Lord, turn my investment desires toward heaven.
Read ECCLESIASTES 11
Invest in Many Ventures
11 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.
Remember Your Creator While Young
7 Light is sweet,
and it pleases the eyes to see the sun.
8 However many years anyone may live,
let them enjoy them all.
But let them remember the days of darkness,
for there will be many.
Everything to come is meaningless.
9 You who are young, be happy while you are young,
and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth.
Follow the ways of your heart
and whatever your eyes see,
but know that for all these things
God will bring you into judgment.
10 So then, banish anxiety from your heart
and cast off the troubles of your body,
for youth and vigor are meaningless.
a Ecclesiastes 11:5 Or know how life (or the spirit) / enters the body being formed
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I am not afraid; what can flesh do to me?” (Psa. 56:3,4, NRSV).
Do you remember the parable of the ten minas (Luke 19:11–27)? A nobleman, before leaving for a distant country in order to obtain kingship, entrusted each of his servants with some money, instructing them to “Put this money to work” until he returned. In other words, invest. The problem was that not everyone was a fan of the nobleman, so to do business in his name, to be an investor associated with him, was risky business.
Life, the Teacher tells us, is a “gift” from God (Eccles. 2:24; 3:13; 5:19), to be used and enjoyed (Eccles. 8:15; 9:9; 11:8). At this point we are commanded to invest not only with an expectation of returns, but also with an acceptance of the risks. Using illustrations drawn from commerce (1,2) and agriculture (3,4), the Teacher offers important investment advice. To the Israelites, who were not seafaring people, the sea represented the forces of chaos. Investment demanded not just hard work (6) and patience (1b), but also careful risk management (2). Natural and man-made disasters in various parts of the world have demonstrated how uncontrollable events can wreak havoc with our most careful plans and predictions. While informed choices are important, the Teacher warns that our information will always be imperfect and incomplete. Risk analysis should not lead to paralysis (4)!
Risk can never be removed, only managed. There are no risk-free investments in any ﬁnancial market, and there is no risk-free living for any Christian. “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are made for” (John Shedd, Salt from My Attic). We are not called to play safe, but rather to faithfully and fearlessly serve our Master. His return with kingly power is the one enduring certainty in this life under the sun. Life is risky, but God is trustworthy. Invest!
What opportunities do you have to invest in God’s kingdom? What are the risks that terrify you and hold you back? What potential returns excite you and urge you on?
Lord, we understand that our assignment from You is to get busy advancing Your kingdom. Keep our eyes focused on that very aim.