What have you got to give?
Love Let Go: Radical Generosity for the Real World
Laura Sumner Truax and Amalya Campell
William B. Eerdmans
Review by Stephanie Chase
What is the subject?
Truax and Campell explore generosity by relating the story of LaSalle Street Church (downtown Chicago), who received an unexpected windfall of $1.6 million from the sale of property. What should LaSalle do with this money: meet the demands of their fiscal year, invest in a parking lot, contribute to their ministries, pay off the mortgage? The leadership team decides to use a portion of the windfall to encourage generous living in each individual member of the congregation, who consequently receive a $500 cheque with the instructions to “do something good in the world.”
Who is the author?
Laura Sumner Truax is the senior pastor of LaSalle Street Church. Amalya Campell served on the leadership council of LaSalle during their Love Let Go campaign. Their intimate knowledge of the life and ministry of LaSalle Street Church – and its unexpected financial situation – lends authenticity and trustworthiness to their book, for they write what they know.
Why this book?
When we talk about money and financial generosity in our churches, it is easy for the conversation to become theoretical. Love Let Go brings generosity back to earth, to the streets of downtown Chicago to be exact, reminding us that generosity is not only possible in the real world, but an essential part of who God has created us to be.
As Sumner and Campbell explain how various LaSalle members used their $500 cheques, and how the church handled the process of discerning how to use the rest of the money, we are encouraged to use what has been given to us today to practice the radical generosity of God’s kingdom.
Comment on the book’s theological perspective in light of the MB Confession of Faith.
The generosity advocated in this book aligns well with Article 15 of the MB Confession of Faith: “Christians do not claim any of their possessions as their own, but manage all their resources, including money, time, abilities, and influence, in generous ways that give glory to God.” What can the MB community learn from the stories of generosity presented in Love Let Go? How will we choose to use what we have been graciously given by God to serve him today?
Sumner and Campbell remind us that our God is a God of abundance, not scarcity. We live in a world that fears scarcity – what will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear? (Matthew 6:31). However, we need to reframe our story of scarcity around the generosity of God: “your future, your goods, your family – all are in my hands. And all will be well. There will always be enough.” As a college student, I attended a workshop by Erin Goheen Glanville, in which she framed the church as a “contrast community,” where we are called to be “a community of enough in a world that fears scarcity.” We must think long and hard on these things, in our culture of consumerism which desires always more.
Who should read it?
I will finish seminary soon and (I hope!) enter the work force. This life change brings new questions. What will I do with my paycheque? What does it mean to give? How much should I give? When is giving sacrificial? How much should I save for emergencies and for my family? If you have ever asked these questions, Love Let Go is for you.
“When generosity serves as our first response, we become vessels through which resources flow; we act as stewards, not owners.”
“What do you have? What resources sit at your disposal? What characteristics do you possess to solve this problem? That’s the beginning. That’s where generosity starts. With where you are and who you are right now, at this very moment. We don’t need to worry about what we don’t have. Because God’s got that covered.”
[Stephanie Chase is studying theology at Briercrest Seminary. She calls Regina and Parliament Community Church home.