The Treasure Principle

Author: Randy Alcorn


Randy Alcorn is the author of several books, but he is also known as the pastor who was sued for several million dollars by an abortion clinic and resigned his pastorate so the church wouldn't be responsible for damages. The experience taught him much about trusting God and the unreliability of earthly investments. This is a powerful little gift book on the joy of giving.

"There's a fundamental connection between our spiritual lives and how we think about and handle money." (8)

Key Chapter: Chapter 1 - Buried Treasure

The Treasure Principle is based on Matthew 6:19-21, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth…. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven…." (12)

"Storing up earthly treasures isn't simply wrong. It's just plain stupid." (Because they won't last.) Switch investment vehicles. Transfer funds from earth (volatile) to heaven (dependable). "To accumulate vast earthly treasures that you can't possibly hold on to for long is equivalent to stockpiling Confederate money even though you know it's about to become worthless." (13-14)

Christ is all for storing up treasures for ourselves. He has a treasure mentality. "God expects us to act out of enlightened self-interest." "He wants us to live to His glory, but what is to His glory is always to our good." "In fact, it is by serving God and others that we store up heavenly treasures. Everyone gains; no one loses." (15)

"The money God entrusts to us here on earth is eternal investment capital. Every day is an opportunity to buy up more shares in His kingdom." (19)

Key Insights

"God owns everything. I'm His money manager." (23) "We should be thinking like stewards, investment managers, always looking for the best place to invest the Owner's money." (25)

"Giving jump-starts our relationship with God. It opens our fists so we can receive what God has for us." (32)

"The more things we own-the greater their total mass-the more they grip us, setting us in orbit around them." (33)

Is it wrong to be motivated by reward? "No, it isn't. If it were wrong, Christ wouldn't offer it to us as a motivation. Reward is His idea, not ours." (39)

Many are not excited about going to heaven. "If your treasures are on earth, that means each day brings you closer to losing your treasures." (40)

"My heart always goes where I put God's money." (41) "Show me your checkbook, your VISA statement and your receipts, and I'll show you where your heart is." "As surely as the compass needle follows north, your heart will follow your treasure." (42)

"The greatest deterrent to giving is this: the illusion that earth is our home." (44) "Heaven, not earth, is my home." (45) "Paradoxically, our home is a place we've never been. But it's the place we were made for, the place made for us." "Start sending more ahead to our true home." (46)

Visit a landfill or a junkyard. That's the final resting place for the things in our lives. (47)

"Nothing makes a journey more difficult than a heavy backpack filled with nice but unnecessary thing. Pilgrims travel light." (51)

"Giving is the only antidote to materialism." (56) "God's money has a higher purpose than my affluence. Giving is a joyful surrender to a greater person and a greater agenda. Giving affirms Christ's lordship. It dethrones me and exalts Him. It breaks the chains of mammon that would enslave me." (57)

"It's unhealthy to view tithing as a place to stop, but it can still be a good place to start." "Tithing isn't the ceiling of giving; it's the floor." (62)

"He doesn't look at just what we give. He also looks at what we keep." (63)

Giving beyond our ability (2 Corinthians 8:3), "means pushing our giving past the point where the figures add up." (65)

"Have you ever played one of those card games where the winner is the one who runs out of cards first? At the end of the game, every card left counts against you. The American dream is to die with as many cards in your hand as possible. But maybe we've got it backwards." (69)

"God prospers me not to raise my standard of living, but to raise my standard of giving." (73) "We don't own the store. We just work here!" What if the FedEx man opened your package and took it home? It's not for him, just for him to deliver! "Just because God puts His money in our hands doesn't mean He intends for it to stay there!" (74)

If God wanted to complete world evangelization he might give great wealth and the gift of giving to a people. "The question is, what are we doing with the wealth He's entrusted to us to reach the lost and help the suffering?" (81)

"Giving to God's great causes infuses us with a sense of destiny. It's no accident that you live in this time and place in history." (85)

The Treasure Principle
Multnomah Publishers, 2001, 92 pp.

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Book Notes by David Mays
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