Many Americans live with financial stress but long for financial peace. In The Generosity Ladder, Nelson Searcy offers practical, biblical advice for how to fulfill that longing. Searcy mentions sound financial practices such as getting out of debt, creating a budget, and living within one’s means (38, 76, 103–105). But he focuses on how to “live an openhanded life,” which is the essence of Jesus’ teachings about money and possessions (33).
The openhanded life requires a paradigm shift: “your money is not yours. You are just a manager. God doesn’t give us increase so that we can be more comfortable or advance our lifestyle. He gives us more so that we can give more” (90). But it also involves taking incremental steps toward greater levels of giving, from “initial giving” (43) to “proportional giving” or tithing (54) to “sacrificial giving” (82). And it results in blessing: “When you begin tithing, God’s spiritual laws kick into high gear. Since you are honoring him, he honors you. I’m not promising his blessings are always going to be tangible. But they will be there, tangible and intangible” (73).
I don’t disagree with Searcy’s perspective on generosity. However, I was disappointed that a book about “financial peace” focused on only one aspect of the biblical teaching on financial stewardship and dealt so cursorily with sound financial practices. The whole biblical teaching is what leads to financial peace, not merely the generosity component of it.
The Generosity Ladder is short (about 100 pages), easy to read, and inexpensive ($6.99). If you register at GenerosityLadder.com, you will receive additional resources to use with the book. However, if pastors use this book in sermon series or church members in Sunday school or small groups, they should supplement it with Christian books that address other aspects of stewardship.
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