By Mark Minnella
Early in my career, I was jumping from task to task, dropping the ball on promises and missing important deadlines. I needed a way to keep on top of everything, figure out what was necessary and what wasn’t, and how to get projects and tasks completed on time. So, I designed a quick priority system based on three simple words: Must, Should and Could.
Very simply, a task that must get done, and if not, there would be a disastrous consequence, was a “Must.” If it was an activity that could help to keep things from falling apart or would help move the business forward but would not end in tragedy if not directly attended to, it was a “Should.” Finally, if a task or idea was not essential or would not have a devastating impact if not completed, it went under “Could.”
This system worked well in a world where tasks, projects, expectations and needs were continuously shifting. Yet recently, I realized something was missing. The missing piece was: “Get To.”
This concept came up in a conversation with a gentleman I met at the airport one day. We got on the subject of investing with biblical integrity. He said he didn’t even consider that idea and probably never would. He then went on to say how religion, specifically Christianity, was made up of many dos and don’ts—how you must do this and that. It seemed like everyone wanted to tell him how to live.
He had a point. Most religions do have a lot of dos attached to them, yet I challenged him about throwing true Christianity into that stew. His eyes squinted, and his face tightened into a look of doubt and puzzlement.
“I don’t know how you could say that,” he said shaking his head. “I am not a religious man, but I hear Christians all the time talk about how they can’t do this or must do that. So how do you account for almost every religious person I know abstaining from something or having to do something, like going to church or tithing, to be a part of their religion?”
“Good points,“ I responded, as a smile of victory slowly came to his face, “and with most religions, I would say this may be true.”
“But not with Christians?” He injected before I could draw my next breath.
“Well, please let me explain,” I said, adding that because Christianity is based on the finished work of Jesus Christ’s death, burial and resurrection, everything that is needed to be accepted into peace with God and eternal life is done for us. Jesus did it all. So, by receiving the gift of salvation, we don’t “have to” do anything else. In fact, we don’t have to do anything before coming to salvation. Christ says, “Come as you are.” I wanted to quote Romans 5:8, which says, ”While we were still in our sins, Christ died for us.” But before I could, he jumped in.
“So why do all you Christians keep saying you have to do this and must do that and tell everybody how they should live?”
“Good questions,” I replied. “The bottom line is, we don’t have to do those things, but we get to. Our salvation is not contingent on what we do, but what Christ did for us. Because we have accepted the love of the One True God of all creation, He makes it possible for us to participate in His great and perfect works of love, honor and service. We don’t have to, we get to. He doesn’t force us to walk in the good works He prepared for us, He lets us choose to do so.”
This also applies to how we invest the resources God has entrusted to us while here on earth. You see, we don’t have to avoid being an owner of stocks that use and abuse people. Our salvation is not dependent on investing only in companies that refuse to produce addictive products, provide harmful services or promote destructive lifestyle activities. We don’t have to honor God with how we invest, we don’t have to be concerned with the impact our investments have on others, we don’t have to reflect respect, honor and compassion for others within our portfolios.
We get to.
(Mark Minnella is president and co-founder of the National Association of Christian Financial Consultants. He designed the first faith-based professional designation program, Christian Financial Consultant and Advisor, in the industry. He has extensive background as a leader in the faith-based investment movement, is the founder of Integrity Investors, LLC, and the author of “The Wall Street Awakening.”)