by Don Simmons
To the BAM Global audience: thank you for the chance to engage with you this month through a series of blogs dedicated to themes of investing God’s resources for eternal impact.
I have been a financial planner for over three decades and a follower of Jesus during my entire career. In recent years, God has opened my eyes to truths I cannot escape regarding the role we all have to play in connecting our financial resources with God’s eternal purposes. In short, I have come to believe that we are all God’s resource managers, his fiduciaries, and as such we are to become his steward investors. Simply put, we must move beyond financial competence to proactively investing God’s resources to achieve His eternal purposes such as the Great Commission. We must not simply invest for our own temporal financial goals.
What is a Steward Investor?
A steward investor is a person who acknowledges that God owns it all and seeks to invest in a way that accords with God’s purposes.
By definition, a steward is a manager of someone else’s resources. It derives from the Greek word oikonomos, who was the manager in an ancient Greek household. A steward knew he didn’t own anything but had an obligation to manage the resources and affairs of the owner as the owner himself would.
All of our resources—financial and otherwise—have been given to us by God, the true owner. God tasks us as his stewards with managing those resources according to His values, goals, and precepts communicated in scripture.
While many of us value “good stewardship” of our finances, making sure we live on a budget, save, and give generously, most of us have not considered how to steward our investments.
We have a calling and responsibility to invest money so that God’s purposes are achieved, because the investments we select are an equally important component of stewardship. Donations are not sacred, and investments are not secular, although many behave as though this is the case. We pray for God’s kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven, but do we invest to achieve that goal? What does a portfolio that seeks to advance God’s kingdom look like? Are we investing just to increase our personal net worth?
How Can We Achieve Eternal Impact?
Jesus clearly instructs that the greatest form of obedience to God is to follow the Great Commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,” and the Great Commission: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matt. 22:37 and 28:19-20, respectively).
Full love of God will lead steward investors to willingly deploy capital from where it is piled up to where it is in short supply. Releasing capital for investment into missional businesses can have both temporal and eternal benefits. When we invest with an eye toward bringing spiritual, social, economic and environmental change, we build God’s kingdom on earth through many avenues, including rectifying injustice, caring for the poor, and making disciples.
Business as Mission is a proven method of using business to align with God’s Great Commission and Great Commandment objectives. Serving brothers and sisters in emerging markets and places of spiritual darkness by partnering with them in their business enterprises is an act of obedience.
Uniqa, a Missional Business in Moldova
Uniqa is a construction company that builds energy-efficient housing. Pictured below is a development in the Netherlands, which was pre-built in Moldova, shipped in panels, and assembled on-site. Uniqa currently has more orders for homes than they can produce.
Due to long-term economic stress, Moldova has a disengaged and displaced workforce. Many families are split, as one parent is forced to leave the country to find work to support the family. Part of Uniqa’s founding mission was to reunite families by creating good manufacturing jobs at home, which keeps families together and supports spiritual formation. The business also provides spiritual training through the business.
When the war started in Ukraine, thousands of refugees began seeking safety in Moldova. Uniqa employees have been serving at the border, providing food and blankets, and are opening up their homes to displaced families. Uniqa has been in talks with the United Nations, the US Embassy, World Vision, and others to serve as a hub of refugee support in the area.
Uniqa is focused on achieving multiple bottom lines with their business plan. To name a few: they are providing economic returns with profitable business and job growth; spiritual returns with discipleship opportunities; and social benefits in keeping families together and serving victims of war.
For more information on becoming a steward investor, visit www.thestewardinvestor.com. Together we can grow the kingdom of God through offering investment capital to missional and redemptive businesses.
Don Simmons has over thirty years of experience building and managing a boutique investment firm in upstate New York that he founded in 1988. A CFP® Professional with a degree in counseling and post graduate training as a portfolio asset allocation specialist, Don fuses professional portfolio strategy with investor psychology and behavior to provide a well-informed perspective on our role as Christian steward-investors. With nearly a quarter billion dollars of assets under management, his firm consistently ranks among the top 1% of financial advisor practices in the United States. Read more…
NEW BOOK: The Steward Investor