Sometimes as business people, we can feel like second rate Christians. The Church often displays those ‘in ministry’ without emphasizing the role of those whose call is outside the confines of traditional ministry opportunities.
In John Rinehart’s book Gospel Patrons, a gospel patron is defined as someone who is generously involved and personally engaged in spreading the gospel (Rinehart, 2013). A gospel patron uses their time and resources to advance the kingdom of God through the every day practice of generosity.
So how are those two things related?
The point is that all of us have busy, intense lives. We are all swept up in this crazy world and so quickly forget the purpose behind our actions. And we disqualify ourselves.
We take one glance in the mirror or at the calendar and say “I don’t have time or energy or ability to change the world.” So we proceed through each day, making the same decisions and wondering why we don’t get different results. Why we feel so purposeless.
Here is the truth: we aren’t gripped. To understand what being gripped means read this quote from Gospel Patrons:
People who make a difference in the world are not people who have mastered a lot of things. They are people who have been mastered by a very few things that are very, very great. If you want your life to count, you don’t have to have high I.Q. and you don’t have to have a high E.Q.; you don’t have to be smart; you don’t have to have good looks; you don’t have to be from a good family or from a good school. You just have to know a few basic, simple, glorious, majestic, obvious, unchanging, eternal things, and be gripped by them and be willing to lay down your life for them. Which is why anybody in this crowd can make a worldwide difference, because it isn’t you; it’s what your gripped with (Rinehart, 2013).
So what are you gripped with? What inspires you? What basic, simple, glorious eternal things capture your attention and leave you speechless?
And perhaps a more important question, when was the last time you were gripped with something? The problem is that most of us have forgotten what it feels like to be gripped. Our busy lives with family, friends, responsibilities and work leave us drained rather than inspired.
What would happen if we knew our ‘ministry’ was being fulfilled everyday even in the most mundane activities? What if our careers and our lives were stepping stones to the things we feel passionately about?
This is the utter simplicity of being a gospel patron. At its heart, it is merely responding to the things that grip us and being gripped so passionately that we willingly give of our time, money and resources. When what grips us fuels where we spend, why we make money and how we interact with others we are reminding ourselves of our purpose in God’s kingdom.
Today I want to urge you not to disqualify yourself. Your income, success, background, mistakes or upbringing can never separate you from God’s love and His purpose for your life. His money is a tool which is endowed to each of us for the purpose of bringing His kingdom to Earth. Go get gripped, and when you come back make sure you send us your stories!
Mercedes van Noppen is a writer, second year university student and daughter of David and Rebecca van Noppen. She enjoys sharing her parents quirky financial stories wherever she goes!