Monday, July 2, 2012

Giving and/or Saving?

I was just sitting there enjoying a train trip home from a Chicago get-away weekend. Memories warmed my thoughts as I recounted the conversation with friends and hubby around the outdoor cafe table along Clark Street and  late night fireworks from Navy Pier. I shook my head recalling the numerous 360s our inexperienced boat crew dizzied us through as they tried to tether to the dock after our short Michigan Lake cruise. I opened the book I had borrowed from one of our travel companions and scrunched down in the train seat to concentrate.

Unlike the Balducci fiction read I had devoured enroute to the big city, I was expecting some new insights from this little publication by Randy Alcorn. I felt mostly confident that I understood the first few chapters and Alcorn's premise for the rest of the book, which rested heavily on Scripture verses and concepts from God's Kingdom. As I read further, discomfort began seeping into my thoughts and then struck blows to any rationalizations I had tried to hide behind. The book's title was Managing God's Money, and my mind was being scrubbed like a car in the automatic car wash.

Here are a few quotes that felt like big brush burnishers. I was in the chapter on saving for retirement and the American dream of achieving financial independence.

"But from whom do we wish to be independent? God? Our family? Christian brothers and sisters?...there's a kind of dependence that's terribly unhealthy.  But there's a kind of independence that's equally unhealthy....we are to be channels of money...not storehouses.  Whatever role saving has in our lives, it should be secondary to giving and it must never be a substitute for trusting God."  p. 193-4   Whoa!

"When I hoard, I'm unwilling to part with what I've saved to meet other's needs because my possible future needs outweigh their actual present needs.  Hence, I fail to love my neighbor as myself." p. 195-6  Ouch!

"I'm not saying we can't use or shouldn't have retirement plans-but as God's children, we don't need them. Our brothers and sisters in other ages didn't have them and neither do most non-American Christians today...How much is too much?  Ask to him, not us...quietly listen for his answer." p. 197     Are you for real, Randy?

"If we consider our retirement funds to be off limits to God, we're pretending to be owners rather than God's money managers...lay everything on the table."  p. 198  Seriously?

I'll be keeping these things in my heart and pondering them for awhile.

Lord, help me be open to listening and willing to be obedient to whatever you are saying.  I am your servant and want to be faithful with what you've allowed me to manage when it comes to income and money.  I've heard many voices on this.  Now I want your wisdom and most of all, more of you.  You said it's more blessed to give than receive. Teach me what that means and how it works.  Thank you!


  1. I've not read this book. Randy is one of my favorite authors. Sounds like he really gives hard stuff to think about in this book. We need to learn all the lessons God has for us, especially the hard ones. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Good thoughts. I came across this scripture again yesterday. I tend to think of the Proverbs as advocating being like ants who store up, and making "wise" financial decisions more in line with what our American culture advises. So this is an interesting counter-balance:

    24 One person gives freely, yet gains even more;
    another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.

    25 A generous person will prosper;
    whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.

    26 People curse the one who hoards grain,
    but they pray God’s blessing on the one who is willing to sell.

    27 Whoever seeks good finds favor,
    but evil comes to one who searches for it.

    28 Those who trust in their riches will fall,
    but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.
    Proverbs 11

    We love Dave Ramsey's Debt Snowball, but get off the FPU Wagon after Baby Step 2 :)


Thanks for sharing your response!