Several years ago Randy Alcorn wrote a simple book about giving that continues to challenge how Christians use the money that God has so graciously given them. The Treasure Principle is less than 100 pages long but delivers a gut-check on nearly every page! Alcorn’s premise is simple: the money you have isn’t yours – it’s God’s. As a result the real question is, “How are you investing God’s money?”
If you live in N. America the answer to that question is very likely that you’re investing that money (God’s money) on your personal enjoyment and comfort. How many cars do you own, how many TV’s, how many computers? (I own two of each.) How much do you spend on cell phone service, cable, and eating out? (I really don’t know, but it’s a lot.) We tend to give ourselves a pat on the back if we toss a few 20’s in the offering each week even though it’s less than 2% of our income. According to Alcorn: “God entrusts me with his money not to build my kingdom on earth, but to build His kingdom in heaven.” (p. 75)
What happened to us that we would get so caught up in running with the big dogs that we would toss away so much money on things that don’t matter and – in Alcorn’s words – “rob God”? Alcorn asserts that “giving is the only antidote to materialism.” It seems that – even in the church – it’s more important to own all of the latest technology (iPad, iPhone, Kindle, etc.) that it is to live simply so that we can give more generously.
There are six keys to the Treasure Principle:
- God owns everything. I’m his money manager.
- My heart always goes where I put God’s money.
- Heaven, not earth, is my home.
- I should live not for the dot but for the line.
- Giving is the only antidote to materialism.
- God prospers me not to raise my standard of living, but to raise my standard of giving.
Alcorn speaks from personal experience and from a position of authenticity having lived on minimum wage for over a decade. The Treasure Principle is worth the read simply to become familiar with the Alcorn’s journey of faith but it will deeply challenge every reader to examine their own perspective of how they spend the money they have.
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