The Treasure Principle (book review)

One of the knocks I often hear about the church is that we talk too much about money. I don’t feel that’s an accurate assessment, especially considering that Jesus talked about money and possessions more than He did about Heaven and Hell. In The Treasure Principle: Unlocking The Secret Of Joyful Giving, Randy Alcorn shares the keys that Jesus taught about this important topic.

In just the first few pages, Randy sets the stage for this book by stating:

Why did Jesus put such an emphasis on money and possessions? Because there’s a fundamental connection between our spiritual lives and how we think about and handle money. We may try to divorce our faith and our finances, but God sees them as inseparable.

The Treasure Principle mixes biblical instruction on handling our money, Randy’s insights into those scriptures, as well as Randy’s own personal experiences with finances. These are all used to support six treasure principle keys.

One of my favorite parts of the book comes at the very end. Randy shares “31 Radical, Liberating Questions To Ask God About Your Giving.” This is where the rubber meets the road (or the principles meet the pocketbook!). This is setup for you to read one question daily for a month, to really allow God to speak to you through His Word and through this book about your financial perspectives and practices. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and I’m looking forward to continuing my month-long journey through these radical questions.

I am a Multnomah book reviewer.

Church-In-A-Box

Did you ever play with a Jack-in-a-box? You turned the crank, listened to the song, and waited for the funny-looking Jack to pop out of the box. Then you stuffed Jack back in the box and did it again, and again, and again.

It was predictable. It happened like clockwork. After awhile, though, the predictability became boring, and the Jack-in-a-box ended up collecting dust on the shelf.

Sometimes I’m concerned that our churches are becoming like a church-in-a-box. Like the predictable Jack-in-a-box, we turn the crank of showing up on Sunday, going through the same routine, waiting for God to show up, and then stuffing it all back into the box, only to repeat it all again the next Sunday, and the next Sunday, and the next Sunday.

It’s predictable. It happens like clockwork. After awhile, though, the predictability can become boring, and our church-in-a-box ends up collecting dust on the shelf.

Here’s what I’m pondering:

  • Why do we meet on Sunday mornings?

There are as many mentions in the Bible about Christians meeting on other days, as there are mentions about the first day of the week.

  • Why do we get so hung up on the “order of service”?

None of the New Testament writers taught about that. Yet if you want to anger some folks, just change up the Sunday routine.

  • Why do we dress a certain way to go to church?

Jesus had only one set of clothes, which means He wore the same thing to the synagogue as He wore the rest of the week. Yet we expect people to “dress up” for church.

  • Why do we call what happens on Sunday “worship,” and what happens the rest of the week “work”?

Shouldn’t everything we do bring glory to God? Shouldn’t all of our lives be worship?

  • Why do we complain about a church service not “moving us,” when we don’t feel the Holy Spirit moving the other six days of the week?

I’m not trying to pick a fight. Really.

I’m just wondering if perhaps we’ve gotten used to church-in-a-box. And if we have, perhaps we’ve also put God in a box too. Maybe we’ve become so accustomed to showing up on Sunday, dressing a certain way, following a certain routine, singing a certain song, and then expecting God to pop out and thrill us. And then we put it all away until the next Sunday.

Wouldn’t God be more glorified if we didn’t put Him in a box? If we worshiped Him every day, not just Sunday? If we felt His Spirit animating us in everything we do, not just in the churchy things we do? If He popped up all throughout the week, in all sorts of places (like work, school, the grocery store, home)?

What do you think? Have we put church (and God) in a box? If so, how should we change?

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