Money Wise – Investment 101

Have you ever been conned? Like you lost money in a way that you never saw coming?

MONEY WISE FLIER twitter HILL CITY

Why do we get conned so easily? I know one of the reasons: we’re waiting for our big break! And when such opportunities present themselves, we think, “This is my chance!” We want to double our money, we look at “opportunities” presented to us and we think we’re about to make it! No more rat-race, I’m gonna be rich!

Many people believe in ‘the big break.’  – that one opportunity, that one contract, that dream job that could unlock all my dreams and make me rich. So we are always looking for that big break; we fill out the supermarket lotteries, we enter the promotions, we listen carefully to whose cousin made a fortune selling what, and we cross our fingers and pray for our big break to come.

This mentality is also seen in those who believe that certain things should happen before they become successful; they need to go to certain schools or get certain jobs in certain companies, or marry certain people if they are to be wealthy. So they would rather stay at home and wait for their ‘big break’ than take lower level jobs that are beneath them. Of course in Christian circles we’d never admit that we are waiting for the ‘big break’. Instead we have spiritualized it and instead say, ‘I’m waiting on the Lord to open a door for me… that no man can shut.’ Some Christians even refuse to get jobs and stay at home because they have spiritualized the phrase ‘God will come through for me.’ Yet, even though they’d never admit it, they are also waiting for their big break!

This ‘big break’ mentality is what makes us fall for con men and even prosperity preachers. This ‘big break’ mentality is why so many business people compromise and ‘give that envelope’ in order to get tenders and contracts. This ‘big break’ mentality is what causes us to live beyond our means; always buying the next toy because we’re convinced we have to ‘fake it till we make it’!

Why is it that so many people buy into this ‘big break’ mentality?

The big break is attractive because it promises success in one instant. No years of tears, toil and sweat; that’s for other people! I just want that one deal, or one job, or one tender that will sort me out so I can exhale, stop suffering and start living the life that people like me should be living. This is the path to real wealth that many Kenyans are hoping for today. But according to the billionaire, Solomon, this is not the path to true, lasting wealth. And that’s what this blog post is about.

This blog post is a part of a sermon series called Money Wise: Lessons from a Billionaire. We have been learning some critical money lessons from the wealthiest man in the bible, billionaire Solomon. In the first post, we looked at the wealthy heart and learnt that ‘the use of your wealth reveals the state of your heart’. Then we looked at the wealthy mind, and learnt that ‘true wealth begins with wisdom, not the wallet’. If you do not have the heart and mind of wisdom, then whatever wealth you create can end up resulting in misery.

Let us now look at the hands that create real wealth. Ecclesiastes 11:1-6

When Ecclesiastes was written, Israel had been transformed from a small agricultural nation to a strategic trading point right between the large economies of Egypt, Europe and Asia. Billionaire Solomon owned a fleet of ships, and he made a fortune through trade. One of the main trade commodities back then was grain, and the merchants then would put their grain in ships and send it to far off parts of the world to sell for a profit. Of course that was a risky thing to do! There were all kinds of dangers out there like pirates, or shipwrecks or fire or unscrupulous traders. The safer thing to do would be to use your grain to make bread to eat for you and your family. But Solomon’s counsel is ‘ship your grain across the sea’. In other words, invest what you save!

But before you can be an investor, you must first be a saver. I like to say that there are 3 types of people – Those who consume more than they earn, those who consume all or almost everything they earn, and those who consume considerably less than they earn and have something to invest after the month is over. If you’re in the first group, the word to you is that ‘debt destroys destiny’ as Solomon would say in Prov. 22:7, ‘The rich rule over the poor and the borrower is a servant to the lender’. Whoever you have borrowed from owns you! I believe one of Satan’s greatest weapons in stifling the God-given purpose of many today is through debt.  If you’re in the second group, the caution to you is that ‘you are eating your future today’. Every day you work, you should be setting aside something not just to eat today but for a day in the future when you will not be employed. The book ‘Financial Fitness’ talks about how you can get out of debt and consumerism and have enough resources to invest.

