What I love about Mac Pier’s new book, A Disruptive Generosity: Stories of Transforming Cities through Strategic Giving, is that he hits the topic of Christians and money straight on. This book is unabashedly about how specifically wealthy Christians can use their money to make an eternal impact, and I think Pier is on to something.
I hear so many Christians torn over the subject of money. Many feel like it’s even wrong to be rich. “Aren’t our true treasures in heaven anyways?” some might ask.
While, ultimately, that is true, Mac Pier also doesn’t want Christians to demonize what he calls “the loaves and fishes of our resources” (19) here on earth. He argues in his book that Christians should use their “time, talent and treasures to disrupt the world and help transform it, from scarlet sins to souls white as wool” (19).
The idea that money can play a role in evangelism and discipleship is a provocative one, but I do think Pier strikes the right balance. His audience is very specific – he is calling Christians who make over six-figure incomes to use their money generously and radically for the sake of the Gospel.
The premise of the book is based on three big ideas. Mac Pier argues that God’s big vision for the world can be seen in three ways. First, through the book of Isaiah, where he argues that we can see a picture of God coming to transform cities, and with the Savior as the ultimate expression of God’s generosity. Second, Christian leaders can and are having cultural influence through their philanthropy – and each chapter of his book tells a different story of a billionaire Christian couple who has used their money for such an influence. Third, Pier shows how each story in his book is connected through a relational network of friends. Each of the 31 friends/stories that Pier shares all met at the 1974 Lausanne Congress hosted by Billy Graham, and each answered Graham’s call to disrupt the world for the sake of the Gospel.
The book is clearly written by a philantrophist and not a storyteller, and often the stories can ramble a bit. Nevertheless, Pier cannot be faulted for his succinct presentations of inspirational stories and challenges. Each chapter concludes with “points to consider” and this is really the point of application for the reader. His points range from investing in ethnic and international believers to being informed, engaged and willing to sacrifice for believers in the Middle East.
Mac Pier’s ethnic and cultural sensitivities toward the subject of money and the Gospel is respect-worthy, and I feel that it’s one of the strongest aspects of his book.
If you’re still not convinced that Christians either a) have lots of money or b) use this money for the Gospel, consider this quote from the book by Bob Doll. He is a regular presenter at the Movement Day Conference in New York City, co-hosted by Tim Keller, and his message outlines the following principles:
- Jesus spent more time talking about money and possession than any other subject; 2. Don’t store up wealth on earth (Matt. 6:19); 3. You can’t take it with you; send your wealth ahead; 4. Earth is not our home, and everything we have God have us (38).
If you are a Christian with the sort of “loaves-and-fishes resources” that Mac Pier is talking about, I would highly encourage you to read this book and consider how you too could use your wealth as part of God’s plan for disruptive generosity in the city.
You can also check out our devotion from 2 Corinthians on Christian financial givers called “A Word To Money Holders” here.