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Social Justice In My Investments

In all of the racial injustice issues that have come to a head in 2020, I often find myself struggling with the big question of “what am I to do with all of this?”. Phil Vischer, the creator of Veggie Tales, has an awesome video that outlines just how we got here and challenges us to start by just caring.  I think that’s a great start and lines up well with Jesus’ consistent compassion he showed towards those who had been mistreated or had the short end of the stick in different ways.

At the same time, there’s a desire to do more which I think is a great desire.  And not just with racial injustice, but with all sorts of injustices out there.  There can be so many, in fact, that I can just get paralyzed and end up doing nothing.  In that way, doing everything can be the enemy of just doing something.

When it comes to our money, I want to challenge us all in two ways.  The first is to give to causes that will fight on the front-lines for those who are oppressed, afflicted, or just need some help.  There are lots of those out there and I’m happy to help anyone that needs help identifying worthy organizations to support.  Whatever that thing is that God lays on your heart, please be increasing in generosity towards it.  If you’re reading this blog, then I’m almost certain that you have the ability to increase your giving.  It might cause you to sacrifice something, or it might not.  But either way this is a very tangible way that you can live out your faith.

In the parable of the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25:31-46), Jesus describes how all the nations will be gathered before the King, who will say to some:

“Come, you who are blessed by my Father…For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

When asked when it was that this happened, the King responds that “Whatever you did for the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”

Simply put, we can use our money to bless others and bless the King Jesus at the same time.

The other challenge I have for you is to look at your investments as an opportunity to practice social justice.  When you invest in a company as a stockholder, you become an owner in that company.  Your profits can be generated by taking advantage of customers and supply chains, or by taking care of those same customers and supply chains.  It makes a bigger splash in the news when a company like Goya or Facebook gets boycotted, but we have a much bigger influence by choosing which companies we want to invest in.  And if enough Christians would start putting their dollars towards companies that align with their values and taking dollars from those that don’t, corporations will likely care enough (about their bottom line) to start changing how they operate.

Shepherd offers both traditional (secular, socially-neutral) and Biblically Responsible investments for our clients.  Both have returns you can feel good about.  There are reasons that folks invest in traditional investments such as for lower fees or to get access to specific strategies or managers.  But if you want to try to live out your faith in your investments you may want to consider utilizing Biblically Responsible Investments.  BRI investments attempt to screen out companies that invest in negative/offensive practices, and some go a step further by seeking out companies that are trying to do good in this world.

No, they aren’t perfect, and there’s no way to invest perfectly because there are no perfect companies out there to invest in.  But again, don’t let doing everything get in the way of just doing something!