I was SO convicted!
In January of 2000, my world got flipped upside down. That was when Dave visited me at my office in Hot Springs, Arkansas. He simply asked me, “Todd, what investments are you using?”
I was excited to tell him! After all, I was a financial advisor who had spent countless hours researching various investment options. I had built a solid portfolio of investments that I felt could rival anyone else in the country. I’m an analytic by nature, and pride myself on my ability to research until I find the best solutions. I dive into research before buying a car, a lawn mower, hiking shoes, or power tools. I research the most effective gardening techniques, most thorough pool cleaners, and the best family vacation spots in the country. I’m thorough with basic purchases, so imagine how detailed I like to be in my career. I had done my homework so, I felt quite proud as I showed him my portfolio.
What happened next was very humbling.
Dave smiled kindly and politely asked if he could share a report with me. I sensed he was setting me up for something, but I was curious. What could he possibly share with me that I hadn’t already researched? This is when Dave showed me something that he called a “moral audit” of my investments. This report drilled down into my investments to reveal the industries that were being supported by my investment dollars.
I couldn’t believe what I was seeing!
The report he provided to me revealed that about 40% of my money was being invested into companies that were involved with things like abortion, pornography, and gambling. My own investments were supporting the very things I was morally opposed to. I didn’t want to tear people down or exploit their addictions with my investments. Rather, I wanted to build them up.
I wish I could say that I immediately adopted a new approach to investing from that very moment, but I didn’t. My analytical and skeptical mind kept running through a seemingly endless list of questions and possible objections. It took me weeks of prayer, thought, and Bible study. I wrestled day and night with this new revelation until I could arrive at a point of resolve.
All about stewardship
For me, it all came back to a question of stewardship. I couldn’t escape the conviction that the investments I purchased DID matter in God’s eyes. I couldn’t find peace knowing that I owned, through my investments, companies that were hurting my fellow man. I also knew I would give an account one day for my investment choices. Each time I read the Parable of the Talents, I felt such conviction about the investments I owned. If the third servant was called “wicked and lazy” for simply burying his talent (money) in the ground, what would be said of me? “Lord, I used your money to purchase investments that preyed on your beloved children’s addictions to alcohol. I bought stocks of companies that terminated the lives of the unborn. I supported companies that destroyed families’ financial lives through gambling.”
A better direction
In early 2000, I made a dramatic change to my business. I turned away from investments that violated Biblical teachings. I began building investment portfolios that embraced Biblical values, not undermine them. The goal was to find investments people would be proud to own. How awesome is it that we can invest for our goals while also promoting good in the world?!
I’m so thankful that Dave confronted me about my investments in January of 2000. His influence changed my life forever! His challenge to me caused plenty of discomfort and many months of intense workload as I rebuilt our firm, but it was worth it! It is so gratifying to know that our investments are doing good in this world.