When 19 year-old Mark Zuckerberg approached his friend Joe Green to become a business partner of a nascent social networking company called TheFaceBook, Green declined. He feared raising his father’s ire about hitching his career to the maverick teenage wunderkind who had recently been chastised by the Harvard disciplinary committee for sundry illicit programming shenanigans. The deal included a significant share in the company in exchange for Green’s part-time commitment to help with programming and design.
Green now wryly calls that decision his “billion dollar mistake.”
With the 20/20 vision of hindsight, we know that anyone with the prescience to secure even a single share early on in a promising company like Facebook would not be second guessing any sacrifice they endured to obtain that preternaturally profitable commodity. And yet any earthly dividend we could gain pales in comparison to the eternal weight of glory that awaits those who have sacrificed for God’s kingdom enterprise. Many, however, demur on the decision and forego the coveted opportunity to be a part of God’s expanding kingdom work.
When the “Particular Baptist Society for the Propagation of the Gospel among the Heathen” was formed on October 2, 1792, the inauspicious sum of 13£ 2s 6d was raised in the form of promissory notes (checks) and deposited into a snuff-box. The collection was meant to be the seed that would germinate into a fund to support a volunteer missionary to move abroad. The donations were the financial rope that the Society gripped, as William Carey descended into the dark pit of India.
It was an exciting prospect–to fund the first evangelistic venture of its sort in Modern church memory. And those with eternal perspective saw it for what it was, a fortuitous opportunity to buy a share in the most profitable work imaginable, namely investing in God’s mission to save the lost.
One of the lowest amounts was promised by a young, penniless student named William Staughton. Determined not to let his impecunity rob him of the opportunity to become a founding member of the society, he borrowed the money and worked to pay it off.
Later he would say, “I rejoice over that half-guinea more than over all I have given my life besides.” And for good reason—that sacrificial contribution assured young Staughton a mention in the annals of British history, a stake in the birth of world missions, and unimaginable return on investment in the form of eternal reward in Heaven.
Matt 19:29-30 “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”