By Gene Price
Pastor, Tumbling Creek Baptist Church, Gleason
God desires for His children to be good stewards both in their life and finances. Herschel Hobbs said, “Throughout the book of Ecclesiastes the writer identified two key concerns connected to wealth: (1) Don’t be consumed with the quest for wealth; and (2) Don’t fall into poverty through laziness or misfortune.” There has to be a balance between those two statements. A godly person is to plan well, and make investments wisely; and then leave it in God’s hands.
A wise person will diversify investments (ch. 11:1-2). Solomon was involved in international trade with many different merchants. Obviously, when you send grain out across the sea you are taking a risk (pirates, shipwrecks, and unethical traders). You may never see it or any return on your investment again. Solomon would send (cast) many different ships out to sea loaded with grain (bread). He did not put all of his grain onto one ship. He sent out numerous ships. If one ship sank, he did not lose all of his investment. He did not “put all of his eggs into one basket.” A farmer should not grow just one crop, but he should grow various kinds such as cotton, wheat, and corn. An investor should not invest in just one stock but in many different types of stocks. Do not commit all of your possessions to a single venture. Divide up your investments because the future is not known — the stock market could drop, the value of your house could plummet, Social Security could run out. A wise person will prepare to the best of his abilities.
A wise person also keeps working and prepares for the unexpected (vv. 3-4). There are certain things that cannot be predicted or controlled. A wise person distinguishes between those things which he can do nothing about and those things which he can. A person cannot control when it rains or where a tree falls. Oftentimes a person becomes so consumed about predicting what might happen that they miss the present. It is true that the wind and the rain might come and destroy the crop. However seeds in the barn will never bring a harvest. Duane Garrett put it this way: “Just face the fact that things may go wrong, but get out there and do your work anyway.”
Finally, a wise person will trust God to bless his hard work (vv. 5-6). God does not want a person to be idle. Work hard, sow the seed, and leave the harvest to God. In order to achieve set goals, a person must keep at it. Those who work trusting in God will receive the blessing of God. Life is unpredictable and mysterious; Solomon compares life to the wind. Wind is unseen and unknowable. A person knows the presence of the wind by its effects. Likewise, a person cannot understand how God forms bones in the womb. Therefore the activities of God cannot be known by mankind. So when lacking understanding or information, a wise person always has his trust in God.
In the financial area of life, many believe (including me) that Jesus is coming soon! Neither the day nor the hour is known. However, many well-meaning believers use that as an excuse not to save and invest for the future. A person should live as though this is the last day on earth. At the same time, a person should invest as though they were going to live on the earth for another century. Both attitudes are worthy ambitions when lived in complete trust the One who provides for our every need.