In 2010 an Arizona music fan sold his prized Air Guitar on eBay for $5.50. In spite of the fact that the seller made it quite clear that the buyer would end up with absolutely nothing, there were several bids for the non-existent instrument. Once the winning bid was accepted, a package containing air and a certificate of authenticity was despatched to the lucky buyer.

Apparently, as of 6th November, £11,798.03 would buy one bitcoin, or the same amount of pounds sterling could buy around 2680 air guitars. Mind you, those figures fade into insignificance compared to the near 900 billion pounds, which the Bank of England will have printed off for Government bonds for no more than the cost of ink and paper. It does tend to make one want to question just what the Bank of England mean by their statement on all notes of the realm that “I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of …whatever value a note is designated as”. I have never heard of anyone going into the Bank of England and demanding an appropriate amount in exchange for the piece of paper they hold in their hand, but I am pretty certain that they would come away with the equivalent of a few air guitars and a note of authenticity.

We all realise that earthly treasure – in whatever shape or form it may come – is illusory. There is an old story of a rich man who sought to negotiate with God about taking his earthly treasure with him when he died. The man was so persistent, that in the end God said he would allow it. For the rest of his life the man put all his wealth into large gold bars, and on his death, it was placed in a wheelbarrow and buried with him. Arriving in heaven pushing his wheelbarrow, he reported at the heavenly gates to the angel on duty. The angel was bemused and puzzled by the man and his barrow, so he phoned up his boss and said “ Can you come and give me a hand please, there is a guy just turned up with a load of paving slabs?”

That is why Jesus explained to his followers about the need to lay up their treasure in heaven because that is the only safe place to allow your heart to become attached to things. Heavenly treasure is actually no more tangible than earthly treasure: it is not possible to carry it around in a purse or to invest it in a high street branch of the Bank of Heaven. The big difference between earthly treasure and heavenly treasure is not in the apparent solidness of the one compared to the other, but in the reliability of the one who makes the promise of authenticity. Heavenly treasure is no more based on solid evidence of the ‘bird in hand variety’ than are air guitars, bitcoins or Bank of England promissory notes. Heavenly treasure is entirely dependent upon the reliability of the word of God – we have it by faith or we do not have it at all.

We all have to make investment choices at some level and there are no fixed rules on the subject. These may include purchasing an air guitar or some Government bonds, giving to this person or investing in that charity and the decision-making will be part of our maturing process. The thing to remember is that everything – whether earthly or heavenly – is based on promises, and generally it is better to have confidence in the one making the promise than in the attractiveness or otherwise of the thing promised.

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