. . . We can learn something from the Rockefeller Foundation..
When I was a young man just starting out in the business, the name J. D. Rockefeller was synonymous with wealth. Rather like Warren Buffet is today—when we think of Warren Buffet, we think of incredible wealth. Rockefeller was a Wall Street guru in the early 1900s who amassed enormous wealth through his investment strategies. He made his fortune with Standard Oil in 1870 and became extremely wealthy on fossil fuel—until 1911. That year, the Supreme Court ruled that Standard Oil had to be broken up because it was a monopoly.
Interestingly, today’s Rockefeller Foundation (the family members still involved) have decided to divest themselves of any of those nasty fossil fuels and fossil energy companies that do nothing but harm our environment. After all, they reason, it is the socially responsible thing to do.
This is a classic example of what I have talked about in politics and investments for the last ten years. It demonstrates ideology getting in the way of common sense. But they are not interested in making money. They are interested in making a point and impressing the elite in Hollywood and the environmentalists.
We may not agree with their plan, but I believe we can learn something from them. How about you and I investing like the Rockefellers do? Not to impress environmentalists but to put our money where our morals are.
We claim to be conservative evangelical Christians—or at least most of you reading this do. Yet we support the abortion industry, pornography, and the redefinition of marriage by investing in certain companies, mutual funds, and insurance companies.
We are supporting activities the Bible calls sin. Somehow, we have developed this enormous capacity as Christians to rationalize such investments with thoughts like these: “It is simply too hard to do this.” “We may not make as much money if we honor God and become biblically responsible.” This is my favorite because it illustrates that what it all comes down to is that we are allowing money to trump God. After all, I could invest in biblically responsible mutual funds like Timothy Plan, the strongest and largest biblically responsible fund, or Eventide, which only has two mutual funds. But their expenses may be high or their returns may be 2 or 3 percent lower than the average return for investing in the non-biblically-responsible funds. After all, I would not want to short myself for the sake of honoring God.
You can count on one thing. Thousands of people around the country (high net-worth individuals) will be following this cue from the Rockefellers and stop investing in anything they think may be polluting America. But look at us. We won’t take a page out of the Rockefeller’s books and stop investing in the things that are polluting the hearts of Americans.
I wonder how long the Rockefellers will stick with this philosophy. Even though they do not need the money and are not that worried about returns, at some point greed is bound to become a factor. They will start thinking about missing the huge returns some of the great oil and energy companies, pipeline companies, and transportation companies are making. We may condemn them for their greed, but aren’t we just as bad when we place investing for the higher income above investing in things that don’t dishonor God and His Word?
At least the Rockefeller Foundation is putting their money where their mouth is in relation to fossil fuels. This is a lesson evangelical Christians would be well served to learn—and the results would benefit the Kingdom. If we became biblically responsible with our investing, we would see companies changing and staying out of the culture war.
We are not asking all companies to be conservative evangelicals. We are simply asking them to do whatever they do well for the good of the free market economy in which we live. We are asking them to hire people and create jobs and to leave the culture war up to great organizations like the American Family Association or Family Research Council and others. We are asking them to leave the liberal culture war up to the liberals and progressive far left.
Biblically responsible investing can impact our nation and the culture of companies. I think we may already see some of that happening because of people who are making only biblically responsible investments. As more Christians take this stand, I guarantee you within a few short years we will see mutual funds once again embracing this ideology. After all, it makes more sense to embrace something that applies to a far greater percentage of the American people than to the two percent they currently indulge.