What if God gives you more money so that you can increase your standard of giving not your standard of living? Not only does this sound like a cliché but to most people this sounds ridiculous. When we get more money we assume we should spend it on ourselves. Maybe…possibly…we might…sometimes ask God if He has other purposes…for a small percentage of it. What if we started with the assumption that God gave us that money to pass on to someone else? What if it was our impulse to ask God if we might use it on ourselves?
These are some of the basic questions asked by Randy Alcorn in his book Money, Possessions and Eternity. Alcorn confronts the consumeristic spirit of our age and dares to question how we use our money. The scriptures couldn’t be clearer: all of our money belongs to God. He gives it and we are His managers. We are to use His money in a way that brings Him pleasure. In so doing, we are laying up treasure in heaven.
You will not automatically embrace everything he says. You will find yourself squirming on most pages. But I believe that Alcorn presents a thoroughly biblical perspective. In fact, I don’t think you can argue with him without falling back on worldly financial principles.
It is a shame that discussions about money, even in very Christian gatherings often result in tension. Some of the most tense small group discussions I’ve ever been involved in had to do with money. Discussing money is like discussing parenting. People take their financial decisions very personally. But we shouldn’t let that tension keep us from asking hard questions about things we take for granted. For instance:
- Is retirement a biblical concept?
- Is there ever a time when we should choose to go into debt?
- Is it wise to leave a large inheritance to our children?
- Should individuals or churches hoard large amounts of cash?
- Is it true that people with lots of money have fewer problems than those with little money?
This is not a short book. Alcorn is exhaustive in dealing with biblical texts and practical issues. But it certainly held my attention and has left me with a lot to think about.
Almost 7 years ago the Lord opened our eyes to His way of handling money. Since then we have been on a journey of getting out of debt and learning to use God’s money God’s way. I have no regrets. After reading this book I’ve seen that we still have a long way to go. But Alcorn presents the blessings of obedience in such a way that I can’t wait to get started.