Cash or Coins?
Q. Is it wrong to invest in mutual funds and precious metals for our retirement? One Christian author says this is "hoarding" and that we should give away extra money to the poor.
Giving to the Poor
Giving money to the poor is a fine thing to do.
"If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord - and he will repay you!" (Prov. 19:17, NLT). But, we've seen some Christian leaders take this to an extreme.
Fiat Money is Dishonest Weights&Measures
For example, one author says that Christians should never purchase or collect gold and silver coins, but it is okay to save money in a bank. It doesn't occur to him that collecting coins equates to accumulating money in a savings account.
In other words, please explain how saving coins is wrong but a savings account at the bank is okay? In fact, the coins are more authentic because inflation eats away at the dishonest "fake" or fiat money in a savings account! This advisor has not thought things through.
The Bible warns,
"Differing weights are an abomination to the Lord, and a false scale is not good" (Proverbs 20:23, NASB). Our inflated "paper" (fiat-money) is a "false scale."
Furthermore, just like ancient Rome, removing real silver from dimes and quarters is an abomination to God!
"Differing weights and differing measures, both of them are abominable to the Lord" (Prov. 20:10).
Prepare for the Future
God suggests we observe the ant and prepare for the future:
"Go to the ant, O sluggard,
Observe her ways and be wise,
Which, having no chief, officer or ruler,
Prepares her food in the summer
And gathers her provision
In the harvest" (Prov. 6:6, NASB).
The Life Application Study Bible notes that Proverbs 6:1-5 is "not a plea against generosity, but against overextending one's financial resources and acting in irresponsible ways that could lead to poverty. It is important to maintain a balance between generosity and good stewardship. God wants us to help our friends and the needy, but he does not promise to cover the costs of every unwise commitment we make. We should also act responsibly so that our family does not suffer" (1988, 1288).
Last, it is always right to tithe and give away some of our money for the Lord's work:
"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the Lord of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows" (Malachi 3:10, NASB).
The "whole tithe" equaled a full tenth of earnings. Surely we can give at least this much.
Give and It will be Given to You
On top of that Jesus said,
"Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure - pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return" (Luke 6:38, NASB).
This does not mean to "give to get!" as some pastors preach. "Pressed down, shaken together, and running over" refers to a container of grain filled to the brim and running over the top. This should be like our generosity.
Freeman, Criswell. 2004. God's survival guide. Nashville, TN: Elm Hill Books.
Life Application Study Bible, NIV large-print. 1988. Wheaton, ILL: Tyndale in cooperation with Zondervan.
Ryrie Study Bible NASB. 1996. Chicago: Moody.
TouchPoints for Hurting People (Wheaton, ILL: Tyndale, 2004).