A Call to Invest in Others
First YA ToGather of 2023
We all make investment decisions daily. It could be the investment of money in stocks, in food and exercise for health, of time and effort in a job; we always want investments of any kind with the highest yield. We choose stocks that we think will potentially reap the greatest return. We try the easiest and fastest methods to get fit and healthy in the least time possible. We look for jobs with the highest offer, benefits, and fulfilment.
But if we think about it, these investments are predominantly self-centered. It’s always about “what’s in it for me?”
While the investments mentioned above are not wrong on their own, they could potentially be wrong in our Christian faith if we focus excessively on them instead of the things which God, our Creator, values.
On Saturday morning of 18th February 2023, our newly minted Pastor Michael Loon shared with us on how we can be more like Jesus by investing in others, not just in stocks and bonds. He used the example of Mordecai Ham, an evangelist who may be unfamiliar to most of us but played a role in the formative years of Billy Graham, a well-known figure in the evangelical Christian community. Looking back at the Bible in the same manner, Jesus' focus on the twelve disciples shows the power of investing in individuals.
The session then shifted its focus to our church members from the Chinese Ministry, Chris and Alan, where they shared how one’s investment in another person’s life reaped great fruits. Chris is running an interior design company, where he hired Alan back in 2021 before Alan came to accept Christ. When Chris hired Alan, he had high hopes for him to be of great assistance to Chris and the company. Through some of their conversations, Chris decided to invite Alan to join some of the church’s meetings like Life Group and 3Sixteen. Whilst Alan, at that time an Atheist, internally resisted the whole idea of God, he continued to attend those meetings anyway out of obligation to his employer.
Alan later went through a difficult time and resigned from his job, which left Chris disappointed. Despite this, Chris continued to offer his friendship by inviting Alan to church meetings, and sharing the gospel with him. Others in the group also spoke to Alan about God, which led him to accept Jesus as his Lord and Saviour. Chris continued to disciple and support Alan in his spiritual journey that later transformed Alan's life. Alan also rejoined Chris's company, and the two of them started evangelising and praying for their colleagues, which sparked their colleagues' interest in God.
From Chris and Alan’s story, we can see that investing in a few, or even in one person, can receive rich dividends. The young adults were encouraged to have the boldness to share the gospel and that investing in others should play a very essential part in our Christian lives, by relying on God’s wisdom and strength.
As a symbolic call to action, everyone was given one Gashapon ball each with pieces of paper in them to write the names of the people we each want to invest in within the year. We praise and thank God that out of 69 attendees, 55 responded, representing 141 potential believers to invest in. The Gashapon balls were then placed in a container where we stood around to pray for the names represented in those pieces of paper.
The takeaway message was to be relational, intentional, and incremental (to start small), and we were reminded that the essence of being a follower of Jesus is to be convinced that life is not about us. Matthew 16:24-26 says, “Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?”