A discipline that is learned and lived
Christian stewardship is a discipline that must be learned and lived. In the New Testament we see the Greek word oikonomia (stewardship) referenced. Oikonomia means the act of managing what belongs to another person. A person is not born with this knowledge of stewardship, it has to be learned from other wise, mature Christians. Also, it is important to recognize that the exercise of oikonomia is more about one’s prayerful spiritual development than one’s financial development.
As we search further the variations of the word stewardship, we come to the Greek word oikonomos (steward). An oikonomos is a person in charge of the affairs of another; one who acts as a manager; one who is entrusted with the management of the material things owned by someone else.
When we explore the role of the steward in the New Testament period, we learn that the steward functioned like a member of the family. The steward was expected to exercise intelligence and initiative, unlike a slave or servant. We also come to understand that stewardship involved both relationship and responsibilities for the master as well as accountability and faithfulness to the master.
A church can have a tremendous influence on its members in creating a stewardship culture that cultivates kingdom-minded stewards. Church leadership can foster this stewardship culture through regularly presenting biblical truths about the stewardship of our lives, including the possessions God has entrusted to us, along with His expectations, promises, rewards and punishments.
The Kentucky Baptist Foundation is honored to assist Kentucky Baptist churches in fostering a stewardship culture among its members by providing education to church members on how to achieve their Christian estate planning objectives and through providing confidential estate stewardship consultation to individuals seeking guidance on how to support the ministries of their church through their estate plan.
Richard Carnes is president of the Kentucky Baptist Foundation.