Journal Entry

Ben Stone

Portfolio Manager

Illustration by John-Mark Warkentin

Journal Entry

Ben Stone

Portfolio Manager

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


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


01

Hello, I’m…

Hello, I’m Benjamin, married to Melanie. We have four children, one girl, three lively boys, and an even more lively two year-old Labrador. We live in Sevenoaks, just south of London, and I go into the city for a break on Monday mornings. I have worked in the city for 20 years and manage a number of different equity portfolios. At university I spent more time trying to disprove Christianity than actually doing my degree. Wonderfully and mercifully I failed. After 3 years of arrogant and hostile opposition to Christians there, God opened my blind eyes to the fact that I am a great sinner but Jesus is an even greater Saviour.

02

Giving

Giving is a real joy and a real blessing, and I certainly feel like we have received more from it than we have actually given over the years. It is a joy to be able to fund those who are gifted for the ministry that we are passionate about, more than we are ourselves. It is a source of great thanksgiving to be able to support a number of key works and see those works multiplying in a way that would not be possible if I were trying to do them myself. Another great joy is being in growing relationships with those we support. They stay with us when they’re back in the UK and we catch up on the phone or via email. They help keep us on track in our own walk with Jesus. Often their example challenges us, encourages us, holds us accountable, and even rebukes us.

03

God’s Generosity

God’s generosity is simply overwhelming. And I only dimly see it now. I can’t wait to fully comprehend the full extent of his generosity in heaven! That God should give his most precious possession, using the payment of his blood, to redeem someone as wretched and unworthy as myself in order that I can enjoy every spiritual blessing in Christ now and one day be physically in his presence for ever, is as I say simply overwhelming.

04

Dangers of Wealth

Wealth brings with it a temptation to become more proud, to be seduced into thinking that somehow I have earned my wealth rather than seeing it is a gift from God. I can be tempted to think that somehow I am better than others. Other people can also put you up on a pedestal when you have been successful. And that isn’t just non-Christians. Christians can also be tempted to puff you up, either because their thinking is wrong or because consciously or subconsciously they want to benefit from your giving. It can be very easy to be caught up in all this. Pride is a very great enemy. Wealth can also become the object for my reliance or trust. I can somehow think that my future is more secure because of it. It can make me less prayerful in decision-making. Multiplying assets can also be very time-consuming and a real distraction from matters of eternity. I could go on…

05

Treasuring Jesus

God helps me treasure Jesus over wealth and success by continuously showing me my sin, humbling me, and highlighting my need of a Saviour - and what a wonderful Saviour I have. When I have been running around in my own strength, at my own speed, and rushing into situations without due thought and prayer the Lord brings me up short.

06

I Wish I Knew…

When I was 25 I wish I had seen how giving is a real personal partnership. I would have benefited from the vision of really getting behind and backing gifted and gospel-minded men and women. I wasn’t thinking about how to reach the next generation of believers or how to train up future Bible teachers and preachers. There’s also a responsibility to know the support is doing more good than harm. It can be a very time consuming discipline at times to stay on top of what we give to, the direction the works are going, and the ministry’s financial situation. It can also be hard saying no to worthy causes to make sure our giving goes to the best ones.

07

My Routine

Two daily habits have been essential for me over the years. First, I daily listen to God by reading his word, which is sharper than a double-edged sword and which teaches, rebukes, corrects and trains me. Second, I daily speak to God in prayer, by specifically coming to the foot of the cross. I remind myself of how great my sin is, how great God’s anger at my sin is, and just how great and wonderfully perfect the blood of Jesus is to satisfy God’s wrath. The cross is where we see God’s love most clearly. It humbles, liberates and motivates us to live for God and for his glory.

08

Giving Decisions

As Christians we have been uniquely commissioned and commanded by the eternal God and King to ‘make disciples’ of all nations. To preach, teach, explain and live out the gospel. The world is never going to give to ‘make disciples’ of Jesus Christ. This is our job. A material chunk of our giving goes to work amongst the poor and persecuted church. To care for people’s physical needs just isn’t enough and our greatest focus should be on their spiritual needs. People’s eternal well-being is at stake. If I care for someone now, but have no regard for their eternal well-being by not sharing the gospel with them, I question whether I truly love them. Our support for the poor and persecuted church is specifically works where the gospel is being shared faithfully, clearly, and consistently. We focus on sustaining those dear brothers and sisters, but even more so preparing them to rejoice with us around the throne of the Lamb forever in heaven.

09

My Mission

My mission is to reach and train up the next generation of believers. The Church is only two generations from dying out so the majority of our giving goes to evangelistic and training works amongst youths and students. Catch a life young, train them up in God’s word and priorities, and God willing they will have a lifetime of fruitful ministry and service ahead of them.

10

3 Words

Three words to be remembered by… I just hope when others look at my life they see a sinner who trusted in a much greater Saviour, someone very ordinary, mediocrely gifted, an extremely blunt tool, but one that was used by God’s grace to make a difference. And if that encourages someone, somewhere to be more focused on Jesus and the gospel and to take a few risks for his name’s sake with their own personal evangelism, decision-making, and giving I shall give God great praise.

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