Book Summaries

Managing God’s Money: A Biblical Guide

In Managing God’s Money, Randy Alcorn breaks down exactly what the Bible has to say about how we are to handle our money and possessions in a simple, easy-to-follow format. Filled with Scripture references, Managing God’s Money is the perfect reference tool for anyone who is interested in gaining a solid biblical understanding of money, possessions, and eternity.

God cares a great deal more about our money than most of us imagine. The sheer enormity of Scripture’s teaching on this subject screams for our attention. In fact, Jesus says more about how we are to view and handle money and possessions than about any other topic―including both heaven and hell.

  • Quote: “The principal is timeless: If Christ is not Lord over our money and possessions, he is not our Lord.” Pg. 7
  • Quote: “Jesus made a direct connection between our present handling of earthly money and his future decision to entrust to our care another kind of wealth.” Pg. 4
  • Notes: This chapter covers a baseline of the correct way to shape your mindset on money and possessions. It is very easy to view financial matters as entirely separate from spiritual matters. However, this chapter points out just how related they are. Alcorn pointed out how Jesus talked about money and possessions more than most other things and pays close attention to them. How and where you spend and deal with money is a clear indicator into your spiritual state.
  • Quote: “The steward cannot do his job well without clearly grasping who owns- and who does not own- what is entrusted to his care.” Pg. 15
  • Quote: “Good stewards always act in the owner’s best interests, consulting and listening carefully to the owner in order to understand and implement his investment priorities.” Pg. 17
  • Notes: Alcorn point out that if viewing God and money as connected, the understanding of stewardship is the fundamental building block to a biblical mindset. He says that nothing we have is actually ours. God created the heavens and the earth and everything in them. And he is in control of all of it. He even created you, and the bible says, “you are not your own, you were bought with a price.” So, in fact, nothing, not even ourselves belong to us. When you start viewing everything that you have as God’s possessions that he has entrusted you to watch over, it will change the way you give, save, and spend.
  • Quote: “We’re to prepare for the master’s return by enhancing the growth of his kingdom through wisely investing his assets.” Pg. 25
  • Quote: “When we stand before our master and maker, it will not matter how many people on earth knew our names, how many called us great, or how many considered us fools. It will not matter whether schools or hospitals were named after us, whether our estates were large or small, whether our funerals drew ten thousand or no one. What will matter is one thing and one thing only- what our Master thinks of us.” Pg. 29
  • Notes: This chapter discusses parables about stewardship. There are many of them in the bible. The parable of the shrewd manager, tells us that we should manage our assets in a way that has an eternal impact and an eternal reward- using our resources to extend eternity to others and be a witness. What we manage well in this world, God gives us more responsibility in the next. We are also to use our assets and invest them for growth of his kingdom in preparation for his return.
  • Quote: “To regard money as evil, and therefore useless for purposes of righteousness, is foolish. To regard it as good, and therefore overlook its potential for spiritual disaster, is equally foolish.” Pg. 37
  • Quote: “The material must not take precedence over the spiritual, but it is nonetheless a necessary and legitimate part of our existence.” Pg.38
  • Notes: It is easy to take the two extreme approaches to money that both culture and the church can tell us. One is that of materialism and a total trust and reliance on money, and the other is that money and all things material are evil and a sign of true spirituality is a renouncement of both. Alcorn points out that the view the bible teaches is neither of these. It is that money is not to become your master but your servant that you use as a tool for his kingdom work. It is a balance between the two.
  • Quote: “Seeking fulfillment in money, land, houses, cars, clothes, RVs, hot tubs, large-screen televisions, luxury vacations, and cruises has left us bound and gagged by materialism- and like addicts, we think our only hope lies in getting more of the same.” Pg. 45
  • Quote: “Possessiveness relates to what we have, being selfish with what we own, not quick to share. Covetousness relates to what we want-longing for and being preoccupied with having what God hasn’t given us, having a passion to possess what is not ours.” Pg. 44
