As a Christian in business, and in life, wisdom requires you to be a fool. You will be called on by Wisdom to make decisions that seem folly to bystanders. Onlookers will mock you at best and do their best to destroy you at worst. They will not understand, accept or even tolerate your path, but you will be anchored by the irrefutable conviction that your decision is right. Because beyond the current affairs of the day, the opinions of the age, and even the temporal success of your endeavor, above all is the timeless and eternal wisdom of God revealed in the Bible. “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul…” (Hebrews 6:19).
I can only speak from my own experiences, and I boast in nothing save Jesus Christ alone who is my only glory and sure foundation. Such experiences as when I was compelled to leave the safety and security of my position at Wells Fargo, being compelled by the Spirit to start a company dedicated to biblically responsible investing (BRI), with no income, no savings and no clue what I was doing. People questioned my judgement and whispered about the likelihood of my failure.
And when I steadfastly built that business by God’s grace, offering only biblically responsible investments, ready to refuse potential revenue under the conviction of scripture that “whatever you do, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31), many chided my foolishness that I would fail with such a narrow-minded focus, and yet God brought me more investors than I could handle, and also brought me advisor partners who shared my conviction to expand the scale of our growing firm.
Industry experts warned, and even scolded, that my insistence on diligent, biblical screening which filtered out hot-button issues such as LGBT activism and corporate giving to Planned Parenthood was just too radical, unnecessary and intolerant. But how could I in good conscience profit from and recommend such things when scripture’s clarion call to “take no part in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead expose them” (Ephesians 5:11) resonated so in my soul?
And when God laid on my heart the necessity to bring biblically responsible investing to the world by launching Inspire, the world was incredulous, and even a bit outraged, that we would manage investments aligned with conservative, biblical values instead of conforming to “the pattern of the world”. The media skewered us for our “intolerance“. Financial experts scoffed “thou shalt not buy biblically responsible [investments]” claiming we would never be able to achieve good performance because of our “limited” investment universe of companies aligned with biblical values. Liberal activists proclaimed that we would never attract investor capital because our “approach is squarely at odds with that of nearly all of corporate America“.
And these same pundits scratched their heads when Inspire attracted massive capital, grew assets by 131% and was named among the nation’s fastest growing investment firms in the Financial Advisor Magazine 2017 RIA Ranking, with all glory to God because by worldly standards these authorities should have been right, save for one glaring omission in their reasoning which makes all the difference: God is sovereign. And even if God had seen fit to allow me to fail in the world’s economy, I would still be a success in God’s economy, which is the only market that really matters after all.
So, when you are faced with a mocking crowd and find your convictions at odds with popular opinion, stand firm in the wisdom of God expressed in the Holy Bible. Stand upon the firm foundation, which is Jesus Christ our Lord, “for the wisdom of this world is folly with God.” (1 Corinthians 3:19).
“Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
3 He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
4 The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
6 for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.” (Psalm 1)
Robert Netzly is the CEO of Inspire Investing, a social enterprise creating meaningful change in the lives of people all over the world by providing low cost, biblically responsible impact investments easily accessible on the NYSE. Follow Robert on Twitter and LinkedIn and get inspired!