The Treasure Principle: Unlocking The Secrets Of Joyful Giving, by Randy Alcorn
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Blogging For Books/Multnomah Press. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
The subject of tithing and giving among Christians is one that leads to a lot of contentious struggles and ferocious and often ugly debates . Into this debate Randy Alcorn has contributed an updated version of a best-selling book in which he address the subject of Christian generosity in a thoughtful way that avoids guilt-tripping but which is faithful to the biblical record. In doing so he not only discusses biblical principles related to generosity for Christians but also manages to discuss his own life as well as the larger picture and context of generosity, and even managed to give me some ideas for generosity that I would like to put into practice for my own life. Despite the fact that the author is dealing with something that is probably not the best aspect of my life as a Christian, the author’s approach to the subject was one that certainly overcame my own considerable reluctance about what he would have to say and, perhaps just as important, how he would say it.
This is a very short book–only about 130 pages or so in a quarto version that a quick reader could likely tackle in about half an hour reading, if my own experience is any guide. Yet the quality of the book should not be judged by how easy it is to read, as if a quick book was a bad one or a lesser one by any means. This is a book that is aimed at a large Christian audience and certainly manages to hit its mark. In terms of its contents, the author discusses the principle of buried treasure, or treasure sent forward for eternity, the question of whether Jesus was talking about financial giving, compounding joy, living with our eyes on eternity, overcoming roadblocks to giving, how to get started, and what it means that we have been born for such a time as this. The author then gives some treasure principle keys, a giving covenant, and asks 31 radical and liberating questions to ask God about our giving with answers/comments from scripture that give an idea of how God would likely reply, along with some personal questions and answers that address concerns from a critical reader and some resources for the reader who wishes to follow the example of the author.
As a reader, what I found most worthwhile about this book was the author’s candor about his own life and his own story about the repercussions of his opposition to abortion that led him to reflect on the subject of giving. The author manages to encourage the reader on a difficult quest to live modestly and simply, avoid debt, and be generous with one’s money, possessions, and time without coming off as being too preachy or sanctimonious. Admittedly, this is a difficult topic and it is one that many Christians struggle mightily with, myself certainly included. One of the author’s discussions about his behavior was to donate his library to his church, which changed his perspective about the wear and tear on what had previously been “his” books. That was an example that hit home to me as a budding book hoarder, and gave me a suggestion that if it were possible to loan a great portion of my own library for the benefit of others it would be far better than for me to hoard it for myself. There are certainly many ways I could stand to be more generous as a person, without a doubt, and it is to the author’s credit that he discusses such matters without offending the reader.
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