Your supporters consider you saintly and self-sacrificing. Your Middle Eastern friends might beg to differ. So might God. Wealth and Piety explores biblical and Arab cultural expectations for getting, using, talking about, and giving money. This book contains hundreds of verbatim observations about local and foreign wealth by thirty-five Middle Easterners from nine countries, representing all major religious groups. These comments are a mirror in which workers can see their own status and moral reputation as people of the region see them.
Combining biblical commentary, cultural analysis and practical advice for expats, Wealth and Piety is designed for both new and experienced workers, as well as mission leaders, administrators, supporters, and donors. Although focused on the Middle East, much of the wisdom of this book is valuable for workers anywhere in the Muslim world or in societies characterized by patronage or an honor/shame orientation.
- ISBN: 9780878080793
- Pages: 214
- Binding: Paperback
- Published: 2018
- Publisher: William Carey Library
Warning: This book could change your life. Can a comfortable person and a poor person be friends? What do Middle Easterners think about that? What does the Bible teach? Rich and surprising findings, with practical applications, drawing on thirty interviews and a lifetime of relationships. Thought-provoking and maybe game-changing. Read at your own risk!
Karen Shaw has done a great service not only to expatriate workers but to us as national Christian leaders who are also often perceived, in times of crisis, as having “outside resources” to fall back on which the “normal” national Christian does not have! “Faith” takes on a different dimension in those who only have God to fall back on! May this book contribute to a deeper understanding of the relation between Christian faith, wealth, and true piety!
Karen Shaw’s timely teaching should be carefully studied, discussed, and implemented by we believers whose natural inclinations— supported and sustained by our society’s self-serving interests and its demonstrable capacity for self-deception—have been lulled into being mere hearers of God’s word on mammon, but not doers, deceiving our own selves. I will read and recommend this small book again and again.
This book is a timely contribution to the missiological literature on wealth and righteousness in a cross-cultural context. It is also a practical guide for effective mission in the Middle-East: Perceptions do matter even when one’s own Western culture says otherwise. Dr. Shaw has earned the right to share these valuable insights as she has been immersed in Lebanese and Middle Eastern culture for many years.
Do you want to honor Christ with your money? Read this book! Do you not want to honor Christ with your money? Even more urgently, read this book! The biblical exploration of what it means to be both rich and righteous will open your heart and your purse. The insights from the Middle East will give you a fresh perspective on your own culture and its handling of money, and will also shed even more light on the Bible. Wherever you live in the world, read this book!
This is one of the most important books on money, morality, and the Christian spiritual life ever written. Its insight into Middle Eastern perspectives is especially valuable. Karen Shaw helps us delve deeply into biblical perspectives, then offers us an astonishing range of Middle Eastern wisdom on wealth and piety, and associated themes such as patronage, generosity, hospitality, appearance, God’s sovereignty, relationships between rich and poor, spiritual friendship, and family life. The book is a wonder, and one that I will consult regularly and treasure.
This is a book that will open your eyes on new insights on wealth and piety, allowing the Bible to speak to our daily life. Dr. Shaw challenges the reader through sharing life stories from the Middle East and offering practical advice. When you think about money in
the life of the church, this book is a great resource.
Wealth and Piety leads us through one of the most profound and complex aspects of life and witness in the Middle East. Karen’s mix of careful listening, probing questions, biblical reflection and gentle yet insightful critique is the fruit of many years in the region, and models exactly what we look for in cross-cultural workers. This will be high on our list of reading both for those who come and those who prepare them.
Starting from a Biblical survey of the “righteous rich,” Dr. Shaw leads us into a conversation with Middle Easterners around this very subject. The unique opportunity she gives us for reflection and then self-reflection is invaluable. A must read for not only the newly arrived expatriate but also for those with decades of experience. I only wish this book had been available when I first moved to the Middle East.
Foreword by Timothy C. Tennent, PhD
Definition of Terms and Language
You Can’t do Everything!
2. The Righteous Rich in the Old Testament
Abraham: Our Rich, Righteous Father
Job: Permanently Righteous, Temporarily Rich
Righteousness in Deuteronomy
Wealth in Deuteronomy
Wealth and the Commands
The Unrighteous Rich and Amos
3. The Righteous Rich in the New Testament
Righteousness and Riches in the Sermon on the Mount
The Acts of the Apostles and the Church in Jerusalem
James and the Unrighteous Rich
The Righteous Rich in 1 Timothy
Introducing the Interviewees
4. The Righteous (Rich) and Teaching Morality to Children
Teaching Children Morality
The Importance of Child-rearing
Economic Piety: What and How Do Families Teach?
Middle Eastern Child-rearing, Wealth, Piety, and the Bible
Teaching Children Morality in Practice
5. Praising God and Acknowledging His Sovereignty
Praise, Sovereignty, and the Bible
Praise and God’s Sovereignty in Practice
Giving to God
Generosity to Family
Helping the Poor
Giving and the Honor of the Recipient
Class and Generosity
Motives for Giving
Giving and the Wider Causes of Poverty
Generosity and the Bible
Giving in Practice
7. Money: Where Did it Come From?
The Source of Wealth and the Bible
The Sources of Wealth in Practice
The Appearance of Lesser Wealth
The Appearance of Greater Wealth
Appearances and the Bible
Appearances in Practice
9. Friendship between Rich and Poor
Barriers to Friendship between Rich and Poor
Possibilities of Friendship
What the Poor Want from the Rich
The Bible and Friendship Between Rich and Poor
Friendship in Practice
10. Patrons and Clients
An Introduction to the Patron-Client System
The Relationship Between Patrons and Clients
Advantages of Patronage
Disadvantages of Patronage
The Righteous Patron
Men of Religion and Patronage
Patronage and the Bible
Patronage in Practice