Psalm 40:13 “Please, Lord, come rescue me! Come quickly, Lord, and help me.” Last year, I made my first investment into a company whose team I had never met. In the midst of the covid pandemic, I had no chance to travel to see them in India. Months later, I still haven’t met them, but I’m on a weekly call with the CEO and I somehow feel closer to him than many people I’ve spent a lot of time with in person. We had our first board meeting a few weeks back and as usual I asked how we as investors could help him. “As you can see, the business is performing well, but we have to do three times the orders with half the staff because everyone has covid. Our friends and family are dying all around us. If there’s one thing you can do, it’d be to help us find vaccines for the team. We really, really, really need some vaccines.” I consider myself a pretty resourceful person, and have been able to help my CEOs with some pretty desperate requests. But I’ve never heard a founder beg for something the way I’ve heard him beg for those vaccines. I made some calls after the board meeting, but it’s an incredibly dire situation, and that makes me feel desperate too. Usually I discount media accounts as overly sensationalist, but this is one case where I’m convicted it’s much worse than anything you can see in the news. This founder is a very devout atheist, and one small ray of hope is that covid has opened a window for me to share my testimony with him. I’ve started sending him prayers of protection, with the footnote “I know you don’t believe what I believe, but I think given the circumstances you’ll take what you can!” Today he wrote back “I can’t thank you enough for keeping us in your prayers.” It’d be preposterous to propose that tens of millions of people catching a life threatening disease was worth one person receiving prayer, but I do believe that what the enemy intends for evil, God always uses for good. Lord, today I’m really trying hard to see things as you see them. I know your heart goes out to the millions of desperate families in India. I know you feel their pain, just like when you wept with Martha at the tomb of Lazarus. But I also know that the name of Covid bows down to the name of Jesus. We know that the end is good, and if it’s not good, it’s not the end yet. Bless our brothers and sisters in India. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Revelation 2:4 “You have left your first love.” Today I read that Bill and Melinda Gates will be divorcing after 27 years of marriage. I’ve never met them personally, but am a big fan of the philanthropic work they’ve done through the years. I know countless people look up to them, so I’m saddened by the news. It reminded me of a discussion I had recently with someone from our church. This brother is an incredible man of God, and I can honestly say that Solomon’s Porch Singapore might not be around if he hadn’t been involved from day 1. I sensed a tinge of dissatisfaction about Sunday service in one of his comments, so we had a bit of a conversation about it. “Bro, there are moments when I share the same sentiment, but in some recent conversations I realized that it’s actually the older members who have most of the issues. We’ve been around longer, so we are more likely to lose the freshness of it all. Our church is growing, so it’s clear that something is working and newer members are getting a lot of value from our service. To me that’s an indication that it’s not the church, it’s the condition of our hearts that we must examine.” I relayed that the same is true of any fast growing startup. Members of the original gang who manage to stay on can become incredible culture carriers for the org. But the majority of them struggle to find their place, spending more time reminiscing on “the good ol’ days” and eventually departing for what they hope to be greener pastures. Keeping that first love with your spouse, with your company, with your church, and even with your God requires intentional effort. But I’ve found that when I fight for that first love with Jesus, my first love with everything else falls in line. When I’m close to God, I move in peace despite the most threatening of work circumstances. When I’m close to God, I cry for joy in the most basic of church services. When I’m close to God, I’m overwhelmed with thanksgiving no matter how unreasonable my wife is. (She’s never unreasonable. That’s just a hypothetical situation.) Lord, when my heart pursues you, you pursue me 1000 times more. And when you pursue me, I am overcome with passion for everything and everyone around me. I desire that first love today, and invite you to bring me back into that place. I also pray covering over Bill and Melinda Gates in what must be a difficult time for them. May you use these circumstances to somehow let them experience a deeper revelation of your love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Psalm 37:1 “Don’t worry about the wicked or envy those who do wrong. For like grass, they soon fade away. Like spring flowers, they soon wither.” A few weeks back I joined a Clubhouse room about investing at the intersection of purpose and profit. The general consensus was that it is indeed possible to make financial returns while having a positive impact on the world. But one friend conveyed that we must be aware that there is often a cost associated with doing the right thing. There will be times where helping the world comes at the expense of helping ourselves. I replied “well I think that is true in the short term, but it depends on what you believe about the world in the long term. In my faith we’re taught to have an eternal view, so I believe that doing the right thing will benefit others AND myself over time. My experience has very much supported this perspective.”
As they say, "what goes around, comes around." In Psalm 37, King David reminds listeners that the wicked may prosper in the short term, but “like spring flowers, they soon wither.” Since starting Amasia I have seen other VC firms sprout and get more traction than us in a shorter period of time. To be completely honest, at times that has brought out feelings of envy in me. But each time, I took it back to God and He reminded me that I just need to focus on doing the right thing, on helping others and putting Him first. If I get that right, then He always provides. It feels like we’re hitting an inflection point at Amasia, and some of those firms have experienced catastrophic and very visible downfalls. While their founders didn’t seem the most Christ-like at times, I wouldn’t say they are evil people. I also need to check my heart because schadenfreude doesn’t come from a Christ-like place either. So I’ve prayed for restoration for these folks, and I will do what I can to help them return to the industry. But all this to say, by this point I’ve learned that I just need to trust in God and have an eternal perspective. Doing the right thing benefits God, others and in the long term… myself as well.
Lord, I just want to see things as you see them. Yes we are to count the cost in following you. But over the long term, the benefits far outweigh the costs. There is no comparison. Thank you for building a solid foundation in my company, in my family, and in my ministry. I’m so excited to be a part of the work you are already doing. In Jesus’ name, Amen.