If you are in the third group, then you can begin to apply Solomon’s wisdom. ‘Ship your grain across the sea; after many days you may receive a return’. This is an encouragement to invest what you save, so that you increase your opportunity to eventually make a profit. Solomon is discouraging us from the get rich quick schemes. One of the most critical money lessons for our generation today is that, true wealth is earned over time; not overnight! True, lasting wealth is not built by looking for ‘big breaks’ but by regular investing. Having the discipline to save so you have money in your bank account is a first step but it’s not enough. You want to move from a place where you are working for money to the place where money is working for you!

But how do we invest? Three practical billionaire investment tips are:

Diversify Your Investments – Verse 2 says, ‘Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight; you do not know what disaster may come upon the land.’ In other words, don’t put all your investment in one place. Or as we say, ‘don’t put all your eggs in one basket’. He’s saying, ‘you don’t know how things will turn out. So spread the risk!’ Split up your investments and invest in different profit making ventures. When it comes to investment, the maxim is ‘high risk, high return’. Put some of your money into low risk ventures, like fixed deposits or bonds or mutual funds. Put some in medium risk ventures like shares of blue chip companies. Put some in high-risk ventures like land and business (most young Kenyans don’t realize that business is a high-risk venture)

If you are earning a salary through your job, you need to realize that your boss’s job is not to make you rich! Their job is to pay you a salary, which is simply your seed. You could choose to eat that seed and demand more. Or you could choose to invest it so that with time, you will have another source of income. That way if you lose your job, life would go on! But that will never work if you are eating your seed instead of investing it. ‘True wealth is earned over time; not overnight!’

Start Right Away – Verse 3-4 reads, ‘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. Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.’

Sometimes you can predict what is going to happen by looking at the circumstances. If the clouds look dark and grey and you work in Nairobi, what do you do? You find a way to leave the office early so you can avoid the traffic!  You can plan ahead because you can see ahead.

But many times, you can’t predict what is going to happen. Daily life contains many disruptions that we have no power or control over. Solomon uses the analogy of a tree. This tree may have fallen through a storm or an inward disease. The point is that it fell without planning. And because of that, you just have to deal with it. Maybe it fell in the middle of the road. Or it fell on your house. Many “trees” in life fall in the wrong place at the wrong time. Despite our best planning, sickness, a key employee leaving, a fire, market changes, floods, and so forth can happen, completely disrupting our lives. These are things that are beyond our control. You can’t see ahead, so it’s difficult to plan ahead!

You need to distinguish between those things you can do something about and those that you cannot. And you need to realize even as you do so that there’ll never be a perfect time for investment! The person who waits for the wind to be just right before they broadcast their seeds will never plant. The person who waits for the time when the clouds are just right so that rain doesn’t harm the harvest will never harvest. In other words, if you’re waiting for that perfect moment, it will never come!

The one who looks for an excuse to do nothing, will easily find one. If a person wants an excuse to stay home from church, or not to read their Bible, they can find and make a hundred different excuses. If we just observed conditions all the time, not much would get done. We should consider the circumstances, but we must not be ruled by circumstances. I remember once complaining to my dad that his generation had all the opportunities. I said, ‘nowadays things are expensive and it’s not as easy to create wealth as it was in your time’. His reply was, ‘I said the exact same thing to my dad, many years ago! He said there will always be opportunities for those who are ready for them.’

The point is, don’t wait for a perfect job before you start working. Don’t wait for a perfect church before you join and start serving. Don’t wait for a perfect person to marry before you start making friends! If you need a job, move from just praying and applying; start volunteering somewhere. Take something that you think is below you. There will never be a perfect time! You need to start now! ‘True wealth is earned over time; not overnight!

Leave the Results to God – Verse 5, “As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.” 

Life is unpredictable and mysterious. It’s like the wind. Despite how long we’ve studied the wind, we don’t know how to create it or control it. All that we know is that wind happens! Despite how much science has studied how embryos form, we don’t understand how life itself comes about. All that we know is that life happens!

