Wednesday, May 4, 2011

[Book Review] "The Treasure Principle" by Randy Alcorn

This book was free via Multnomah's "Blogging for Books" program.

What is the secret to joyful giving? How does one give in an economy of materialism? How does on give in a down economy?  Should one give above the standard 10% tithe? These are all questions that Christians ask and that Randy Alcorn attempts to answer in "The Treasure Principle." If there's one thing for certain, this book will change your perspective on the giving of both your time and your money to the Lord.

Alcorn is one who learned the hard way about having to give sacrificially. Sued by an abortion clinic in the early 1990s, he had to resign his pastorate, take a minimum wage salary, and put all his assets into his wive's name to avoid paying anything to a clinic that would only kill more babies with that money. Ironically, he says, that he had just written a book on money ("Money, Possessions, and Eternity"). This book is quite a short little read at only 94 pages, plus an addendum of 31 questions at the end for where ever you are in your walk of life with regards to money. He gives 6 keys in the book to help you see where you should put the money. Overall, this short little book does pack a punch into how you give your money (and I would say time).

The 6 keys are:

  1. God owns everything. I am His money manager.
  2. My heart always goes where I put God's money.
  3. Heaven, not Earth, is my home.
  4. I should live not for the dot but for the line. (Dot is here and now, line is eternity - my summary).
  5. Giving is the only antidote to materialism.
  6. God prospers me not to raise my standard of living, but to raise my standard of giving.
In an age of materialism, these ideas are so counter-cultural. The average credit card debt in the U.S. is about $14,750 and the total U.S. consumer debt is around $2.4 trillion (source). Those numbers are staggering. I attempted to find tithing statistics, but they appear to be few and far between. Suffice it to say that Christians are not even giving to the Church as they should be or when they do, they are giving with the wrong motives. Let me say this, this book is not to be used as prosperity teaching. People like Creflo Dollar encourage you to give so that you can get and live like the wealthy. Alcorn is so against that. In fact, he is encouraging Christians to live below their means so that they can give more. I can resonate with that. 

In all, if you want to read a book that will change your perspective on giving, this is it. In an age when Christians may be relying on Dave Ramsey for financial planning, this book may even be counter to those ideas. We should be good stewards of the resources that God has given us. We have been giving generously for a number of years now and wish we could do more, but this book has changed my idea that perhaps we could do more. Let's not think about if you can afford to give this month because you cannot afford to not give.