According to Sydney business consultant Dr Ken Long, many people are reluctant to give because when they do, they are left with less to live on. It can feel like a threat to our independence and standard of living. Economic security is a cause for concern—especially with so many people working reduced hours or being out of work.
But Dr Long’s first book The Giving Equation, released recently by Signs Publishing, recalculates this equation, offering a biblical and mind-shifting perspective on why we should give. He shows that giving has significant benefits and that we actually have more to gain if we give than we have by holding on to our money.
“I believe that God asks us to give for our benefit,” says Dr Long. “And God is so compassionate to our human way of thinking that He often describes giving from a consumer perspective—what’s in it for me.”
The Giving Equation presents two ways of thinking about money: the Me-economy and the G-economy. A Me-economy mindset is about holding on to money to protect our lifestyle and achieve financial security and independence—it’s the natural human way of thinking. On the other hand, people with a G-economy mindset find freedom in trusting God to provide and experience the abundant life He promises to those who give. More than that, they develop a benevolent, generous character that reflects the character of the ultimate Giver of all.
“Ken’s insights into biblical stewardship are exciting, fresh, transformative and hope-filled,” says Christina Hawkins, director of Discipleship Ministries—Stewardship for the South Pacific Division. “The more households living out this transformed mindset, the more powerful the impact of the church will be.”
James Kiangua, director of Stewardship for the Eastern Highlands and Simbu Mission in Papua New Guinea, heard Dr Long present on the themes of his book last year. “Ken’s presentation on the giving equation was definitely counter-cultural,” he says. “Coming from a ‘big-man’ culture preoccupied with the Me-economy, giving was all about satisfying my ego. My motives for giving were protecting my fame and identity. After thoughtful examination, I resolved to live by the G-economy. It has replaced my ego, and drives everything I do and say.”
As well as providing food for personal thought, The Giving Equation is also a practical resource for learning with others. “It contains five Bible case studies that draw out principles of giving,” Dr Long says. “These are summarised and presented in study-guide form at the back of the book, and can be used for small groups, Sabbath school classes or family worship.” Resources like this are in demand at the moment, with many people gathering in small groups in homes rather than in larger congregations for worship.
The Giving Equation is available from Adventist bookstores in Australia and New Zealand, or online.