Thank you, Bitcoin, for teaching me a great lesson on investing like Abraham. (Now, It’s probably not the lesson you might think of immediately. It’s not about spotting an opportunity early, or avoiding a bubble, or even staying abreast of new technology. It’s the oldest lesson of literally all time: hearing and, by faith, trusting God’s voice.)
Just a few days ago, in mid-December of 2017, I was praying about random things, and Bitcoin floated across my mind. Then, in almost a fleeting moment, I quietly sensed God telling me to sell out of Bitcoin.
Now, put this in perspective: at that point , Bitcoin was at an all-time high (worth over $19,600). My minor investment in Bitcoin is, like, small potatoes (think, raisinettes) , as I only started riding the hype wave a month or so ago. As a good, conservative, Abrahamic investor, I did not put in any money into this investment that I wasn’t okay with losing entirely, because my objective was to learn and have fun—not to get rich.
Bitcoin showed no signs of reversal, or even slowdown, so I had to think twice about selling out entirely. Well, did I actually need to? On one hand, it’s good to “test” the words we believe we hear from God against the Bible. And sometimes it’s good to bring in advice from others. But at the end of the day, you know if God has told you something, and if you’re letting fear control you instead. Sorry, getting ahead of myself….
I would have felt like a complete fool if I sold out of Bitcoin and then it went up another ten or twenty thousand dollars in value. But here’s what I did: instead of obeying the still small voice I thought I heard in prayer, I consulted with a couple of friends, and my dad, and allowed myself to be talked out of selling.
In my friends’ and family’s defense: I didn’t consult with them around the question, “Did I hear God’s voice?”, which would have been wise. I consulted with them around the question, “Is this really a good time to sell Bitcoin?” I asked out of fear, hoping for a reason not to sell. I dressed my fear up as wisdom. On the outside, those two can look pretty similar, but on the inside, I knew. Really, “talked out of it” is a cowardly way of saying I let my fear of missing out take control, instead of a acting on a fearless trust in God. (Oh FOMO, arch-nemesis of me and my fellow millennials. Your day will come.)
So, did I obey what I thought I heard God say, and sell the Bitcoin? Nope. I went with a “good idea” instead and stayed in the market. I should have known better.
Now, Bitcoin is tanking. Well, tanking is a strong word, but it’s gone down significantly (it was down around 40% a week later.) Tanking itself isn’t even a real problem for such a speculative currency. But it does cause me to wonder….
But who cares about that. The real question is do I trust God enough to obey him, even when it doesn’t make financial sense?
After this whole incident, I had to stop and reflect. Why would God have told me to sell out? Maybe He saw the drop coming and wanted me to save some money (he’s a good Dad, so why not?) and would have later instructed me to buy at a lower price. Maybe I could have walked away with an even greater return.
Or maybe God is mostly interested in growing my faith. Without trying to make it about my short-term monetary gain, God could have simply wanted to give me a chance to sacrifice something for him, like he did when he challenged Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. Then I would really be living an “Abraham’s wallet” lifestyle.
Unfortunately, my reluctance to obey him has truly cost me. I’ve missed out on whatever blessing He had on the other side of my obedience. That’s FOMO worth caring about.
Like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, it doesn’t matter if God doesn’t rescue us from the fiery furnace if we followed Him in there. The point is simply to trust and obey Him, because He is always good, despite our incredibly limited understanding. The best advice in the world cannot compare to God’s loving wisdom, and even a desirable financial outcome cannot compare to the eternal reward of following Him (or have we forgotten the secret of trading up?). God even cares about something as minor and frivolous as cryptocurrency, because he will use anything to bring us closer to himself.
I feel no condemnation for making a mistake. I know I have another chance to learn. In fact, I’m incredibly grateful I can learn this lesson about trusting God with such a cheap investment! (Hey, maybe I can get still trade up, after all.) If I have to “lose” a few hundred dollars in potential gains in order to learn to actually trust God with my future investments, I have so much good ahead of me. As the late Jim Elliot said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” (If you haven’t read about this man who truly gave everything to follow God, do yourself a favor and invest $2 in your spiritual enrichment. His story is both a challenge and an inspiration.)
Please, ask God where He wants your money. He’s the smartest Person I know. (And I’m 99% sure that you can’t be accused of insider trading if God is the one giving you the tips.)