  • Notes: This chapter introduces a look into materialism. The greed it creates surfaces in possessiveness and covetousness. It leads to never being fulfilled, and always wanting more- the exact opposite form what Christ offers us. This chapter points out that earthly possessions do not prepare us for eternity and are useless when we die.
  • Quote: “Materialism blinds us to our spiritual poverty. It’s a fruitless attempt to find meaning outside of God, the source of all life and the giver of all good gifts.” Pg. 48
  • Quote: “God’s gift of salvation is available for all and cannot be bought with money.” Pg. 52
  • Quote: “It’s not how much money we make that grabs a hold of our hearts. It’s how much we keep.” Pg. 36
  • Notes: This chapter is exactly what the title suggests: the ten fatal dangers of materialism. They are that materialism hinders or destroys our spiritual lives. It is a broken cistern that can’t hold water. It blinds us to the curses of wealth, brings us unhappiness and anxiety, end in futility and obscures many of life’s greatest blessings. Materialism spawns independence and self-sufficiency, leads to pride and elitism, promotes injustice and exploitation, and fosters immorality and the deterioration of the family.
  • Quote: “Children learn most effectively not only from what we say, but from what we do. Sometimes our actions speak so loudly that our children can’t hear a word we ‘re saying.” Pg. 59”
  • Quote: “When all that we owned lies abandoned, broken, and useless, what will we have done with our lives that will last for eternity?” Pg. 62
  • Notes: Alcorn points out in this chapter that sometimes the effects of wealth and materialism on a child can be just as bad as those of poverty. Many times parents try to replace giving their time to their children by giving them possessions.
  • Quote: “In this life, we are to share his cross- In the next life we will share his crown.” Pg. 69
  • Quote: “Giving away our excess does something for us that keeping or spending it doesn’t.” Pg. 73
  • Notes: Prosperity theology, or the health and wealth gospel, is especially dangerous, Alcorn says, because it is false teaching coated in truth. It is true that God can bless those who are faithful to him. However, the bible also teaches that if we are truly living as witnesses to Christ, then we will suffer and be persecuted just as they did to Jesus. In this side of heaven before Jesus redeems the world, we are not to live as if already in him kingdom. Alcorn tears apart the shaky theology of prosperity saying that if God shows favor and reward with wealth and riches, then he sure didn’t like Jesus or Paul.
  • Quote: “Christ’s primary argument against amassing material wealth isn’t that it’s morally wrong but simply that it’s a poor investment.” Pg.79
  • Quote: “You can’t take it with you, but you can send it on ahead.” Pg. 82
  • Notes: We cannot serve both God and money. There is room for only one king in our lives. Alcorn spends the rest of this chapter talking about investing in eternity. Using our earthy money and resources to make an eternal impact. What we possess in this earthly life will be useless when we enter into eternity, however we can use our earthly money for kingdom purposes, which stores up our treasure in heaven. When we use our earthly riches for his kingdom, we are investing it in our heavenly riches. “We can trade temporal possessions we can’t keep to gain eternal possessions we can’t lose.”
  • Quote: “Our misconception about Heaven, and our consequent lack of excitement about living there forever, feed into our shortsightedness and our habit of clinging to this fallen earth as our home.” Pg. 94
  • Quote: “When we live our present lives in anticipation of our eternal resurrected lives, we will live differently.” Pg. 98
  • Notes: Alcorn spends this chapter painting the picture of eternity and the newly resurrected earth using scripture. He says that eternity is not talked about enough and it is hard to live with an eternal mindset if you are not eagerly looking forward to living in eternity. With this beautiful, fulfilling picture of eternity, it is easy to live toward that.
  • Quote: “Where we spend eternity, whether Heaven or Hell, depends on our faith. But how real our faith is will be determined by works.” Pg. 102
  • Quote: “We flatter ourselves- and insult God- when we say, ‘I don’t care about reward.’ The point is that God cares, and therefore so should we.” Pg. 106
  • Notes: It has already been established that God gives us an eternal reward for our godly works after we have accepted his free gift of salvation. In this chapter, Alcorn points out that it is wrong to have a reward as an incentive. God creates incentives, just as parents use with their children. While the reward should not be our only motivation, it is not wrong for it to be one of our motivations in giving and living with an eternal mindset.
  • Quote: “It belonged to God so they made it freely available.” (120)
