I know a little about investing.
For a number of years I have been on a Pension Fund Board. During that time I have listened to financial managers who invest the fund’s money. As a Board we provide the investment policy framework for them and chose who will manage the fund for the plan’s members.
This experience has provided me some insight into how financial portfolios are looked at and created. It has given me some understanding about how you build a portfolio which has the best opportunity to get a good return with the least amount of risk.
It is in fact, the key part of managing someone else’s money. Provide good returns with the least amount of risk. Active investing will always involve a certain amount of risk. One of the first things good managers try and discover is “How much risk are you willing to take.”
Once they understand your risk tolerance they can build the kind of investment portfolio to match your tolerance level. For example, if you want to avoid risk, investing in stocks that have great rewards but can also significantly drop in value should be avoided. Otherwise you would be in panic mode too much of the time.
On the other hand, if you are not afraid of risk, investing in safe low risk funds where growth is secure, but slow, you likely desire more – so change how you invest or will look for a new manager.
What I have found about risk is all of us are willing to experience some risk – but we have different limitations on how much.
I have also found that our risk tolerance applies to more than just investing our money.
When it comes to our following of Jesus we discover that He tests our tolerance of risk as well. When He walked on this earth, He caused those who heard His message to assess how much they were willing to risk to follow Him.
We find very different reactions. Some were quick to respond. Others hesitated. Some kept resisting. This in part was because the message Jesus gave was one which challenged their present understanding about life.
The message Jesus brought about the Kingdom of God was that it was very different – therefore risky – than what they had understood life to be like in the 1st Century. It required not only a change in their thinking but the need to trust this teacher from Nazareth.
For some they were quick to trust Him. After all they saw something in Jesus that altered their lives. Others, there were hurdles in their way. They were not prepared to trust.
This continues to be the case today.
And yet, the way Jesus describes the Kingdom of Heaven it really is not much of a risk. Following Him is a sure thing. It leads to life. And it is more valuable than anything we could possibly seek.
In Matthew 13 He describes it this way.
44 “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.
Jesus reveals that the Kingdom of Heaven, the Kingdom He was bringing to the world, is like a treasure found in a field or a discovered pearl. It has such great value that everything else in comparison is insignificant.
When put that way, the risk is very low. Selling everything I have to obtain something of infinitely more value is not really much of a risk – unless….
Unless…I don’t trust Jesus assessment of the value the Kingdom of Heaven has.
Quite frankly that is what it comes down to. It comes down to whether we trust His words or not. Learning to trust someone is often based on relationship. The more we get to know someone the more we determine we can either trust them or not. The same goes for Jesus.
He invites us to walk in relationship with Him so we can learn to discover whether what He said about life and about the Kingdom of Heaven is true. He welcomes us to take the risk.
The only question is whether we are willing to take the risk.
The potential is we will find something worth more than anything else. How willing are we to go there?