By Berlin Fang
Bible verse: Luke 12:34

Many of us have invested in the stock market. Years ago I put some money in the stock market myself. Before I bought those shares of stock, I had never paid any attention to the economic/business section of the newspaper, but after I bought those stocks I found myself constantly reading the stock market pages. I even bought some kind of insurance, and was always checking the prices. I had a co-worker who was even worse than I. He got hung up on a stock quote Internet site and checked the prices almost every hour.

“Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Luke 12:34). This statement is completely true! Some people speculate on stocks, others speculate on real estate, and others even speculate on postage stamps. The person who is interested keeps up with whether a certain item increases in value or loses value. Various stamp issues commemorate animals in the Chinese zodiac, famous paintings, famous people, etc. A stamp issued in 1980, the year of “geng shen,” was a picture of a monkey, and that stamp has risen in value by the tens of thousands of times its face value. There are many stories of problems that erupted because of the monkey stamp. There are also stories of how family members fell out with each other because of the stamp. I do not know whether this situation is people speculating on monkeys or monkeys playing tricks on people.

Sometimes collections become investments. People collect antiques, calligraphy, early editions of books, sculptures, badges, clay figurines, food and cloth ration coupons, etc. Some people collect movie ticket stubs, tissue boxes, fruit boxes, ballpoint pens, commemorative newspapers, etc. Items you can imagine and items you cannot imagine—somebody collects them all. Some things that people collect turn into good hobbies that increase one’s knowledge and introduce him to more friends. When I was young, my friends and I collected cigarette packs and match books. We considered it no effort to walk long distances to collect these items. Thus it is true that a person’s heart goes wherever his “treasure” takes him.

When it comes to making an investment, however, we know that sometimes the items we collect will appreciate in value but sometimes they will depreciate. Sometimes we will loose items, and sometimes—when we should not—we dispose of them or sell them, and thus suffer a loss for no reason. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus tells us to “make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.” To be a Christian one’s entire life is itself a “collection,” a process of “investing” as we are loyal to God and as we seek to give glory to all of God’s work. Our contributions to God result in unending blessings back from him. These are therefore “long-term investments,” but they give us a very happy life in the process, a lifetime of blessings from God. There is a hymn that expresses this sentiment very well. The hymn states that, “This world is not my home, I’m just a’passing through. My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the Blue.”
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