I once stayed in a church called The Winnipeg Centre Vineyard (The Vineyard for short) when I visited Winnipeg. John Rademaker was one of the founders of The Vineyard and the best example to me that a rich man can enter the kingdom of heaven. We’re all familiar with that verse in Matthew 19.
Who was John though? John was a professional entrepreneur for 40 years. He was at the top of his game, having founded 3 businesses and managing people and customers from 1960 to 1995. This man was living the life, until he took an abrupt exit from the corporate world...

I was engaged in a conversation at one time where the group was discussing what is worth spending our money on? What are good jobs to have that will provide enough cash? How much money should we be saving and how much can we have as personal spending money? From this, more questions arose: What should we find valuable? What defines enough cash? What are we really saving our money for?
I soon realized where this conversation was going, and I posed the question, how much of your money do you really earn? Surely there is an element of earning your cash, but is it possible that the money we possess is all one big gift?
Too often we make our money and then decide what we want to use our money for and how we can benefit and earn even more for ourselves. Sound a bit much? ‘No, that’s not me’ you say. I’m not accusing anyone, I merely want to point out a fact that many forget too easily, myself included.

The money you claim is yours... isn’t yours?

Does our money not belong to God? Is everything we possess his? He’s provided us with our money, our house, our food, despite whether we’ve necessarily earned it or not. Specifically here, God blesses us with this thing called cash, and in return, don’t you think He expects us to use it wisely?
I don’t understand why I think I can do whatever I choose with my money; I wonder if it is even technically mine. God has entrusted this money to me, but not to do with whatever I please. To entrust, is to pass ownership of something to someone else, suggesting that it was His to begin with. Not only do we need to consciously recognize whose money we are spending, but wouldn’t it also be a good idea to make sure that the rightful owner is alright with it.
If God gives you His money, He’s got a reason for it, agreed?
If you want money and He doesn’t provide it to you, He’s got a reason for that too, right?
It’s His money and He can do with it what He chooses. And more often than not, He chooses the right things to invest His money into...

Ecclesiastics 5:10 says, “The one who loves money will never be satisfied with money, he who loves wealth will never be satisfied with his income.”
Why do we waste so much money? We’ll go out and buy fast food while we have perfectly great food already back home. We’ll spend $10 a week on the latest movie. We’ll upgrade our shoe, hat or purse collection to match our newest outfit or the latest fashion. Whose money is this again? Is it ours to do with what we want? If you ripped your one pair of jeans and have no replacement pants, then sure, buy a new pair for yourself. If you haven’t had your favourite chocolate bar in a while, then sure, treat yourself to something nice. God has entrusted you with this money, and you’ve got to be wise with your purchases. Do you need this or that? Do you think God shared His money with you so that you could buy yourself five $20 CDs so that you could get the sixth for free? That’s something for you to talk with Him about.

1 John 3:17 tells us that “Whoever has the world’s possessions and sees his fellow Christian in need and shuts off his compassion against him, how can the love of God reside in such a person?”
Why do we tend to hold onto our cash so tightly? Is it the security we feel it offers us; is it this sense of earning that prevents us from giving it up, what is it? When it comes to helping others by giving them money, why do we think so hard about it or try to avoid the thought completely? And I’m not just talking about flicking a quarter into a man’s Styrofoam cup. But how about helping out the lady in front of you who doesn’t have enough money to cover the groceries that she chose, or spotting the guy in line the extra change he needs to buy his coffee? Or buying lunch for the really annoying classmate who forgot their food, despite how much you can’t stand them?
It comes down to the convenience of the situation, the relationship you’ve established with the individual, and back to this question of whether they’ve earned the cash. But who cares about all of that? Why do we have this checklist; that if 4 out of 5 boxes are checked, then we will help someone financially. But it’s not our money, remember? This is God’s money that we’re holding on to, and He’s given it to us for a reason: not to bless ourselves all the time, but to bless others too. And if the opportunity arises to give our money away for the better of someone else, I think that is exactly what God would want us to do.

But what if you’re tight on cash? You need that $20 to buy this, or you were saving it for that, or you’re a student and you need all the money you can get just to survive? This may all be true, but like I said before, God will provide us with the money we need. If he wants to give us His money, then He will. But we must step out in faith, that through honouring God by sharing with others what He has shared with us, He will bless us in return in whatever way He sees fit.

1 Timothy 6:10 says, “For the love of money is the root of all evils. Some people in reaching for it have strayed from the faith and stabbed themselves with many pains.”
John Rademaker is such a powerful example to me. God entrusted millions of dollars to John over the span of 30 years. There were bound to be times where John spoiled himself throughout those years and was not wise with his cash. But what did He end up doing? John stopped in his tracks one day and thought to himself, “Why am I making all of this money? When I die, I can’t take this monetary wealth with me.” And from that point on John decided to listen to the Holy Spirit in taking this money and using it to serve others. John invested this money into renovating an old downtown Winnipeg warehouse into a church. This beautiful building serves as a place for worship, but it is also serves meals, a daycare, hosts guest groups, has meeting rooms, and the second floor now serves as a home for people off the streets who want to get clean from the drugs and lifestyle they are currently in. From my understanding, John continues to invest the money God has given him into buying more nearby buildings and renovating them into better homes for current and future residents. John has taught me that I can be rich and still serve God wholeheartedly despite how difficult that may be for others. He has taught me that God may give some people just enough money to get by, and give others millions of dollars. In the end, the money still belongs to God and we must be willing to hear His voice telling us how we should be spending it.

Matthew 6:24 says, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

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