Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Treasure Principle

Before the month is out, I wanted to recommend another book. Randy Alcorn's The Treasure Principle is a small book with a big message -- one that will change the way you look at your finances. It has been marketed as a shorter version of Life, Possessions, and Eternity, but you'd never know the difference.

I first read this book last year while completing a seven month assignment that God gave me involving money. God asked me to anonymously donate a specific sum of money to a man who sinned against me and hurt me very deeply. In November 2007, I began my seven months of restitution. That same month, I started a blog called Reformed SHEology. It would be a chronicle of the things God has taught me about my own sinfulness, and how he has changed me from an angry woman who, in many ways, hated men -- to a woman who is deeply grieved over the blackness of my own heart.

At first, I only saw my restitution as payment for my own sin of anger. But by the end of the assignment, I realized that blessing the one who sinned against me was one of the most satisfying, fulfilling experiences of my entire Christian walk. It was also the exact same thing that Jesus had done for me.

The experience was amazing and life-changing in itself, but it was The Treasure Principle that served as a companion study guide to me during this process. In his book, Alcorn gives a very practical, insightful look at biblical giving, but not without sharing his own tale of persecution that resulted in a life change of his own. In Chapter 2, Alcorn describes how he was sued by an abortion clinic. The abortion clinic won, and as a result, Alcorn was legally unable to own anything (otherwise he'd have to give it to the clinic). So he resigned as pastor and took a job earning minimum wage. Says Alcorn, "It was the best thing that ever happened to us," (p. 23). How can this be?

Alcorn explains that everything belongs to God. We are merely managers of His money. When we understand this, we are able to give freely. In fact, the more we understand this principle, the more our view of money will change. We will want to give more and more.

This is not a "how to" book on financial stewardship. Rather, this is a book that explains the "why" behind giving. If you are going through The Lord's Table, and you are finding you are turning to more than just food to find fulfillment and satisfaction in your life, The Treasure Principle is a great companion to this study (especially if you are a shopaholic). In this book we are reminded that:

1) God owns everything, I am just His manager.
2) My heart always goes where I put God's money.
3) Heaven, not earth, is my home.
4) I should live for eternity, not life on earth.
5) Giving is the only antidote to materialism.
6) God prospers me not to raise my standard of living, but my standard of giving.

The book concludes with a list of questions God might ask you about your finances. If you need to change in this area, I cannot recommend this book enough. It will not give you pointers on how to give, but it will provide you all the reasons why you should give. And when our perspective on the "why" changes, the "how" becomes a non-issue.

You can order The Treasure Principle from Westminster Books by clicking here.

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