Few books have made as big an impact on my life (outside of the Bible) like Randy Alcorn’s book, The Treasure Principle. It’s a book I try to reread again every year or so. As the subtitle states, the book will challenge you to discover the secret to joyful giving.
Without question for me, I had a great example of what it means to be a joyful giver. As a child I watched my father, without any hesitation, give over and over and over. It never seemed to matter to him…if there was a need, he would do what he could to help meet it. Literally, he was the kind of man who would give the shirt off his back if someone needed it. On countless occasions, I watched him be obedient to what God asks all of us to do, to give joyfully. He gave to ministry, he gave to people in need, he gave to people who weren’t necessarily in need.
As a little boy, I remember a family of seven who were so incredibly poor that they didn’t know where their next meal was going to come from. Upon hearing about this family, my father went and bought hundreds of dollars worth of groceries, several sets of clothes for each family member, and then handed the family a handful of cash. He walked away not expecting, and in my opinion, not even desiring that anyone noticed what he did. As I sit and write now, I can think of time after time, story after story of my dad giving. He was a man who had the gift of giving, and he put his gift to work as God brought him opportunity after opportunity.
As Randy Alcorn states in The Treasure Principle, we are not the owners of what’s in our checking account, our savings account, our 401K, or even the cash in our pocket. God is. We are simply a manager of His money, of His possessions. He owns it all and He gives us the responsibility of managing what He places in our possession. My home is not my home, my truck is not my truck, my TV is not my TV, my clothes are not my clothes….all of it, everything, it all belongs to God. As the owner, God has the right at anytime to tell me, the manager, exactly what He wants to do with what He has allowed to be in my possession.
Having this mindset ought to be freeing for us as believers. It ought to cause us to live in such a way that we have a loose grip on all “our” possessions. It ought to cause us to be the first one to respond when there is a need. It ought to cause us to always be looking to set aside money so that we are able to give to special needs when God brings them our way. It ought to cause us to have a kingdom mindset, and radically change the way we spend money. It ought to cause us to be joyful and smile as we write a check to kingdom work. It ought to cause us to be good stewards of what God’s blessed us with, not taking anything for granted, but treating every possession as being on loan from God.
My father was not perfect. In fact, he had his share of weaknesses, but the impact he made on hundreds of people he joyfully gave to was and still is profound. I’m thankful for His powerful influence on me, and even though he’s been gone for several years now, I’m still challenged by the way God used His giving to impact my life even now. He discovered the secret of joyful giving, and I pray I’m on my way.