Put your finger in the middle of the Lord’s Prayer and it will land on this phrase: on earth as it is in heaven. Given this prominent position within a prayer that is itself central to Jesus’ call to his disciples to practice the kingdom, it is no stretch to say that these seven words are the very center of the Christian life.
Here, then, is a thought experiment: attach that phrase as a descriptor of any primary activity in which you regularly engage:
- In my online and social media activity, on earth as it is in heaven
- In my recreation and hobbies, on earth as it is in heaven
- In how I talk to my children, on earth as it is in heaven
- When I write emails, on earth as it is in heaven
- In how I invest, on earth as it is in heaven
Praying the phrase over something we regularly do is precisely how prayer moves to practice. Praying in this way can be compelling and convicting, not least with that last activity, investing so as to bring heaven to earth.
Investing, at its core, is about vision. Whether it’s a child’s college education, a charity, a startup, or stock in a company, we invest because we see something in someone. For Christians, this vision, this way of seeing, must necessarily be transformed by the cross. Jesus set his gaze there, and so should we. This means the returns on our investments will be more than financial: beauty out of brokenness, justice out of oppression, and hope for the marginalized. On earth as it is in heaven.
How to practically do this will be the focus of an engaging session called Navigating the Complexities of Values-Based Investing at Denver Institute’s upcoming event, Business for the Common Good.
Rachel McDonough, an award-winning Certified Financial Planner, has developed practical tools to help her clients on a journey that moves them to maximize people over profit and kingdom impact over financial return. Profits and financial returns are not wrong; they’re just not enough. The act of connecting our investing to our Christian values, Rachel has written, can do nothing short of right evils, protect children, and minimize pollution. On earth as it is in heaven.
Tim Macready, Chief Investment Officer at Brightlight, an investment management firm helping solve investment problems for values-led investors, will emphasize that applying Christian values to investing is a necessarily imprecise and imperfect endeavor. The context of the investor, including their appetite for risk and liquidity needs, adds complexity that necessitates going beyond a one-size-fits-all approach. What is more, faith-based investment is the process of sinners investing in sinners, as Tim has recently written. Perfection is not possible, but redemption is. On earth as it is in heaven.
In the same way, our adoration of God leads us to action, our prayers lead us to practices that better reflect his kingdom. “Our Father, … on earth as it is in heaven … .” God’s investment to bring heaven to earth came with great cost, a cost named Calvary; may our own investment be measured by the breadth and length and height and depth of that sacrificial love.
If you are interested in learning more about values-based investing from Rachel McDonough, Tim Macready, and Jeff Hoffmeyer, consider attending Business for the Common Good on March 3, 2023. Purchase your tickets by visiting businessforthecommongood.com.
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This post was published February 22, 2023
Jeff Hoffmeyer is VP of Advancement at Denver Institute for Faith and Work. He is an ordained Presbyterian pastor, and holds a Ph.D. in theology, having written his dissertation on the doctrine of atonement. He lives in Boulder, Colorado, with his wife and two children, and loves all things true, good, and beautiful, including fly fishing, Wendell Berry, craft cocktails, and the Denver Broncos.