Journal Entry

Akeel Sachak

Investment Banker

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Illustration by John-Mark Warkentin

Journal Entry

Akeel Sachak

Investment Banker

10 short sound bites from Akeel about his thoughts and discoveries on living out his calling as a Gospel Patron.


10 short sound bites from Akeel about his thoughts and discoveries on living out his calling as a Gospel Patron.


01

Hello, I’m…

My name is Akeel Sachak. I live in Pyrford, a small village in Surrey on the outskirts of London. My wife and soulmate Joy and I have four wonderful, bright, beautiful, believing, almost-adult children. I have been an investment banker at Rothschild for the last 30 years and now run the Global Consumer Investment Banking practice for the firm, which means I spend too much of my life on airplanes crisscrossing the world. I come from a Muslim family background and became a Christian just before sitting for my law finals at Oxford in 1985, a journey which started when someone challenged me to ask myself whether not believing in God actually required more faith than believing in God.

02

Giving

Giving became a lot more liberating when I structured my income in a way that diverted a part of it into a charitable trust where I could no longer retrieve it. Then, giving became more about where to give, not if to give. What I find incredibly exhilarating is to observe the way in which my giving enables the proclamation and dissemination of biblical knowledge, understanding and teaching. I am amazed that a modest amount of money can be transformational in enabling some of the ministries I support to go much further and faster than they could ever imagine doing otherwise. I am convinced that a lack of financial resources is a major obstacle to a bigger and better understanding of God’s word in the world today. That’s why we need more Gospel Patrons!

03

God’s Generosity

God has been supremely generous to me in sending his son Jesus Christ to earth to take my sin on himself and thereby enable me to be reconciled to God. This for me was the greatest revelation about what it is to be a Christian. There is no generosity to which any of us can aspire which can match God’s generosity. All our generosity is as stewards of the resources that God has entrusted to us. I think it is essential that we see whatever resources we have as resources we have been entrusted with to fulfil God’s purposes in this world and not ours to do with as we please. I don’t think for a moment I would be where I am in terms of wealth and success unless God had willed it and if he had willed it, nothing I could have done would have frustrated it. Equally if he had not willed it, nothing I could have done would have allowed it. Nothing I do or attain is possible apart from God. I find it healthy to remind myself of this constantly.

04

Dangers of Wealth

I think the greatest danger of wealth and success is that it can subtly seduce us into elevating our own worth in our own eyes and forgetting that God is ruler of our lives. Wealth can lead us to a dangerous unreliance on God. It can diminish our view of God and lead us to make idols out of wealth and success, ultimately leading us away from God and separation from him. I have often found myself succumbing to the temptation to see myself as better than others because of my wealth even if I don’t consciously admit it to myself. Also, success and material things can preoccupy our lives. I can easily make an idol out of my work. The time commitment I need to make to my work has left me without the time I want to spend in teaching myself and being taught to better know and understand Scripture. I sometimes feel a bit stunted in my understanding of my faith relative to where I feel I should be after 30 years as a Christian.

05

Treasuring Jesus

By reading God’s word and hearing Bible teachers explain Scripture I have come to understand that our lives in this world are to be lived in light of eternity with God. If this life were all that there is, wealth and success would be what’s most important. But because eternity is real, Jesus is above all things. Once our focus becomes Jesus and honoring him, then wealth and success like everything in this life become about him rather than about us. Life becomes about how I use the wealth and success that I have been granted for his purposes. He has entrusted it to me for a specific purpose of his. I grasped this intellectually early on in my life as a Christian, but internalising it and walking the talk has been and continues to be a work in progress. I now see that wealth and success can be resources for helping us to glorify God.

06

I Wish I Knew…

When I was 25 I wish I knew then as clearly as I do now that my wealth was not a measure of my self-worth. I wish I knew that it did not belong to me, but belonged to God. It would have saved me from a lot arrogance and conceit in my dealings with others. At 25 I had been a Christian for five years but all this was not yet clear for me. I wish I understood as clearly then as I do now that I am a steward of all my wealth on God’s behalf. I think until relatively recently I saw God being entitled to a small share of my wealth and struggled with the idea that it could be as much as 10%. I saw most of it as mine rather than it all being his and that I am a steward of it on his behalf. Coming to the realisation that it was all his was a major departure point for me in my giving.

07

My Routine

I am not sure I have a daily habit beyond reading the Bible (and even that is not daily) and prayer (I do manage that daily) that I would say has been especially powerful for me in my walk with God. I don’t know if you call it a daily routine, but I am blessed with a family where we discuss/argue about the learnings of Scripture and their application to our lives. I can’t remember the last time a day passed when a discussion with my wife or any of my children did not involve a discussion about some aspect of Scripture. This has been a great privilege for me in terms of continuously stress-testing and internalising everything that Scripture teaches us.

08

Giving Decisions

I do feel called to unambiguously prioritise word ministry in my giving versus mercy ministry. I suppose I take the view that the greatest need of my fellow man is to discover the means by which he can be saved for eternity, which is what word ministry is about. Relieving poverty, suffering and hunger are not ultimately going to meet my fellow man’s greatest need, though I recognise that compassion is also something we need to be ready to show to our fellow man in the way Jesus did himself in his earthly ministry. However, I more often than not find it hard to choose mercy ministry when there is a competing word ministry call on my giving. I also take the view that there are lots of non-Christians who will feel called to support mercy ministries while the potential givers for word ministry are much more scarce and this undoubtedly informs my thinking.

09

My Mission

I believe God has placed me where I am with the resources he has given me and the connectivity he has given me here and now to glorify and honour him. I used to think that I was a kind of “sleeper cell for God” and would only need to attend to my ministry calling once I finished with my investment-banking career. But now I realise that I am not in training for something else and that this is where God has called me to serve him and the people among whom he has called me to serve. So I don’t see retiring from my day job to do something else as an option in the near term.

10

3 Words

It is not three words, but these words from 2 Timothy 4:7 I would hope to be remembered by: “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.”

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