Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Money, Possession, and Eternity: A Perspective

Randy Alcorn's Money, Possessions, and Eternity is one of the best books I have ever read on, well, money, possessions, and eternity. Recommended by a CPA friend of ours years ago, it's a book I need to reread yet again. It seems a particularly relevant book in light of our current economy.

Alcorn is a Christian and seeks to challenge readers to develop a truly biblical view of their possessions, their wealth, and how it all stacks up in light of eternity. He begins with a look at the challenge we face in regard to money and possessions, looking at both ascetism and materialism. He takes a hard look at materialism in the church as well as in the individual.

The second section looks at money and possessions in light of eternity. Alcorn goes beyond the "two masters" dilemma and looks at our destiny (heaven) and our rewards; the rewards chapter was quite interesting since we often avoid that idea in our modern "grace-centered" churches. Alcorn examines the many Scriptures that talk about the rewards we will get in heaven and here on earth.

The third section looks at generosity: our giving and sharing. He covers tithing, giving above the tithe, mercy ministry to the poor and lost, and ethical concerns over fund-raising/ministry financing (another very interesting section).

The fourth and final section looks at how we need to handle our resources. This section is a bit more practical since it deals with some of the "here and now" concerns, but it necessarily comes at the end of his earlier, equally important, philosophical and theological discussions. He includes making/generating wealth, owning "stuff," debt (both borrowing and lending), saving (including a look at insurance), gambling, investing, leaving money, .... He also looks at the family: how we can address materialism in the family, how we can teach our children about money. This is not a how-to, like Larry Burkett or Dave Ramsey might provide; instead, it looks at eminently practical concerns in light of Biblical principles.

This book is meaty. I could go on and on about the different things that stood out to me. Even giving an overview of the table of contents brought back many, many reminders that I need to reread this yet again. Alcorn isn't inspired and infallible like the Bible; however, I believe that this book is quite biblical and should be read by everyone!

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