Managing God’s Money: A BIBLICAL GUIDE [Book Review]
Author: Randy Alcorn, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2011
Reviewed by Lendall H. Smith
As the title suggests, this book is not about how to manage our money to accomplish our financial goals. Instead, it is a Bible study on the concept of stewardship. Right out of the gate in the introduction the author says, “The title of the book, Managing God’s Money, is not some cute, figurative expression. It’s a precise depiction of what the Bible says we are – God’s money managers.” He contends that our perspective on money and how we handle all our possessions lies at the heart of the Christian life in the Scriptures. In defending that conviction the author saturates his book with Scripture passages in developing the concept of financial stewardship. Simply put, everything belongs to God and we are called to manage his assets.
The book is divided into six major sections. Section I is entitled Money and Possessions: Bible 101. It is deigned to give the reader a biblical mindset about money and what stewardship involves. Section II is about perspectives that impede faithful money management. He deals with the wrong perspective of both asceticism and materialism and the danger of affluence on Christian families. Section III continues to develop the concept of stewardship in light of what the Bible says about the kingdom of God, eternity and heaven. Section IV deals with giving and sharing God’s money and possessions. Interestingly, in a chapter on tithing he calls it God’s training wheels for giving. He then follows up with a chapter of free will giving that flows from a grace-filled heart. The section closes with helping the poor and giving to the work of the gospel. Section V deals with issues that involve handling money and possessions wisely as believers. He has helpful material on lifestyle choices and prefers to use “strategic” rather than “simple” to describe a Christian lifestyle. He provides guidance on several matters related to debt, savings, gambling, investing and inheritances. In Section VI the author gives his advice on teaching biblical stewardship to children and how the church ought to cultivate a culture of stewardship and giving in the congregation. The author concludes by challenging readers to commit themselves to being wise and faithful in their financial stewardship.
The book is well written and easy to follow the development of the author’s argument. At times the reader may quibble with the author’s specific application of his principle and may not agree with how he has stated some things. Overall though, the reader is challenged by the vast biblical material that Christians have a radically different perspective on money and possessions and are accountable to use what God has entrusted to them for his honor and glory.