when it would be used to feed cattle on the farm. Growing the hay and bucking the hay bales was work, but it was necessary for the success of the farm.
Growing and caring for crops is not a new concept; it is as old as time itself. We read in Genesis 2:9 that God created the Garden of Eden and “made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground – trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food.” Then God placed Adam in the Garden “to work it and watch over it” (Genesis 2:15). This is often referred to as the Creation Mandate. “To work it” implies cultivating the soil, tending, and pruning the trees. “To watch over it” implies protecting the trees (perhaps from a crafty snake), so they can produce a good crop.
Since the first verse of the Bible tells us that God is a creator, and the 27th verse tells us that we were made in His image, then it stands to reason that we were created to be creative – to be economically productive. We are to develop the resources that God has given us to provide for our current and future needs. Capital (in the form of investors) is often needed to develop resources. For example, to grow and harvest the hay, investors were needed to find and refine the fuel for the tractor, to research and make the rubber and metal used in the tractor, and to engineer and build the tractor. The result was economic productivity: hay to feed the cattle, which produced beef, which fed people. (And provided me a summer job bucking hay bales!)
Investing and productivity are central to the economic process. There is a message here for us. As part of God’s creative plan – His plan for us to be economically productive – we should invest. Through our investments, we contribute to the productivity of the economy, both present and future, and provide for ourselves, our families, and society at large. Our investing should not be haphazard. We should seek to invest in companies that improve ways to harness our resources and meet the demands of a growing and changing society, that manage resources so that they can continue to provide for future generations, or that heal what is wrong or broken. To put it another way, since we are created in God’s image, we should ask what God would invest in. What values would influence His investments? What products would He produce? Which people would He serve? What types of organizations would He invest in? Our investments should display the God we represent.
Are you investing? If not, I encourage you to start. We were put on this earth to “work it and watch over it.” Companies need capital to design and produce products, and our investing provides that capital. If you do invest, then congratulations! Thank you for progressing the Creation Mandate. But take a closer look at your investments to see what values they represent. We want to make sure that we are investing to improve lives in the future. We have come a long way in growing and harvesting technology since the days of the Garden of Eden. It makes me wonder what it will look like in the future. How will the Creation Mandate be furthered through our investing? Time will tell, but it will be amazing!
Doug Hanson is an investment advisor with Christian Wealth Management in Boise, providing biblically responsible investment advice to Christians. For more information, visit investforthegloryofgod.com or contact him at [email protected] or (208) 697-3699.
Investment advisory services provided by Creative Financial Designs, Inc. Securities are offered through CFD Investments, Inc., member FINRA & SIPC, 2704 South Goyer Road, Kokomo, IN 46902, 795-453-9600. Christian Wealth Management, LLC is not affiliated with CFD Investments, Inc. or Creative Financial Designs, Inc.