Investing and Right Motives
Capital in the form of the investment of savings is necessary if we are to have the businesses, factories, machines, and jobs the world needs. The investor who helps provide such capital is performing a useful and important service to society.
The business of successful investing seems to involve many uncertainties. Few fields of human endeavor require such a high degree of alertness, reasoning ability, and intuition. Christian Science teaches that these qualities are God-derived. They do not emanate from millions of competitive mortal mind; or from brains encased within bone structure. These qualities are progressively expressed when men recognize man as the reflection of the one Mind, God, and then act in accordance with that truth.
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But whoever sees himself as a creator or an intelligence separate from God will find it severely taxing on the personal concept of intelligence, with its limited attributes to come up with the right answers to investment decisions with any degree of consistency or continuity of success.
One of the great evils tempting mortals is the desire to get something for nothing, it can also be rephrased as the desire to get rich quick without working. When one is seated at a concert listening to a successful pianist perform, he knows that the musician has had to put in many hours of actual practice in order to become a success.
It frequently happens in the case of investing money, that a person who has spent years of honest work building a successful business will turn to the stock market or to the real estate market with only a minimum of thought, energy, and investigation and make a substantial investment on the basis of a tip from a friend or a broker. When too many of these investments begin to turn out badly, the person will often blame everyone and everything else for the failures, completely overlooking his own failure to express the qualities essential to success—qualities which Christian Science shows come to one through understanding and demonstrating Principle, God, as the only Mind of man.
Investing to participate in constructive enterprise, lending courage and wisdom, aligns us with the intelligence of divine Principle, Love. Investing from motives of fear, greed, opportunism, or the mere accumulation of material wealth aligns our thoughts with all that is erroneous in human thinking in the world today.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and bounder of Christian Science, writes in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 454), "Right motives give pinions to thought, and strength and freedom to speech and action." When we invest with the purpose of taking part in business which expresses God's qualities, we are guided to do what is right protected from dishonesty and incompetence, and if we persist in keeping our thought spiritually illumined, we are able to see we comprehend opportunities which we could never visualize without this illumination.
Whether we are to be a success or failure in the business of investing can be summed up very completely in Mrs. Eddy's words in "Miscellaneous Writings" (pp. 267, 263), "The predisposing and exciting cause of all defeat and victory under the sun, rests on this scientific basis: that action, in obedience to God, spiritualizes man's motives and methods, and crowns them with success; while disobdience to this divine Principle materializes human modes and consciousness, and defeats them."
In the parable of the talents as related in the twenty-fifth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, each of three servants was given by their master talents, or money, according to their abilities. For the two wise servants who used their talents to the best of their ability and earned more, he had nothing but praise, saying to each, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."
For the servant who because of fear of loss did nothing but hide his money, the master had a very pointed rebuke, calling him "wicked and slothful." Then the master directed that the talent of the unprofitable servant be given to the servant who had been most successful in putting his talents to use. And he said, "For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath."
The motives of the servants were vastly different. The servant who was so selfishly engrossed with fear of loss that his thought turned completely inward to self-protection rather than to God for inspiration and guidance lost not only the opportunity for increasing the value of his money but also his original talent.
The two faithful servants knew they had an obligation to fulfill; they must use constructively the talents that were given. Either a financial transaction is right and blesses all concerned, or it should never be entered into. The success and reward of the faithful servants were assured by the words of Christ Jesus (Luke 6:38), "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over."
God has no purpose other than that of expressing His infinite goodness. When we reflect the purpose to bless in our business relations with others, we bring good to all with whom we do business. As we keep our channels of service and love to our fellowmen always open and flowing outward, identifying ourselves as ideas of Mind, God will provide us with countless opportunities to manifest His qualities and bountiful supply of all we need for success in whatever we do. Our human investments in work, time, and money will bear steadily increasing fruit, showing in some measure the depth of our spiritual understanding and progress.