I have a love-hate relationship with money. I think most people do. On the one hand money is a necessity—a resource we depend upon, a resource we need if we are to live and thrive in this world. On the other hand money is spiritually captivating, a resource that offers a particularly insightful look into our hearts. Money is the topic of Randy Alcorn’s new book Managing God’s Money. This is a biblical guide to managing our money with an eye to eternity.
Many of you know that this is not Alcorn’s first book on money. I believe it is actually his third, so let me tell you how it fits into the Alcorn canon. While I haven’t read Money, Possessions, and Eternity or The Treasure Principle, my perception is that this book fits right between the two. In the book’s final pages Alcorn writes, “I wrote Managing God’s Money to serve as a small and inexpensive resource that covers a lot of ground in addressing financial stewardship with an eternal perspective.” More ground than The Treasure Principle but less than Money, Possessions, and Eternity.
Let me tell you how Alcorn goes about addressing this issue. He does so in six sections: Money and Possessions, Perspectives that Impede Faithful Money Management, Our Stewardship in Eternity’s Light, Giving and Sharing God’s Money and Possessions, Wisely Handling God’s Money and Possessions, and Passing the Baton of Wise Stewardship. As you would expect, he progresses from biblical teaching on the foundations of money to the way we use our money to the way we teach others how to use their money.
A few principles underly much of what Alcorn teaches.
These are a few of the most important big-picture principles that bind the book together. Working in his trademark question and answer format, Alcorn teaches how we can (and must) handle our money and possessions in a way that honors God. This is no-holds-barred stuff; he teaches that most of us have neglected our responsibility to give deeply, consistently and generously. He rebukes the materialism that inhabits the church to almost the same extent that it inhabits the world. He calls for a radical rethinking of the way most of us relate to our money.
Speaking personally, I found the book very convicting. I read it in the run-up to a series I am building on this very topic, and this book has given me a lot to think about. There may be times in which Alcorn overstates the case just a little bit, but even then, I need to do more study to really determine if this is the case. My impulse as I finished the book was to empty my bank account and give it all away. If only it were that easy. A couple of days later my thoughts have (thankfully) moderated a little bit. But I don’t think I’ll lose the heart of what Alcorn teaches here. The primary takeaway for me is a simple one, but one I needed to ponder: All I have belongs to God; he is the owner and I am merely the manager. My house, my car, my bank account—all of these belong to him. it is my responsibility to ensure that I am seeing them not as my possessions but as his. This then puts me in the proper context of a manager. That is a critical difference that is already changing the way I think about all that he has entrusted to me.
Managing God’s Money is a powerful little book and a very helpful one. It’s priced low enough that just about anyone can afford to buy it and read it. And if you read it, I’m sure you’ll benefit from it.
— Tim Challies on www.challies.com
In 1992, my friend and colleague Greg Sperry handed me the book Money, Possessions and Eternity, by Randy Alcorn. I read it, and it changed my life. In fact, the truths in that book were so profound that I have dedicated myself to its message for the last 20 years.
There was just one problem. It was an exhaustive treatment of the subject, and I wanted everyone to read my favorite 250 of the 500 pages in the book! I wanted the greatest hits version. I actually would buy them by the case, take them to a mill, have the binder cut off, pick out my favorite sections, clip them together, and give them out to anyone who would take them!
So, almost 20 years ago, I showed Randy my sliced and clipped together version of Money, Possessions and Eternity and asked him to please write a more condensed version. He said he'd think about it. Well, after thinking about it for 20 years, here it is: Managing God's Money.
Who is the audience for this guide? I'm not exaggerating when I say that every Christian needs to read this book. The truths are timeless, the message is life-changing, and the Church needs to hear this today more than ever. Pastors will find it an invaluable resource. Anyone who has the gift of giving will find it a tremendous encouragement as they seek to use their gift to build the body. I have a child that has just started college, and he must read this book before he graduates!
The title itself, Managing God's Money, should tip off any reader as to the fundamental premise upon which the book is written. It is not our money, it is God's. We are called to faithfully steward the resources He entrusts into our care.
