The Bible On Risk Taking

Did you know the riskiest and greatest investor of all time was written about in the Bible? 

No, it wasn't Warren Buffett

It was a poor widow who allocated her entire portfolio to God's Kingdom. 

Mark 12:41-44:
Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.

Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

This poor widow entrusted her entire net worth to God. 

Zero asset diversification, no buckets of risk tolerance, and no concerns for liquidity. She risked her entire life's savings by putting her faith in God... and she was rewarded for doing so. 

The Crypto Christian is giving this example first to demonstrate that the most important "risk" you take in life is trusting in the Lord. Before we examine what Scripture tells us about risk-taking when it comes to finances, let's first examine the risks God wants us to embrace.

The Bible is packed with examples of Christians bravely assuming risk (or failing to do so) for God's glory. 

  • Jonah in the whale
  • Peter denying Christ out of fear 
  • John the Baptist 
  • Peter walking on water
  • Daniel in the Lion's Den 

While researching Scripture for this article, our hypothesis was the Lord would likely be rather risk-averse when it comes to investing. Now, we're not so certain. 

The act of faith is inherently a risk. We could be wrong about everything. 

While the Crypto Christian would argue we do have a great deal of proof and historical evidence for the existence of Christ, Jesus has never submitted a press release to the New York Times containing video of evidence of the Holy Trinity and the gift of Eternal Life. 

Faith is an act of believing without hard evidence.  

God wants us to take risks to glorify the Lord, spread the Gospel, and do good works. 

But what does the Bible say about taking financial risks? 

Here is our simplistic take on what Scripture says about risk-taking: 

  • Have courage 
  • Trust in the Lord
  • Don't be an idiot 
  • Save for a rainy day 

Here is an example of Scripture related to investing, saving, long-term thinking, and work ethic:

Ecclesiastes 11:1-6
Ship your grain across the sea; after many days you may receive a return. Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight; you do not know what disaster may come upon the land. 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. 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. 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.

No surprise here, God wants us to engage in long-term thinking and delayed gratification. "Ship your grain across the sea; after many days you may receive a return". Most often, ethical wealth creation takes time to pay off. In fact, it may even suffer losses initially. God wants us to have patience. 

God warns us about uncertainty. Reading this piece of Scripture is initially, to be blunt, depressing at first glance. God is essentially telling us we can't possibly understand what's going to happen next. This is why trust in the Lord is so important. 

The reality is that he's right (like always). We can't predict the stock market, what will happen with interest rates, or what the price of Bitcoin will be next year. Historical trends do not guarantee future results

As investors, we are subjected to the whims of the entire global market. Even investors like Ray Dalio openly admit they can't predict the future, and simply do their best to plan for multiple outcomes. 

Lastly, God is telling us to work hard warns us against keeping, "idle hands". 

A few other pieces of Scripture related to investing and risk-taking:

Proverbs 3:5-7
Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Genesis 41:34-36
Let Pharaoh appoint commissioners over the land to take a fifth of the harvest of Egypt during the seven years of abundance. They should collect all the food of these good years that are coming and store up the grain under the authority of Pharaoh, to be kept in the cities for food. This food should be held in reserve for the country, to be used during the seven years of famine that will come upon Egypt, so that the country may not be ruined by the famine.

God also warns us against greed and believing in ourselves as infallible investment experts. We must trust in the Lord, acknowledge we cannot always get it right, and that creating a reserve of savings and value is a wise and biblically sound thing to do. 

Risk-taking is something all Christians must engage in both for the Kingdom of God and for our careers, families, and investment portfolios. 

Is investing 100% of your portfolio into Bitcoin (or any asset) a Biblically sound move? Probably not.  

However, God does make it clear we will confront and manage risk in our lives. This does not mean playing with fire and foolishly approaching every risk we discover... nor does it mean we should hide from every risk we encounter.

Seek wisdom from God when considering making any investment. Then, you'll probably do just fine.