In the same way, there are many times we’ll not understand exactly what God is doing. Many Christians freeze because they don’t know exactly what decision God wants them to make. They suffer from a paralysis of analysis. They want God to tell them exactly what choice they should take. But God doesn’t often work that way. There are certainly the moral decisions; those right and wrong decisions; where it’s clear when we read the Bible what God wants. Does God want me to bribe or not? You actually don’t have to pray about that one. Solomon would tell you in Proverbs 13:11, ‘Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow.’  He’s basically saying that if you make your money through dishonesty or bribery, it won’t last, even if you come and tithe it afterwards.

But not all decisions are right/wrong decisions. In that case, God wants you to think! That’s why He’s given you the mind of Christ. I like to say God gave us a brain so we could give Him a rest! He’s not going to be your fortune teller. You don’t need to turn everything into a mystical decision about what you ‘feel’ God wants you to do. Ignorance should never be an excuse for inactivity. Since God alone knows the future, we need to pray for wisdom, study the situation, create our strategy, seek wise counsel, take all factors into consideration, do the best we can, and then leave the results to God! ‘True wealth is earned over time; not overnight!’ 

Solomon concludes by saying in verse 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.

The terms “morning” and “evening” are a figure of speech that uses two extremes to include everything in between. In other words, the point is not that the farmer should plant at two times in the day (morning and evening), but that he should plant all day long (i.e. from morning until evening). The key idea is that we need to constantly be involved in multiplying everything that God puts in our hands.

This doesn’t mean that you’re working each and every moment! It’s not just about working hard but also working smart! You shouldn’t spend 8 hours at the office executing a task that you can execute in 5. But after working smart, what do you do with the 3 hours you save? Are you investing it so you can add value to yourself and to the organization?

The person who works smart is the one who finishes their work efficiently and quickly so that they can spend time reading, which will help them become a consultant a few years down the road. You see the goal of working smart is not to do less work but to accomplish more. I shouldn’t work smart so that I can cheat my employer by leaving early to go out for drinks or catch the 5 p.m. movie with my girlfriend. I work smart to accomplish more – to deliver exceptional results and there is a reward for that.

According to the billionaire, there is no shortcut to real wealth. You have to earn it. Our key lesson from the Billionaire is this: True wealth is earned overtime and not overnight!

You see, many people want to be Bill Gates but not so many are willing to do what it takes to achieve what he has achieved. Malcolm Gladwell writes in the book ‘Outliers’ that it will take about 10,000 hours to master any discipline. We see this rule at play in the lives of great athletes and musicians. They spend hours in training and practice, working hard to master their skills. They don’t spend their days day-dreaming about being great, they work at it every day. They have understood that if you want to be truly successful, you must invest in working hard. True wealth is earned overtime and not overnight! 

The billionaire teaches in Proverbs 28:19 ‘Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty.’ In other words, hard work done consistently brings wealth. Sometimes spiritual words like ‘waiting on God for my breakthrough’ can be a disguise for being lazy. And this scripture gives the reward for laziness: poverty. In other words, it doesn’t matter how hard I pray, how many ‘seeds’ I sow with men or women of God, how many get rich quick schemes I put my money into: the reward for laziness and the pursuit of wealth without effort is poverty. As far as wealth is concerned, if I am not working for it, it isn’t coming! You need to earn your money, because True wealth is earned over time and not overnight!

In this series, Money Wise: Lessons from a Billionaire, we have so far looked at the heart, mind, and hands that create godly wealth. In the next blog post, we will look at attitude.

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7 Responses to “Money Wise – Investment 101”

  1. it true;i had over 2m in invested one shamba;but thugs come and took everything and distroing crops and burning others.for now am beggar.thanks for advice and good teaching;

    Like

  2. Catherine Muriithi Says:

    I learn something new every time I listen to sermons on Pastor M on Money. Today what struck me was that Jesus saves so we should also save.

    Pastor M, Mungu akubariki.

    You are absolutely real

    Like

  3. yes indeed is all about investment,networking.i like the overtime phrase thanks pastor m. i have learned more wisdom in your preaching.a-plus

    Like

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