Book Review: The Root of Riches

I just finished up reading Chuck Bentley’s new bookThe Root of Riches:  What if everything you think about money is wrong?  I enjoyed it and would highly recommend the book to all dollarsanddoctrine readers.  I have to admit, you’d think the CEO of one of the largest financial ministries in the world coming out with a book on money would be full of charts, graphs, spreadsheets, and strategies…the typical sort of stuff in financial books.  But Chuck does nothing like that.  He focuses almost entirely on our hearts.  Save for a few simple financial principles in the final chapter, Root of Riches is a full on deep-sea diving expedition to the deepest corners of our hearts. 

What’s the mission of the book?  In my estimation, I think it’s two fold.  First, the book takes due time to sink its teeth into the idea that life is found in money, possessions, pleasure, and status:

“More money means a better life.  It’s such an easy sell because most people actually believe it–as much as they believe in the law of gravity.  They just won’t admit it.” (36)

“Darwinism gives full birth to the selfish pride of a world that denies God’s existence and reaps the fruit of their deception.  Everybody will be grabbing, gobbling, coveting, cheating, stealing and lying, all to get more at any cost and calling it a successful life.” (78)

These sort of definitions of a “successful life” are brought under strict scrutiny for the first half of the book.  However, rather than standing on a soapbox and shouting at the masses, Chuck offers a pretty honest account of how his own pursuits, hopes, and dreams were set entirely upon financial success for years.  His vulnerability makes the book approachable and his experiences make the book relateable.  In an effective and efficent manner, he explains that: “We all want more of what we love” (83), and the Bible is pretty clear on what destination the love of self, money, and pleasure will take us to.  The stern reality with which our culture (and our sin) makes a god out of money and success is tackled head on.  Which brings us to the second mission of the book…  What should we be loving?

In a smart and sneaky sort of way, Chuck uses money to explain the gospel.  I picture someone grabbing the book off the shelf thinking they are going to learn about money (because who would want to have everything they think about money to be wrong!), and instead, they are introduced to Christ.

“Christ must be more than Savior; He must be Lord of your life.  There’s an invisible usurper, a usurper that pushes out the rightful King and sits on the throne of your heart.  Your must throw out the usurper, the love of money and things.  You must make Christ alone Lord of your life.” (139)

Carrying the metaphor of trees, roots, and fruits through the entire book, Chuck shows how our beliefs (roots) end up shaping our behaviors (fruits).  Attention is given to show just how much what we believe will shape what we do with money (or anything else for that matter).  Ultimately, summing the book up in the simple statement that:  “The root of riches is found in Christ.” (111) 

Saying the book preaches the gospel may seem on the surface to be less beneficial to already professing Christians, but I’d have to disagree.  Sadly, American Christians tend to be more easily identified with cultural norms than biblical instruction.  There is nothing in this book that won’t resonate with a Christian willing to be honest with his own hopes, dreams, and definitions of success.  I am about to put out my third book on the Bible and money, and this book challenged and convicted me on deep levels. 

There is something about the book that is inspirationally  simple. It does a really good job of bringing Christians back to simple, pure-hearted devotion to Christ.  I don’t think there are any of us out there that wouldn’t admit we could use some more of that!  This book takes us on a journey that starts in our wallets, travels deep into our hearts, hopes, and dreams, before taking us to our final destination:  the person of Jesus Christ.  It’s a journey I’d recommend to anyone willing to take it. 

(For more on the book, or to purchase click here.)

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