Fears of a “double-dip” recession, or an economic depression are growing. Some financial experts now urge: “Buy gold. Buy silver. Get as far away as you can from U.S. currency and the U.S. economy” (YahooFinance.com, August 4, 2011). Considering recent stock-market trauma, and recent record gold highs approaching $1,850/oz., many are turning to gold. So, what is a Christian’s best investment strategy?
While gold has always been precious, its rapid price gains are a recent phenomenon. Only in the last 40 years has gold been a high-yield investment—one that some believe may now be the only “safe-haven” (CNBC.com, August 18, 2011). For example, a $5,000 investment in gold in 1810 would have still been worth about $5,000 an entire century later! The price of gold gradually increased to about $35-$40/oz. during World War I and World War II, and it basically remained at that level until 1971—the year when the post-war “Bretton Woods system” of international financial relations was dismantled, and the U.S. dollar became in effect the world’s reserve currency.
If you had purchased $5,000 in gold in 1971, at about $35/oz., you would as of August 30 have an investment worth approximately $250,000 (assuming a price of $1,750/oz.). Had you purchased $5,000 worth of gold in 2005 (at about $445/oz.) your investment would be worth about $20,000 today. That sounds like an excellent return. So, is gold really our best investment strategy? The biblical account of the gold used in the Ark of the Covenant and in Solomon’s Temple reveals an important lesson.
The Ark of the Covenant and the “mercy seat” were beautiful. They were plated inside and out with pure gold. They were covered by solid gold cherubim (Exodus 25:10-11; 18-20). The ark was transported by two gold-covered poles running through gold rings (25:15; 17). Beyond that, the Temple that Solomon would build would contain a phenomenal amount of gold and would be of unsurpassed beauty!
King David alone contributed 3,000 talents of gold (about 90 metric tons, or 2,893,500 troy ounces) and 7,000 talents of silver (about 210 tons) to the Temple project. At a conservative $1,750/oz., this would be $5.064 billion in gold alone! Scripture reveals that Solomon greatly added to this wealth. The Queen of Sheba (1 Kings 10; 2 Chronicles 9) brought Solomon another 120 talents of gold (3.599 metric tons, or more than $202 million at August 2011 prices)! Solomon accumulated additional vast amounts of gold through extensive trade and mining operations (1 Kings 9:11; 14; 10:22), much of which was put into the Temple of the Lord (1 Kings 6:18, 30; 7:48-49; 2 Chronicles 3:5).
God certainly was honored by this beautiful Temple. Yet, ultimately, gold or riches will not save us, and do not impress the Creator. Remember, because of Israel’s sins, God eventually allowed the Temple to be plundered (2 Chronicles 36:18-19; 2 Kings 25). Gold can be stolen or debased. A fortune based on gold can vanish in an instant. Even a diversified portfolio can crash, and may be lost or confiscated in times of war or national collapse.
But there is a resource that can last even when gold fails. Faith can withstand war, or famine, or national collapse. Moreover, it can yield immortality in the Kingdom of God (1 Peter 1:7-9)! Scripture warns us that, at the very end of this present age, gold will be worthless, because it will not be able to deliver suffering humanity from the Great Tribulation or the Day of the Lord (Ezekiel 7:19; Zephaniah 1:18)!
Moreover, no amount of gold, silver, euros, dollars or yuan can purchase entry into the Kingdom of God. A Christian’s best investment strategy is to develop a spiritual investment portfolio rich in the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22–23), humble in God’s word (Isaiah 66:1–2), and full of “spiritual oil”—the oil of deep faith through Christ living in us. This investment strategy will survive the collapse of nations, and will yield as its dividend immortality in the Kingdom of God (Matthew 25:1–12)!
For more about the wonderful future that awaits faithful Christians who keep their lamps full of spiritual oil, please read our article, “The Promises of God” or our inspiring booklet, The World Ahead: What Will It Be Like?