Randy begins with painting a picture of a biblical view of money and possessions and the role God has given us as stewards. He next tackles some of the tough issues surrounding money and our culture. From there he takes us to a crystal clear understanding of the eternal implications of being a wise and faithful steward. He then answers key questions regarding giving and managing money. It closes with some tremendous wisdom regarding money and future generations and the important role of our churches in creating cultures of generosity.
Let me just say, after having read this new work by Randy, it was worth the wait!
P.S. Don’t just read Managing God's Money. Go get The Treasure Principle, Deadline, and Safely Home ... three of my all-time favorite books!
— David Wills, President of National Christian Foundation
I appreciate the pastoral heart underlying the content of Managing God's Money. You never get the feeling that Randy wants to beat you over the head with the Bible while chastising you for not being a tither or something. Instead, you have a man dealing straight with valid questions from those who are seeking to follow the Lord in every area of their life.
Each question is answered in a short, pithy manner without missing the main point of what the Bible says.
Finally, a book on money that will not break the bank!!! Alcorn has compiled an excellent topical guide to finances that should be on every pastor's shelf and in the home of every Christian family looking to honor God with their money. This is not a resource that you will read once and never read again. As a matter of fact, it is a book that you may never read cover to cover though you will often reference it when discussing your finances with your spouse or others. At only $5.99, you can afford to get this book. It will pay for itself almost immediately and, if you follow the principles set forth, for all eternity.
— Terrence T. Delaney, posted on amazon.com
If you are looking for one book to answer all your money questions, Managing God’s Money, by Randy Alcorn is the book you must add to your library. When I say this book answers all your money questions I am not exaggerating. Rightly so, he starts off with what the Bible actually says about money and stewardship then jumps into everyone’s first misconception about money, “Does the Bible say money is evil?”
This book contains a lot of information. I will admit when I first received it and flipped through the pages I thought it was too much information in one book. But the format of the book is what makes it easier to approach. The book is broken down by sections, each section is broken down by chapters then each chapter is written as if it were the FAQ section of a pamphlet. Some of the questions included in the book are: Is it possible to follow God and money? Why does God prosper us sometimes? What does it mean to store up treasures in Heaven? Should reward be our only motivation? Isn’t tithing legalism? Should we tithe on our gross or net? Are we to blame for people’s poverty? Is gambling okay? The list goes on and on.
This would be an excellent resource for recent college graduates that are potentially going to be at their first full-time job making their own money decisions or a newlywed couple that will be making those decisions together. If this book would have been given to me for either of those occasions I probably wouldn’t read it straight through but instead I would read the Table of Contents and look up the questions I had first and get those answered and keep the book around when I approach different phases of life and need a refresher.
— Cary Plunkett, blogger, posted on plunkettparty.blogspot.com
Managing God’s Money, Randy Alcorn’s most recent book, is a life changer. I say this because the book has been a catalyst in initiating conversations with my wife that we never would have had otherwise. We already knew that everything belongs to God. We already understood the principles of being property managers for God. We were even tithers, and we felt good about it. But things are now different; instead of smugly believing that God is surely proud of us for how we manage his money, we are now investigating ways to go beyond a tithe, to dedicate all of our assets to His glory and to intentionally invite some trepidation into our financial lives by giving away much of the nest egg we have accumulated.
I believe the power of this book is Randy’s ability to move us from doctrine to practice. It is one thing to give mental assent to a truth, but a wholly different thing to openly seek just how it should be applied to one’s life. Money issues, being money issues, are much easier for most of us to assign to our subconscious, but Managing God’s Money forces confrontation, moving these issues from the head to the heart. As one would expect, Alcorn leads with scripture, using it extensively to give the reader God’s take on His money.
