Daily Devotional for Saturday June 7, 2003

The stock market and YOU

( Luke 12:16-21 )

The stock market and YOU. Today, more people than ever own stock. Whether it is through online or more traditional brokerage accounts, through various mutual funds, or in a 401k or other retirement plan, never before have so many people owned stocks. For those who prudently and strategically invest long term, the stock market has been one of the most consistent ways to invest and get a respectable (7-12% a year) return on your money. Let me give you some advice to pray about.

If you have sat down with a competent broker or financial planner, you have created a long term investment strategy involving companies with solid track records of financial performance and stability, then don't allow the day-to-day, even month-to-month ups and downs of the markets scare you. The stock market is still one of the greatest places to invest your money long term. Only a complete meltdown of the entire US economy could change that from being true. So regardless what your portfolio, or mutual fund, or 401k has done in the last few years, hang in there. After all, Jesus shared MANY parables of being a wise steward and investing a portion of what God has entrusted to us during this life.

Sadly, over the past several years I have spent some time with two couples who have had their worlds devastated by the recent market downturn. One couple, both employees of WorldCom and had lost 96% of their retirement account after each being there over 10 years. They had never diversified their retirement account and it was all tied up in WorldCom stock. The other couple had invested heavily in the high tech stocks 5 years ago. The husband was part of the Silicon Valley world when things were going so well out there. The failure and downsizing of so many high tech companies in the last 2 years has reduced their portfolio to pennies on the dollar from the highs just 24 months ago. I also get at least a thousand emails daily from people just like these who have had their finances destroyed in the economic problems our nation has been dealing with over the last couple of years.

Today I want to share with you a word of hope and encouragement. Especially if you have had financial problems lately, especially if you have lost money in the markets recently, I want you to know today that God will not fail you! God will not forsake you! My bible says, "But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." What things is Jesus talking about?? Before that great verse in Mathew 6:33, He is talking about worrying about what we will eat, what we will drink, what we will wear. Jesus is talking about the day to day necessities of life. His message is simple. SEEK GOD FIRST. GOD KNOWS THE DAY TO DAY NECESSITIES OF LIFE THAT YOU HAVE, AND HE WILL MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE TAKEN CARE OF!

Let me also take this time to encourage those of you who are faithful in giving to your local church, to those works of God that He has laid on your heart to support like Liveprayer. I have said it before, the GREATEST INVESTMENT that there is in this world is investing in the eternal souls of people! There is no investment you will ever find that pays higher dividends than when you give to the work of God that is bringing the hope and love of Jesus, the gift of everlasting life, to the lost and broken hearted of our world. It is wise to set aside a portion of our resources to invest, to make grow for the future. Jesus told us that we should do this. But we must also be sure that we are faithful to give back to God a portion of what He has entrusted to us to further HIS work. It will ALWAYS be the greatest invest you will ever make throughout your life.

I love you and care about you so much. My heart breaks when I hear of people that have had such devastation as the loss of their financial security. I am so sad when I read the prayer requests from those who are struggling because money that they were counting on is no longer there. But let me encourage you today that Jesus loves you, and that God will always provide for your needs each step of the way. The verses in Matthew chapter 6 tell us NOT to worry about the day to day necessities of life, God knows we have those needs. It tells us to focus instead on Him, His Kingdom, on serving Him.

My prayer for you today is that God's peace will be with you this day. That the fear, the concern will wash away and be replaced by His perfect peace. Never forget that He loves you, cares about you, and is with you always. Stock markets will rise and fall. Money will be made and lost. However JESUS, is the one constant that we can ALWAYS count on. HE WILL NEVER FAIL, AND HIS WORD IS THE ONE THING IN THIS WORLD THAT WILL NEVER CHANGE!!!

In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ, Bill Keller