Acts 9: 26, 27: But his (Saul’s) followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall. When he (Saul) came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles.
Few men held tightly to the rope attached to the basket in which Saul was being lowered. They took the full weight of Saul on their hands, shoulders and legs. They coordinated carefully between them every movement of the rope till the basket rested on the ground and Saul escaped from the conspiracy of death. Little did they know at that point of time about who this person would become and how God will fulfil the words spoken about him “This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel”. They only knew that the man who caused havoc in Jerusalem among those who called on the name of Jesus is now proving convincingly that Jesus is the Messiah.
Angel Investor is a term used in the capital investment world for affluent individuals who provide capital for a business startup. My definition: Angel investors in mission are individuals who in their personal capacity are lead to invest in mission / ministry startups. Angel investing in missions involves more than regular giving to the ministry. It is personal long term commitment & engagement to the brother or sister to journey with them through the development of the ministry. It is a commitment to face difficulties, challenges, uncertainties, rejoicing, persecutions, disappointments, victories& failures……everything together. It is a commitment to put the need of the mission above personal plans and it includes significant monetary support. It is accountability to one another – to pray, to encourage, to correct, to guide, to warn each other. It is a commitment to God to obey what He tells to do for this ministry. It is so personal that it is on one’s heart every day to think, pray and intercede for this ministry.
When Paul was extended the right hand of fellowship (Gal 2:6) by Peter, James and John, they were effectively saying to him, “We give you the authority, the honour, to partner or unite with us in the Gospel.” In a similar manner there is a “right hand of fellowship” between the investor and the mission partner. It is a partnership for the gospel of Jesus Christ which is built on trust and long term commitment.
God will send out workers into the harvest field and some of them will be new mission startups. They only will have a vision and calling but fully trusting in God for the realization of this vision. They need monetary support, fellowship, encouragement and people to rally behind them in their labour in the harvest field.
In the year 1999 I was approached to support a missionary and his family who were moving to a new location to start a mission work. I was led to start supporting this family and thus began an exciting journey of investing in missions. I had no clue on how this will evolve and develop. The only assurance I had was that I was obeying God and God will work out the plan & details.In the last 15 years this mission has brought the message of salvation and hope to people who have never heard the gospel. God Almighty blessed the work resulting in several thousand people being added into the kingdom of God, several churches established in locations where there were none, several hundred groups of believers meeting in homes every week, education to the needy children, healing to the sick, social outreach work, social upliftment …….All of this to the glory of Jesus. During this period God gave me the privilege to continue to be a part of this ministry and allowed me to experience His mighty and powerful way of fulfilling His will on this earth. Over these years I have learned the following truths:
God is the owner of all things:
Psalm 50:9-12: I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine. If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it.
Psalm 24:1: The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;
He is the full owner of all the things I have today and will have in the days to come. It is not because of my hard work, connections or mental acumen that has allowed me to have them but it is purely a gift from God. His expectation is that as a faithful steward I will use these gifts as he commands me to. It is His and He has the decision rights. He is able to take the little and multiply it many times.
The Day of the Lord is REAL; Eternity is REAL
2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.
The day of our Lord’s return will happen for sure and if He comes today then all my physical belongings & investments on this earth will be burned up. Therefore I should invest in things will last forever. Math 6:20 & 21 “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Love for God The Father, God The Son and God the Holy Spirit
John 14:21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.’
My love for God is the primary reason for my obedience to God and as a result of my obedience I want to remain in His love all the days of my life. It is not out of fear, a sense of duty, an obligation, a bargain of give &receive that I should obey God. If I truly “ Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” as Jesus said then giving to God and His people gets easier.
Love for my family – brothers and sisters in Christ
James 2:15-16 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?
The demographics of this missionary family were exactly like mine – size of family, ages of adults and children. Hence when I heard the requested monetary support I was shocked. This family total expense budget for a month was the amount of money I was spending on just milk, eggs and basic provisions for my family every month. There was nothing extra for education of children, medical benefits, house rent, telephone bills and vehicle allowance which I was enjoying in my corporate job. If my answers were – God will provide, I will pray for your needs, have faith……..Am I truly loving my neighbor as myself as per Mark 12:31? Is this the love God has poured into my heart through His Holy Spirit Rom 5:5?
This is 100% safe investment as I am giving to God who is the owner of all things and the only person whom I can fully trust. In this world this is the only financial instrument (giving back to God) which is zero risk.
Prov 30:7-9;‘Two things I ask of you, Lord; do not refuse me before I die: keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches,but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, “Who is the Lord?” Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonour the name of my God.
I realize that the term living modestly can have a wide range of interpretation in the context of different cultures. Seeking God in :- spending decisions, differentiating wants versus needs; seeking different alternatives; what is the right choice; timing etc have always yielded the best results and a modest lifestyle.
Few years back I started seeking God for another opportunity to invest in missions and through His divine appointments brought the right individual into my life. God gave me the ability to recognize the grace given to this brother and so was able to extend again the right hand of fellowship.
I believe there are many similar needs in this world. Will Christian brothers and sisters step up to the role of “Angel Investors for missions”?
By Joseph Oommen