Gambling and Investing
The love of money, the Bible says, is the root of all evil. The reality of Wall Street is that greed, the love of money, and the fear of losing money, moves the financial indexes up and down like a sine curve.
Whereas greed is deplored, saving is encouraged in the Bible, that teaches us to learn a lesson from the ant. Proverbs 6:6-8 tells us that ants save regularly, "in summer," and whenever there is a surplus, "at harvest."
On the theme of saving regularly, Ecclesiastics 11:6 echoes with "Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let not your hands be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well." This verse also teaches the importance of diversification through time and investing money at regular intervals.
I am no financial planner and I do not pretend to give financial advice, but I have talked to enough people, including committed Christians, to know that many people can use some simple and effective biblical teachings on making and saving money.
Putting money aside regularly, otherwise known as dollar cost averaging, and investing in different instruments, which is diversification, are both biblical principles. These are the two most sound principles I have seen in the investment world.
Instead of using these time-tested and biblically based principles, some people choose to engage in day trading and putting their entire savings into one instrument of investment, like tech stocks or just one company. They are so sure of their judgment that their greed as well as ego prevents them from spreading out their investments.
Through the years, I have had opportunities of interacting with men, and less often women, over Bible study and coffee, listening to their experiences in managing money. Some put stock holding and gambling in the same category since both involve risks. Since they don't gamble, they also don't purchase any stocks. On the other hand, there are others who think it is wrong to gamble in casinos but it is OK to invest. But these same people turn around and treat the stock market like a casino.
Through interacting with others and my personal reading and thinking, I have observed differences between gambling and investing. Allow me to share them with you.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN GAMBLING AND INVESTING
Based on chance.
Will always lose on a long-term basis because the odds are against you. For example, horse racing, casino games and the lottery.
No credible basis or past performance upon which to base one's judgment.
For immediate gratification.
Risk depends on how much you bet and how much you can or cannot afford to lose.
Your gain is dependent on someone else's loss.
Cannot be God's will.
Based on opportunity.
May gain. Historically over the past 70+ years, US stocks and bonds have posted gains over the long term.
Has past objective records to base one's judgment. You can access data for any publicly traded company for as long as the company has existed.
For future security, both yours and your loved ones.
Risk depends on how you invest. Risk is lessened through various means of diversification.
Your gain does not depend on others' loss.
It may very well be God's will if done according to biblical principles.