Practicing the King’s Economy, an Interview with TE Robby Holt
Robby Holt is a Teaching Elder (TE) in the Presbyterian Church in America currently pastoring North Shore Fellowship in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Holt offers insights on God’s invitation to live generously in this new book.
King Jesus changes everything. He changes the way we earn, view, and share our financial resources. As the title suggests, Practicing the King’s Economy examines—among other things—how we steward our time, skills, and finances as members of God’s Kingdom. Co-authored by TE Robby Holt and Michael Rhodes, with Brian Fikkert, the new book is intended to be a constructive follow-up to topics raised in When Helping Hurts.
Here are three biblical principles for Christian generosity highlighted in the book:
1) God’s Kingdom is a banquet. God loves to call to the weak, the poor, the “low and despised,” and invite us to his banquet table (Luke 14; 1 Corinthians 1:26-31). Having called us, his call to remember the poor is repeated throughout the Bible. Practicing the King’s Economy offers a model of identifying with the poor that looks more like a potluck than a soup kitchen. Our all-wealthy Savior became poor to rescue us from our insurmountable indebtedness. People who revel in the gospel of grace count it a privilege to identify with people trapped in any form of poverty. The soup kitchen model has “the haves” dishing out buckets of material (soup, clothes, wisdom) to the “have-nots.” We need soup kitchens; but this model is insufficient.
The potluck model means enabling everyone to bring a plate to the table. It is not just about who gets a check from our wealth. It includes whom we hire and how we invest in other image bearers as partners who can contribute. We are free to see our businesses, our homes, and our churches thrive as places where materially poor people feel free to participate—to make their unique contributions in the communal life we share with them. We get to remove obstacles and create opportunities to make sure such places are hospitable to every economic class, especially ones that have been traditionally excluded.
2) Generosity is transformational. We imitate God when we give and His generosity is the standard for our own. Generosity, the book explains, is a heart-shaping antidote to idolatry, which is, in fact, an economic issue. Practicing generosity as citizens in God’s generous Kingdom, however, requires genuine life change. You have to adopt what authors Rhodes and Holt described as a “brand new training regimen.”
According to Holt, “Our culture is discipling us to live like individuals who are committed to a consumer lifestyle. To bend our lifestyles toward God’s Kingdom—to become mature, fruit-bearing members of the Kingdom—requires the Holy Spirit’s help. We have to train for it.” In other words, we must learn to live for God’s promised eschatology, not our current culture’s consumer propaganda.
3) Generosity puts our faith in action. Moving from abstract idea to concrete action, the book illustrates examples of cross-shaped giving, which the authors define as “sacrificial giving that is both costly and community oriented.”
Some ideas for cross-shaped giving include:
- Abstaining from something for the purpose of giving more;
- Giving in ways that create community;
- “Right-sizing” your church’s budget;
- And giving together.
Those ideas could lead to substituting one meal a week with rice and beans to set aside money for a donation, scheduling weekly communal potlucks, or re-evaluating your business plans, your family budget or your church budget in light of God’s priorities. The authors offer many examples of bending your business, your bank account, your backyard or your banquets towards God’s generous, restorative Kingdom.
The gospel drives giving because it is an imitation of our Savior’s ultimate act of becoming poor so that through his poverty we might become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9).
Practicing the King’s Economy provides a fuller understanding of godly economic living from cover to cover. It provides challenging ideas, calls to action, and encouragement to readers through creative examples of Kingdom living. It calls us to live and give differently.
The PCA Foundation provides tools to facilitate generosity. Learn more about our Advise & Consult Fund, a donor-advised fund with no fees.