From the beginning of time man have seen the wisdom in pursuing business enterprise together: shared risk, means that the risk per individual is manageable; shared benefits, means that all who invest capital or “sweet of thy brow” enjoys the fruit of labor. Therefore, the stock market existed in one form or another since time immemorial.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” – Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Unity is a wonder-working asset. It defies calculus. One plus one equal three. “A cord of three strands” signifies that in the presence of unity a third party of considerable import joins the team. Let the imagination of the intelligent Christian investor surmise the identity of the third party.
A stock certificate is a partial ownership in a company, equal to its value relative to the number of shares outstanding (number of shares owned by shareholders, equivalent to 100% of the company’s market capitalization or market estimation of the company’s value). For instance, if 1000 shares are outstanding and stockholder “A” owns 100 shares, then “A” has 10 percent ownership in the company, and usually has 10 percent voting rights on pertinent issues up for vote by stockholders.
Before the meteoric rise of the electronic age, a physical stock certificate was given to each shareholder according to the number of shares owned. Today, there are myriads of electronic platforms for buying and selling stocks and an electronic registration of your transactions through Scottrade, Ameritrade, Fidelity, E-trade or any of the dozens of other trading websites will suffice.
Each publicly trading company has a stockholders agreement stipulating the rules governing every stock transaction. The stockholders agreement creates a legal framework in which shareholders from diverse backgrounds can own stocks in a company and share in its risk and rewards.
It is vitally important that the stockholder understands that by legal decree from SEC regulations, that he is a partial owner of the company; the executives and management are employees. Therefore, the owner must shoulder the responsibility of ensuring that management is replaced or upbraided in the event management fail to live up to the standards and expectations of what should constitute a growing concern in mind of the owner.
The Christian investor must take his stock ownership prerogative seriously. He should participate in conference calls, in the executive election process, and communicate with the board of directors to share his concerns and observations.