A great life is not built on what you gain, but on what you give your life to accomplish. – John Rinehart; Gospel Patrons
Last week I was given a copy of a little known book on philanthropy. Gospel Patrons by John Rinehart is a long look at the impact, motivations and legacy of some of the most generous people the world has ever seen but never heard of. These are the people behind the people who changed the world.
John Rinehart himself is a rare breed; he holds both a business degree and a Master’s of Divinity. He is a managing elder at a large church in California and has started and overseen a number of ministries. Gospel Patrons is a painstakingly researched look at how some of the most influential movements in church history were both encouraged and financed from behind the scenes by wealthy patrons and spiritual supporters without whom we might never have seen the results or enjoyed the success of the ministries they supported. Rinehart is uniquely gifted to bring us such a book.
The stories themselves are inspiring, we might never have seen an English Bible, a British Reformation or the abolition of slavery had it not been for the patrons that the leaders of each of these movements had. But reading these stories I couldn’t help but lament how WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) centric they were. Could Rinehart not have found examples of Gospel Patronage in other parts of the world as well? Germany during their reformation perhaps, or The Netherlands? A trifling detail I suppose but the message of Gospel Patronage is clear and would not have changed even if he had.
As the quote above so aptly put it, it’s not about you, it’s about what you accomplish. Put another way;
Whether we run a company, lead a department, or answer the phone, our mission is the same: to advance the message that Jesus saves people who are lost in sin. God is not looking for philanthropists who can write big checks but for people who love Him and live to spread the news of His son, Jesus. – John Rinehart; Gospel Patrons
Philanthropy is about the great commission and whether you have a lot of money or not, the mission remains the same.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” [Matthew 28:19-20]
If we have as our aim a passion to obey Jesus and his final command for our time on earth Gospel Patronage becomes more than a vocation, it becomes the air we breathe and the water we drink.
To the best of my knowledge Gospel Patrons is not available in stores or at your local library, for more information or to order a copy visit www.gospelpatronage.com