As I browsed the Internet, while researching a completely unrelated topic (.xml files), I chanced upon Sean Hyman’s The Biblical Money Code. 1
The advertisement for this video was well presented, peaked my interest, and I started watching. Soon enough, I was hooked, taking notes even as I absorbed the material.
Hyman, an investment expert and former pastor, posits that if we want to obtain, in his words, “a blessing of practical wealth that goes far beyond [our] own needs or wants,” we need to stop loving money.
What’s the love of money?
According to Hyman, the love of money means that you love it so much that you’ll risk all the money you have in an ill-advised manner in order to get more; or, alternatively, that you love it so much that you’ll hold onto it for fear of losing what you have. Hyman condemns both approaches.
The Parable of the Talents
The investor uses the Parable of the Talents 2 to make his point. In this old story, before going on a long trip, a master gives (according to their abilities) five talents to one servant, two to another and one to a third. Each talent represents twenty years of wages–a lot of money. The first two servants trade their talents and, when the master eventually returns, give him double what he entrusted to them. The third servant, though, justifies himself by saying, “I knew you were a tough guy, winning effortlessly and getting rewards painlessly. I was afraid of you, so I hid the talent you gave me. Here, take what’s yours.” 3
As happy and satisfied as the master is with the first two servants, he is furious and utterly dissatisfied with the third. He takes away this servant’s talent and gives it to the first servant (who turned five into ten) and condemns the third servant saying, “You lazy, no good servant, you could have at least put my money in the bank and given me interest.” 4
What’s a talent? Or, what is talent?
The word talent can mean “a unit of money equal to the value of a talent of gold or silver” or “general ability or intelligence.” 5 If we interpret the story allegorically, then we can say that by not trading (exchanging) our abilities with others, we are not growing and have squandered potential that was given us.
Hyman asks, and I’m paraphrasing, “What’s so bad about giving back the one talent the master gave him to begin with? Why such a harsh response?”
They say that opportunities only come once. If you don’t grab an opportunity, you risk losing it forever. If your talents (gold, silver, cash) are stashed away, though, or you’re keeping your natural abilities under wraps, you’ve definitely squandered your potential–as well as the potential of others.
According to Hyman, the problem with hiding talent is squandering potential. By hiding the talent, twenty years of wages couldn’t grow. There was no trading, no exchange and no possibility for increase. It was an expensive asset that lay idle for a very long time.
Money, according to the investment expert, needs to be invested and put to work. We mustn’t let fear or the love of money stop us from: stepping out (i.e., taking mitigated risks that will lead to stable and reliable returns); looking well into the matter of investment (like King Solomon, formerly the richest man on earth); and doing what’s needed to grow our talents.
Buck the trend
Sean Hyman cites two examples of very rich men who built their fortunes by doing the exact opposite of what others were doing.
Warren Buffett, one of the four richest people on earth, with an estimated net worth of fifty-three billion dollars said, “Be fearful when others are greedy and be greedy when others are fearful.” 6
Sir John Templeton, founder of the Templeton Prize said, “The time of maximum pessimism is the best time to buy, and the time of maximum optimism is the best time to sell.” 7
1 Hyman, Sean. The Biblical Money Code. Accessed on Wednesday, August 14, 2013. http://w3.newsmax.com/newsletters/uwr/video_money_code_intl.cfm?promo_code=146F3-1
2 Matthew 25:14-30, KJV.
3 Ibid., verses 24-25, my interpretation.
4 Ibid., verses 26-27.
5 “Talent.” The Penguin Dictionary. Second edition. London: The Penguin Group, 2003.
6 See footnote 1.