Entrepreneur and financier Andy Lim shared on how a Christian can be a success inside and out, at a recent Marketplace lunch session.
|CN PHOTO: Michael Chan|
“Recessions and crises are only a wake-up call for Christians,” said Andy Lim, Chairman of private equity firm Tembusu Partners and MoneyWorld Group of Companies, a foreign exchange company with offices in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and New Zealand. Lim is also known as the husband of Lim Hwee Hua, the Member of Parliament, and as the man who spearheaded the Alpha Course to inter-denominational success in Singapore.
Lim (“call me Andy please. Only civil servants call me Mr. Lim”) became a Christian at the age of 15, but it was when he was in the army that he had an encounter with God. “I was on a 10 km run when I collapsed from heat stroke. In my semi-coma as the ambulance was taking me to hospital, I heard God say to me ‘Why are you running away from me?’”
His whole life changed—Lim was so hungry for God he read the whole Bible cover to cover. Two verses that have transformed and molded his value system, said Lim, are Colossians 3:23 and Revelations 3:15-16. The first, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” helped him in the civil service. The second made him realize that “either you’re a true Christian, or you’re not. There is no in-between, no such thing as a nominal Christian.”
Lim and his family have worshiped at St John’s-St Margaret’s Anglican Church for 31 years, and he proudly announces that his son recently got married in the same chapel as he and his wife did.
His humility and candor disarmed the attendees that Tuesday afternoon. After sharing so enthusiastically about his walk with Christ, Lim got down to talking about the volatility of the financial markets.
“What lessons did I learn from the 1998 and 2009 crises?” he pondered briefly. “I think it’s that we have to be totally dependent on God. Pre-crisis, mid-crisis, post-crisis, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.”
Lim shared an experience he had which taught him a precious lesson. He had bought 180 car park lots in July 1997, thinking it was a safe business. But just months later, he found that only 100 lots were being used daily. “All your calculations mean nothing; in the end, only God counts.”
Embrace reality and know your limits, he said. “If you have to cut losses, cut.” Every crisis is a time to go back to basics, said Lim. “In boomtime, we tend to be complacent. During a crisis, that’s when we rethink our priorities. I trust God that He will have a purpose for us. Don’t look at what you’ve lost, look at what you still have, and you’ll be happy.
“What is most important is our relationship with God, then our family, then our work. Family time is important, you need to make time for it,” he advised. “Every year we have a compulsory one-week holiday together as a family, and we make pockets of time, like having dinner together every Sunday.”
Lim shared about his successful partnership with Mrs Lim. “If you find one pearl, that’s it, no need to look already!” he said of his wife. “Have a clear understanding with your spouse. Both cannot cheong (go for it) at the same time. The first 10 years, I concentrated on my businesses and my wife became a homemaker. When my wife went into politics, I made changes to suit her new role. Set your OB markers, then work within them. If you’re too ambitious, then narrow it down.”
Attendee Benjamin Cheng, vice-president of training and development at Amega Global LLC, was particularly impressed with this last point Lim made. “One thing Andy said that was very important was how he and his wife balanced time, how he made sacrifices when his wife went into politics. It’s really about working things out with your family.”