The value of something can be very hard to determine. Sometimes, things just don't turn out the way we expect them to, mostly because they aren't what we had expected them to be. We've seen a good example of that in the latest news from the stock exchange regarding Facebook. It appears that the initial price for shares in the corporation had been set too high. That is, public investors who bought in to the company when that first became possible, lost a significant amount of their funds the minute they did so.
I don't know much about business or finance, and I detested my college Econ 10 and accounting classes with a passion. But it seems to me that the Facebook fiasco may be a worthy analogy for the state of our world in general. It certainly isn't the only thing our culture has overvalued lately, and the list of items that have fallen short of expectations is clearly much longer than a daily ticker tape.
Choosing worthy investments is both a science and an art. Those who succeed have a certain knack for it. It's as if they possess some kind of secret knowledge of the future or a heightened awareness of current trends. Those kinds of investors manage their risks well, and usually come out in the black when all is said and done. It's because they can see what is inherently valuable, and distinguish it from what only appears to have value.
But what about the rest of us? God knows I don't have any bank balances to speak of, and what used to be a small portfolio is now an empty folder. What kinds of investments can I make? And more, what are the rules of investment I should follow?
Most financial advisors talk about long term plans made to reach long term goals. Frankly, goals about money have never been much of a motivation for me. But what about eternal goals? What about holiness and heaven, virtues and gifts, prayer and sacraments, and other people? If those are really what I value, I ought to be fully invested in them.
Our faith teaches us to be prudent, to make wise and discerning choices. But it also tells us to put all we have and all we are on the line. Contradictory? Perhaps on the surface. But the self-emptying gift of Christ's cross shows us how to do both.