What do I like best about the book? Tough question. I read it with a yellow highlighter at my side, and was amazed that I didn’t run it dry. But let me share just a few portions that were life changing for me:
Am I the rich fool from Luke 12:16-22? It is easy to read this parable and discuss how this rich fool had his priorities scrambled, all the while being glad that we are not rich like him. However, as Alcorn points out, all Americans, by world standards, are indeed rich. He contrasts this man with the poor widow who gave her last two coins to the Lord, then throws us this zinger: “Let’s be honest – if asked, wouldn’t many of us congratulate the rich fool for his entrepreneurial enterprise and warn the poor woman to hold on to what little money she had?” See what I mean?
Heaven and finances. Many of us are foggy minded about storing treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:20) because we are foggy minded about heaven. The section “Our Stewardship in Eternity’s Light” opened my eyes to the realities of heaven and therefore motivated me to store more treasures in my eternal home. Another life changer.
Tithing. True confession: I have read so much about tithing that I had little expectation of learning anything new on the topic. Was I ever wrong! My problem is that I had read what others thought about tithing without actually reading what the Bible has to say. Alcorn explains the Old Testament teachings and clearly rebuts two camps of Christian thought: that the tithe is the pinnacle of giving and that tithing should not be practiced under the New Covenant. As a result, my wife and I have already decided to 1) immediately increase our giving and 2) formulate a plan to make graduated increases in the future. Yet another life changer— one that we are both excited about.
Future Reference. This is a book that I will be using over and over again, both for my own personal references and also as a springboard for future blog posts. I loved the way Managing God’s Money is organized, and even though it does not include an index, the Table of Contents is so well structured that I will be able to easily find whatever topic I am seeking.
I rate Managing God’s Money as a 5 on a scale of 5. But I offer one warning: it will destroy those stained glass beliefs that you hold so dear. Like I said, it is a life changer.
— Joe Plemon, Certified Financial Counselor, as posted on personalfinancebythebook.com
Managing God’s Money deals with the whole spectrum of Christian stewardship, and addresses issues like insurance and inheritance, gambling, saving, investing, giving and debt. And, in true Alcorn style, the theme of stewardship is woven throughout the book.
This book makes sure the proper foundation is laid for good financial planning. That foundation, of course, is our understanding that nothing we have is ours. Our money is really God’s money. As such, we need to understand how we should handle what the Master has entrusted to his stewards. This book helps you get that mindset firmly rooted in Scripture.
Alcorn offers some very challenging words throughout the book on fighting against our culture of materialism. He cleverly calls materialism the disease of “affluenza”. There’s been a response recently to materialism within some Christian circles that has to do with creating a simple lifestyle. Randy provides a great distinction between a simple lifestyle and a strategic one: "Simple living may be self-centered. Strategic living is Kingdom-centered. If I’m devoted to “simple living,” I may reject a computer because it’s modern and nonessential. But if I live a strategic lifestyle, the computer may serve as a tool for Kingdom purposes."
This book will help you establish a good foundation for financial planning. It will challenge your paradigm, challenge your heart motives, and offer a clear description of what the Bible has to say about the way we handle our money— as stewards.
— Jason Topp, posted on www.redeemingriches.com
Randy Alcorn has done it again!
What did he do again? Well I’m not sure, but it sounded like a good way to start this book review! I really wanted to dislike this book, since it talked sooooooo much about how the money we have is God’s money. I agreed with him by the first page, and kept agreeing until he kept beating me on the head with it that I had to put the book down and postpone reading for another time. So I picked it up many months later, and guess what? I loved it!
So of course I skipped many chapters of the book, and if you have to skip a few chapters of the book, that’s okay, but for only $5.99 the advice in this book is definitely worth much more than you pay. If you only read the chapter about teaching your kids about money (Inheritance or Heritage: What to leave behind and What to send ahead), then the book has done its job.
I disagreed with a few minor things, but the wisdom gained from this book, cannot be overemphasized. The book is based on Biblical principles and talks about tithing, dealing with debt, living a strategic lifestyle, trusting God with everything.
But most importantly remembering that “God is not behind every good deal” so stop making yourself miserable by going into debt!
Definitely check out the book— it’s a small book jam-packed with nuggets of wisdom!
— Osayi, blogger at iyasostuff.wordpress.com