Money, Possessions, and Eternity: A Discussion with Randy Alcorn–Part 1

Randy Alcorn is the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries (EPM), a nonprofit ministry dedicated to teaching the principles of God’s Word and assisting the church in ministering to the unreached, unfed, unborn, uneducated, unreconciled, and unsupported people around the world.  His ministry focus is communicating the strategic importance of using our earthly time, money, possessions, and opportunities to invest in need-meeting ministries that count for eternity.

We were able to talk to Randy about Money, Possessions, and Eternity and how to have a biblically centered mindset regarding our treasures. Because of Randy’s rich answers to each of our questions, we’ve broken this interview into a four-part miniseries on finances. Be sure to check back tomorrow for part 2.

Vyrso Voice: Why do you think people find it so easy to compartmentalize their relationship to stuff apart from their spirituality?

Randy Alcorn: We find it easy because materialism is the air we breathe. It’s just normal. We become blind to it, and it has blinded us to our own spiritual poverty. Jesus rebuked the Laodicean Christians because although they were materially wealthy, they were desperately poor in the things of God (Revelation 3:17-18). Puritan Richard Baxter said, “When men prosper in the world, their minds are lifted up with their estates, and they can hardly believe that they are so ill, while they feel themselves so well.”

I think one of the most basic things we need to do in order to break the bonds of materialism is to always think in terms of God’s ownership. From beginning to end, Scripture repeatedly emphasizes God’s ownership of everything. Stewardship is living in the light of that overriding truth. It’s living with the awareness that we are managers, not owners; that we are caretakers of God’s assets, which he has entrusted to us for this brief season here on earth. How we handle money and possessions demonstrates who we really believe is their true owner—God or us.

Some of us have heard that before, but the fact that it doesn’t sink in is demonstrated by how we go about spending our money. In the financial world, a good investment manager is very careful, and never takes unnecessary risks. He doesn’t do with his client’s holdings whatever he feels like. Why? Because he knows those assets don’t belong to him; they belong to his client. Good stewards always act in the owners’ best interests, consulting and listening carefully to the owner in order to understand and implement their investment priorities.

If we really believe God is the owner of all that has been entrusted to us, we should be regularly asking him, “What do you want me to do with your money and your possessions?” When we fail to do that, we demonstrate that we don’t get Stewardship 101–it all belongs to God. That has tremendous implications for our relationship to stuff, as well as our view of debt, our spending habits, and our philosophy of giving and investing in eternity.

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