Savers and Lenders

Article / Produced by TOW Project
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Those who provide resources—lenders and savers—have a responsibility to invest their resources for the common, and not only for their own, gain. This perspective is sometimes called “socially responsible investing.” We will explore it through the example of investing in stock, rather than depositing money at a bank or making a loan, although similar principles apply in all kinds of investments.

A company issues stock because it believes it has more productive opportunities than it has resources. It gains access to additional resources by selling stock to investors.[1] The investor is loving the company—and ultimately its customers, suppliers, workers, and community—by letting it use some resources for a period. The company is loving the saver by providing an appropriate return in the form of dividends or stock appreciation.

Investors should buy stock only in companies that fulfill God’s purposes for finance. These would be companies acting as good stewards of God’s creation, companies showing care and love through the products and services they sell, and companies acting justly in their employment practices and community relations. In practice, this is hard for investors to do, since it is time consuming to gather and analyze the information on thousands of companies. However, there are now several options where investors can invest in mutual funds that filter out companies with poor practices of stewardship, justice, and love. Much has been written on socially responsible investing and biblically responsible investing, and a detailed treatment of this is beyond the scope of this paper.[2] However, this approach to investing is completely consistent with, and indeed is mandated by, the framework developed in this paper. We do not see any biblical basis for delinking one’s faith from stock investment decisions.