“That's amazing to me.”
Isaac angles his camera towards a computer screen, displaying a sharply upward trending graph. Bitcoin has just hit an all-time high of $111.
“I’m right here watching history being made.”
That recording was made in 2013. At the time of writing, the price of Bitcoin stands at over $46,000. In a follow-up video, the YouTuber claims he held onto his investment, describing it as the “best decision I ever made financially in my life”.
This type of story makes the world of cryptocurrency seem highly appealing. And yet for every success story, there are many horror stories. How many investors have followed the hype and hysteria at precisely the wrong time, only to see their investment plummet irrecoverably into the red?
Cryptocurrency may be a relatively new phenomenon, but the principles are similar to other forms of investment. And as such, there are winners and losers.
In the Bible, Jesus told a story that warned of the dangers of investing. But it wasn't along the lines of the "10 mistakes investors make" style videos you'll find on YouTube. The man in the story did not blow his savings in risky trades. He lived out an investor's dream.
He was a landowner who had reached that most desirable stage in his investment journey. His days of sacrifice and risk were behind him. His land had produced enough fruit to see him through retirement. He said to himself,
“Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry” (Luke 12:19).
Though this may seem an envious situation to be in, the story was not a celebration of the man's success but a cautionary tale.
“But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’” (Luke 12:20).
The profits which were to set him up for “many years” were to become meaningless “this night” as he passed from life to death. Everything he had worked for was about to slip through his fingers and belong to someone else.
In no way does the Bible condemn the ownership of possessions. And it says much in favour of hard work and planning for the future. But this story highlights the problem of focussing on economic prosperity with no regard for God. Jesus concluded the parable by stating:
“So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:21).
It might be painful to consider but it is nonetheless true: even if our investments, crypto or otherwise, surpass our wildest dreams, they will one day cease to be of any value to us. The moment we die, everything we own will become someone else’s possession. Jesus, throughout His teaching, was at pains to expose the folly of materialism to His hearers:
“One’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Luke 12:15).
It is easy to be seduced and deceived by the allure of economic prosperity. Like the man in the story, we can be so taken up with wealth generation and retirement plans that we set aside thoughts of God, sin and judgement. Such thinking will make us ill-prepared for eternity.
Jesus not only warned against this in His teaching but ultimately gave Himself as a sacrifice so that we might be prepared to meet our God.
The cross focuses us on what matters most. It is the place where Christ died for sin. Where He opened up the way for lost humanity to be restored to God. He died and rose again to give forgiveness of sin and eternal life to those who repent and believe in Him.
“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Mark 8:36).
Photo credit: Viktor Forgacs