Stewardship And The Divine Economy -- By: Russell Woodbridge

Journal: Faith and Mission
Volume: FM 24:3 (Summer 2007)
Article: Stewardship And The Divine Economy
Author: Russell Woodbridge

Stewardship And The Divine Economy

Russell Woodbridge

Associate Dean
Assistant Professor of Theology and Church History
Southeastern College at Wake Forest
Wake Forest, North Carolina 27587

Referring to generosity as a display of virtue—in a rare moment of truth, Don Quixote, the jousting-at-windmills knight errant, opines, “The owner of wealth is not made happy by owning it but by spending it, and not by spending it capriciously, but by knowing how to spend it well.” Managing wealth is a formidable challenge for every Christian living among a materialistic, consumption-driven society.

To assist the Christian community, numerous books, seminars, and financial courses offer sound biblical principles mingled with common sense. The steady sales of financial books and participation in church-based courses testify to the popularity of learning how to manage money according to God’s Word. Due to these programs, thousands of Christians have become better stewards of their finances and improved their financial situation.

Popular books and seminars rightfully urge Christians to establish financial priorities, create a budget, eliminate debt, and save for the future. Certainly these steps pave the road to financial freedom and they work to help Christians climb the ladder of success. Undoubtedly, these materials are helpful and necessarily focus on the practical aspects of money management. They do, however, often neglect serious theological reflection about why Christians ought to be competent stewards.

Every financial book informs the readers how to plan and organize a budget to bring about financial order. Without setting priorities and creating order, managing money well is impossible. The question arises, why should Christians plan and order their finances? Certainly this action is necessary to be faithful stewards and thereby to glorify God, but perhaps there is a theological rationale of planning and order to consider. Order in our financial stewardship may well reflect the order in the eternal Godhead, particularly related to the outworking of salvation in history. This article will examine the meaning of stewardship in the New Testament and the plan of salvation as it relates to the order located within the Trinity.

Stewardship In The New Testament

In the New Testament, the term stewardship (oikonomia) combines the Greek words for house (oikos) and law (nomos). In classical Greek literature, oikonomia indicates household management, administration of a state or administrative activity.1 In the New Testament, oikonomia primari...

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