Rothschild 'Rainmaker'

Eccentric banker ... or living in the real world?

Akeel Sachak is Global Head of Consumer advisory at Rothschild and a member of the firm’s investment banking management committee. He has been at Rothschild for 28 years and is the house investment banker to major corporates worldwide.

Growing up, I viewed Jesus Christ as a good man at best, for whom things had not turned out so well.

If pressed, I would probably have said that, as a more recent Abrahamic faith, my birth religion – Islam – had transcended Christianity.

While an undergraduate at Oxford, I was challenged by discussions with a Christian to confront the existence of God based on the evidence of the created world around us. To be honest, I only engaged for the first time because I thought I was being asked out on a date by a girl who, it turned out, wanted rather to challenge my faith position.

As the Apostle Paul puts it, in his letter to the church in Rome,

His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly perceived ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So [we] are without excuse.

I began to understand the claims about God in the Bible, something to which I had not previously given a moment’s thought, despite considering myself to be an intellectually inquisitive person.

And the more I looked into those claims, the more I was persuaded of their truth. I am not sure how I ever imagined that there might be multiple legitimate faiths, when even a cursory examination of their respective claims made it clear they were mutually exclusive. Moreover, I was struck that Jesus was a real historical figure, better authenticated than most before, then or since (including Mohammed).

I encountered a faith system that dealt with my real world experience of human nature, and discovered that my relationship with God depended not on how good I could be, but entirely on what God has done for me.

Most importantly, I came to understand that Jesus was God entering his own creation. I understood that a perfect and holy God demanded perfect justice; and understood that Jesus was essential if we are to enjoy a relationship with God. I understood that, through Jesus’ death and resurrection, God has met his requirement for justice for my transgressions against him. Jesus died instead of me. As John says in his account of the life of Jesus,

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

My life since I became a committed Christian has been both easier and more difficult.

More difficult because my parents misread it as a profound rejection of themselves, creating a rupture in my relationship with them that has not yet healed.
More difficult because, to speak about a living faith in Jesus as God and His living word, is profoundly counter-cultural and eccentric in the financial world of the City.

It has been easier because I have clarity about why I am in this world and where I am headed. I never have to experience the desolation of asking, ‘what’s it all for?’
Easier because it gives me a framework for living my life that hopefully helps me to be the kind of husband, father, son, friend, colleague and banker that I should be. When honouring God is the catalyst for behaviour, the choices become a whole lot easier.

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