Note: This is a guest column by my friend David Hoffman.
If you had bought $100 in bitcoin in 2010 and didn't sell, it would now be worth almost $73 million. That is an incredible return.
Last year on November 29, 2016, the price of one Bitcoin closed out at $732.62. That means in the past year, it really grew.
We are living in a time where there is great opportunity to invest in a lot of different things. With great opportunity, there is great risk involved as well.
Bitcoin was arguably one of the best financial investments of the past 5 years, just as Apple was a great financial investment over the past decade.
Though these were good financial investments for many, there is a much better investment that a person can make. That is investment in the kingdom of God. God wants us to invest our time and energy in serving Him and promoting His kingdom. It has infinitely more benefit and returns than the best investments on this earth.
One of the biggest blessings when investing into the kingdom of God is that there is no risk of loss. Even if you invest the slightest amount of your life in God, it is never for a loss. If you invest in a person by sharing the Gospel with them and taking the time to disciple them, you will never be at a loss.
In the world we live in, there are many things vying for our resources, time and energy. The believer faces a unique financial temptation. There are many things promising that if we invest in them. we will have what we need to be free to better serve the Lord. It doesn't work that way. It is a big temptation.
The Bible is clear. It says in Matt. 6:33 "but seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be given to you." The devil and the world system want it to be the other way around for the believer. "Seek first your financial stability and future security and the kingdom of God and His righteousness will be added to you."
In light of all of the buzz around bitcoin, and even the recent soaring stock prices, many Christians have become very interested and pulled towards a mentality that posits "I have to have financial security to serve the Lord." Increasingly, I have seen Christians putting greater emphasis on investing in some of these new investment opportunities as a good way to make money, and with money, financial freedom to better serve the Lord. The idea is "You need money if you are going to do anything great for God."
I recently saw a video with one of the wealthiest ministers in the world sharing about this. He said:
"In Satan's eyes, there is nothing more dangerous than a preacher who has got enough money in his bank account to do what God has called him to do."
That is not true. It is just plain false. Elijah did not have money in the bank, and yet he called down fire on the Baal prophets and led Israel to repent. Jeremiah, had no money in the bank, and yet he served the Lord faithfully as the only true prophetic voice in Judah during a season of great wickedness and deception. John the Baptist really had no money, and yet he prepared the way for the Lord and is considered the greatest prophet of all time before Christ. The disciples were not rich, and yet they were able to heal the sick, cast out demons, and advance the Kingdom of God. The Bible is full of countless examples.
We must not forget what the Apostle Paul said in 1 Cor. 1:26-29
For observe your calling, brothers. Among you, not many wise men according to the flesh, not many mighty men, and not many noble men were called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty. And God has chosen the base things of the world and things which are despised. Yes, and He chose things which did not exist to bring to nothing things that do, so that no flesh should boast in His presence.
The greatest threat to the devil is not a Christian with money, it's a Christian with the fullness of the Holy Spirit. That is what will change the world. That is what will open the door for greater ministry. The reason the apostles could be "the men who have turned the world upside down" (Acts 17:6) was because they had an encounter with the liiving God on the Day of Pentecost that so transformed them, and so filled them, that regardless of their lack of finances, they were able to operate in the power of God. God doesn't rely on physical resources to accomplish His purposes.
This observation is not coming from someone who is detached from dealing with finances and ministry. I do full-time ministry, and I often feel like I wish a had a lot more money to do what I feel God is calling me to do. So, I understand the temptation of feeling like more finances are necessary to better serve the Lord; nevertheless, it is a temptation. I understand the feeling that comes from seeing a lot of money used inappropriately on ministry initiatives, agendas and items that don't help to transform communities and the culture with the gospel.
There have been times where I wished my ministry had the amount of money that I saw being used inappropriately elsewhere. I have thoughts things like "If only I had that much then...." However, I am growing to see that what Paul said in Philippians 4:11-13 about contentment in all things is a necessary attitude that God wants me to embrace in my life. It is wrong to think "If only I had that much money then....." Jesus' ministry was nothing like that. I am learning that the key to success is to be "full of the Holy Spirit." The Holy Spirit changes things. Many ministries have millions of dollars, and yet they are not changing the world for Christ.
Phil 4:13 says "I can do all things because of Christ who strengthens me." Christ, not finances, is the believer's strength. It is the power of God that brings the change, not money. We need the power of God. We don't need physical riches. We need spiritual riches. We need to be rich in faith, rich in truth, and rich in love.
Invest in God, invest in His kingdom.
Empires have risen, and empires have fallen. Stocks have soared and stocks have dived. People have gained wealth only to go on to lose it.
Bitcoin will one day bottom out and leave everyone who invested lacking and regretful. The dollar will one day bottom out. Everything in this world that seems to offer security, offers no true security. Invest in Jesus. Invest in His kingdom. Invest in love and truth. When this world fades away, when everything else fails, Jesus Christ and His Kingdom will not fail. His kingdom is an eternal kingdom that cannot be shaken. Investing in the kingdom of God is the only investment with a sure return, and it is the only investment with eternal benefits.