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Are You Gambling Your Money or Investing It?

National Association of Christian Financial Consultants Founder Mark Minnella Says Gambling Has No Social Value, While Investing Builds Businesses and Makes the Economy Vibrant

ORLANDO, Fla.—Some may see the stock market as a gamble, especially in turbulent times.

But the National Association of Christian Financial Consultants (NACFC, www.nacfc.org) president and co-founder Mark Minnella says there’s a big difference between gambling with your money and responsibly—and biblically—investing it.

Minnella, also the author of “The Wall Street Awakening,” says embracing a biblically responsible investment philosophy is crucial in today’s culture as more companies take political and anti-biblical social stances with their resources. Today, he says, because of an open flow of information, corporations cannot hide their policies or their investments, and therefore Christian investors can see what their money supports—both good and bad.

“We must realize that anything can be a gamble,” Minnella writes in a new article in Townhall Finance, where he is a new regular contributor. “Some, taking the concept of gambling to an extreme, would say that getting out of bed in the morning is a gamble. To be practical, we can look at the common belief that gambling is the taking of a risk to obtain a quick gain. Though on the surface, this definition seems as though it could easily fit investing, and without a doubt the stock market could and often is misused and gambled with, there are significant differences between the two.”

“Investing,” Minnella says, is defined this way: “To put money into business, real estate, bond, etc. for the purpose of obtaining an income or profit; placing money into something you believe in and expect a return from.” “Gambling,” on the other hand, means to “play games of chance for money; to take risk in order to gain advantage.”

“Gambling has no social value,” Minnella says. “The act of gambling is a selfish act. It is about winning for one’s self, whereas investing actually has social value. The concept of investing itself is a social act. One person puts up money so another person can start, expand and run a business. The business then utilizes the capital investment to produce goods or services for the community. In turn, the community uses these products for its betterment. It is investment dollars that make our economy so vibrant.”

Secondly, with gambling, Minnella adds, someone has to suffer loss for someone else to win, whereas with an investment, no one has to lose, and all can gain.

“We shouldn’t assume, however,” he continues, “that stocks always appreciate in price. On the contrary, many businesses do not produce desired products for consumption or don’t manage their business well. This leads to investors selling off their ownership in the company and the value of the company declining. Yet even in decline, someone’s loss is not someone else’s gain. Because purchasing stock is purchasing ownership, you participate with other owners in the gain or loss of the company’s value. It has nothing to do with someone gaining by someone losing or vice versa.”

He reminds faith-based investors of this Bible verse from I Thessalonians 5:15: “See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone” (ESV).

Investing, however, can take on the characteristics of gambling when the stock market is treated like a casino. Prudent investors will do one of two things:

  1. Research the companies in which they are interested in having ownership.
  2. Hire someone to do the research for them. This information could include company finances, management information, fundamental and technical analysis, what products and/or services the company offers and the impact the company has on people—all with the goal of finding a company that the investor believes has strong financial fundamentals and high possibilities of being profitable and successful, while also being representative of their personal values.

“There are some people, however, who hear of a stock rising in price and bet the stock will continue to do so, with no research or diligence, no understanding about the company or its products or services, no management or financials, and definitely no concern regarding the company’s impact on people or the values they represent,” Minnella says. “Instead, they may just purchase the stock in the hopes it will continue to go up. There is no difference than betting on anything else. It is nothing more than a bet—not an investment but a get-rich-quick scheme.”

And, remember this wisdom from Proverbs 28:20, Minnella says: “A faithful man will abound with blessings, but whoever who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished” (ESV).

The mission of the National Association of Christian Financial Consultants is to teach, train and encourage financial professionals to learn, share and instruct biblical stewardship to individuals and families believing that “it profits a man nothing to gain the whole world and lose his soul” (Matthew 16:26). Members will glorify God by impacting their world for Jesus Christ through teaching and practicing biblical stewardship.

For more information on NACFC, visit nacfc.org. View the media page for NACFC here.