  • Note: This chapter was all about tithing and what it really is. Most people interchange tithing and giving, but that is not correct. This is because to tithe means “a tenth part” not to give. So the correct word to use interchangeably with give is, donate. The people in the Old Testament gave much more freely then we do today. They would give nearly everything away.
  • Quote: “By giving away 10%, they made a statement about the remaining 90%-it also belonged to their Creator.”
  • Quote: “The emphasis is not on the amount of the offering, but on the willingness of each person’s heart.” (130)
  • Quote: “I shovel out the money, and God shovels it back- but God has a much bigger shovel.” (131)
  • Note: This chapter is about giving as well, but not just a tithe. It is about giving for the good of giving. Going beyond the call of just a tithe and giving because we have too much. Some people give for just “Grace giving” instead of giving because it is needed.
  • Quote: “Ignoring the poor is not a option for the godly.” (143)
  • Quote: “The poor are frequently being lumped together into one group as if they’re all the same.” (144)
  • Note:Is all about the poor and how it is our job to help them. No it is not our fault to that the poor are in their position, but as godly people it is our duty to help them as much as we can. It tells us that the worst thing to do is completely ignore the poor.
  • Quote: “Although Christ called some to leave their homes, he instructed this man to go to his home.” (158)
  • Note: In this chapter we learn about the calling of God and does it mean we should leave everything we own. Some people are called to leave their things behind but others are called to serve right where they are.
  • Quote: “Our debt-centered is like those electronic bug zappers.” They draw you in and then ZAP! (166)
  • Note: This chapter is all about debt. Is debt good or bad? Well that depends on how it’s used. Our world in the United States is very toxic when it comes to debt. There are credit cards, mortgage payments, car loans, I mean you name it and it can become a debt to you.
  • Quote: “God says borrowers put themselves in servitude to lenders; and then he tells us we should be slaves only to him, not men.” (167)
  • Quote: “When we rob God to pay men, we rob ourselves of God’s blessings.” (184)
  • Note: This chapter is also about debt. But it is just giving a more in depth description on questions about debt. It teaches us about the troubles of credit card debt, how mortgages do not really count as a debt, and how to get out of debt.
  • Quote: “God will not eliminate the consequences of our unwise decisions.” (185)
  • Quote: “Lack of planning invites poverty.” (190)
  • Note: This chapter is on the future and keeping savings and retirement accounts. It teaches us that it is okay to save. You should save for expected and unexpected instances.
  • Note: This chapter is about investments and gambling. Gambling is nearly throwing your money away. With the lottery you have a very slim chance of winning. Throwing your money away on gambling when it can be given to God is unrighteous.
  • Quote: “A study showed that, “six months after winning the lottery, you are likely to be no happier than if you have been paralyzed in a car crash.”
  • Quote: “Although gambling often violates biblical principles, there are other actions in life that involve risk but are still legitimate.”
  • Note: We must be advised when and where we should invest our money. We would not want to invest God’s money into something bad
  • Note: This chapter is all about inheritance and what we should leave for our children. We learn that there is a possibility that inheritance can ruin marriages and even possibly sibling relationships
  • Quote: “Many well-meaning parents have caused serious marital conflicts by leaving money to their grown children.” (208)
  • Quote: “Certainly we should not transfer wealth to our adult children unless we’ve successfully transferred wisdom to them.” (209)
  • Note: This chapter is about teaching kids about how to deal with money and manage it. Teaching children about associating money to work is very important. Not necessarily giving them money for chores, but teaching them to mow lawns, washing cars, or babysitting. If we can teach children a good work ethic then it will help them to be successful later in life.
  • Quote: “Children imitate everything we do, whether important or unimportant, healthy or unhealthy.” (219)
  • Note: This chapter is about creating stewards of God’s money in the church. It tells us about teaching others about giving by asking the pastor to talk on the subject. It teaches us about the resources to help people become wise and gracious stewards, about how our giving stories can have an impact, and also how to prepare for a job evaluation.
  • Quote: “Fellow Christians ought to disciple each other in financial stewardship.” (233)

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