Book Summaries

The Roots of Riches

Is there more to becoming rich than the accumulation of money? The Root of Riches is bursting with insight and practical examples and will change how you think about money and transform how you live.

  • Quote: “According to World Bank figures, the poorest 10% of Americans have more income than nearly four billion other inhabitants of planet Earth.”
  • Quote: “All of the world’s standards of being rich are dominated by comparisons of what we can own or possess.”
  • Note: While the world sees wealth in a completely materialistic way, Chuck Bentley challenges us to rethink the definition of being rich.
  • Quote: “Life in its fullest, most meaningful sense is a life of freedom.”
  • Quote: “God’s Word is clear that you, too, can be rich — with or without money — if you are willing to make certain changes in your heart and mind … Your heart must be changed before you can be truly rich.”
  • Note: It is not money that is evil, but rather the love of money — God has his own way of gathering riches, which often clashes with the world’s standards. Going with the biblical comparison of human beings being like trees, the love of money is like a root that causes evil.
  • Quote: “Do you see the irony in something having to be buried in the ground in order to come to life? In John 12:24, Jesus refers to a grain of wheat dying before it can produce a new harvest.”
  • Quote: “The prosperity gospel, give money to get money, is wrong, fruitless and even dangerous. What happens when someone follows it and then is not rewarded with earthly riches? Will he not feel betrayed and turn away from God? Love, gratitude and obedience should motivate our giving, not the expectation of money in return.”
  • Note: We are born into the world as “Me Trees,” with roots such as the love of money, love of self, and love of pleasure. What motivates our actions depends on our roots — are your roots those of a Me Tree or of a “He Tree” (i.e. love of God, love of people, love of giving)?
  • Quote: “Beliefs are the key to your behavior, particularly your beliefs about money. If your beliefs are not firmly grounded in God’s financial principles, you are defenseless against any false teaching that comes your way, and there is plenty of that. You will also fail to grasp the biblical definition of true riches.”
  • Quote: “Disgusted and repulsed by what I had become, I swallowed hard, humbled myself, and asked God to forgive me. That repentance changed everything. My beliefs — my roots — were radically transformed.”
  •  Note: The foundation of your beliefs will prosper the seeds you sow. This chapter uses the illustration of the “Me Tree.” Your beliefs are the “roots” that support an unbiblical idea about work and money and prosper bad fruits such as corruption, covet, greed, etc. The solution to the Me Tree isn’t a superior form of humanism. God’s way isn’t defined by financial success; it is marked with transformation from a Me Tree to a He Tree. The book states it best: “Money does not solve financial problems. Only a change of beliefs will solve the root cause of the problem.” This is accomplished through prayer.
  • Quote: “Our individual beliefs not only shape our lives, they form a culture that shapes the direction of an entire nation.”
  • Quote: “There is only one: repentance. You must escape the grip of money and become the kind of tree that bears good fruit. In other words, a He Tree.”
  • Note: The current thought on unhealthy spending is that it stems from subconscious roots. The author would like to combat that it can be controlled from the conscious realm of the mind. The power of God’s word is what will convince our rational minds to change our roots, and therefore our money behavior. We can all become captivated by the world, but we must hold on to God’s word. The beliefs we choose to express do affect the “forest” around your Me Tree, and disaster will come if Christians choose to follow the “forest” instead of God’s values.
  • Quote: “The love of self, money, and pleasure is spiritually deadly because it prevents our hearts from moving toward the only sanctuary, the fortress Jesus Christ.”
  • Quote: “This bounty of Christ’s grace fills the roots of the ‘He Tree’ with contentment regardless of the amount of money it may or may not possess.”
  • Note: Money has the intention to be used for good causes, but left to our own devices, the Me Tree will direct money to meeting our own desires. Satan knows this and uses wealth to drive us away from God. This chapter details more of the transformation of the Me Tree into the He Tree. There are signs such as the belief in the Bible, expression of gratitude and giving, being a servant to God, humble, faithful in small things, and focused on eternal rewards. From these roots, the He Tree produces supernatural fruits, but if we allow the He Tree to die, we will become impoverished. God wants us to enrich the world.
  • Quote: “We are created to exchange our obedience for love. Since love is a matter of the heart, we are ultimately controlled by what we allow in our heart.”
  • Quote: “God makes the He Tree rich in every way so that it will give God’s riches to others, not hoarding them for itself. These marvelous riches are to be shared on every occasion. There should never be a fence around the He Tree to keep others away from its fruit.” [He Trees are those who allow God to direct them in all areas of life.]
  • Note: Riches come from Christ; it is not merely money, and it must be shared. If we love God, we will want more of the life He offers because of that love, which means money and other riches are to be given out freely.
  • Quote: “The love of money is the ‘number one or number two drive’ in people’s hearts in every nation’. … It’s the silent killer of the church. It’s deadly.”
  • Quote: “There’s a price on your head, some bounty that Satan is offering to distract you from real riches … to neutralize you, to render you ‘lukewarm’ and useless for God’s purposes.”
  • Note: One of the greatest strengths of He Trees is that they interlock their branches with each other and dig their roots into the Word, becoming stronger in Christ and as the Body of Christ.
  • Quote: “He wants you to be the tree that gives shelter to those hurting, who are weak, and who are in need of the shade and the delicious, refreshing fruit that comes from your branches.”
  • Quote: “We must have the courage to practice what we believe, especially in difficult times.”
  • Note: We were created to work well in the area God gifted us, be free from owing anyone, care for our family, help others prosper, and save our resources so God can use us to do it all.
  • Quote: “He Trees learn to wait on the Lord. They have faith in Him and the resulting fruit is patience and self-control.”
  • Quote: “The most practical thing that you can do is to believe God’s Word and allow your roots to interlock with the roots of the Tree of Life.”
  • Note: Jesus wasn’t tricked into letting us become less than we are (when Satan tempted with another way than the one God planned). We should let God make us into people who aren’t tricked into letting Him become less than He is.

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