Grace Economics

Without a doubt I believe that when God created me, He put in me a curiosity about stepping back from the detail of things to see the larger picture. When I look at one single component, my first thought is usually not about the component itself but rather how it fits into the larger system. When in college I earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics, so that is obviously a topic that interests me. If you find the idea of studying Economics rather far down on your list of things to do, maybe near getting a cavity filled or visiting the nice man from the IRS, don’t worry I’m not writing about the discipline itself. I’m actually discussing the origin of the word “Economics”. (Remember I like to step back and see where things came from.)

We get our word from the Greek word οἰκονομία (oikonomos) which comes from the word for household (oikos) and the word for law or rule (nomos). In other words, in its Greek origin, economics is about rules for a household. In this sense, it stems from managing the finances of a household. Every house, even Warren Buffet’s, has some finite amount of resources at its disposal. Economics determines how much the household is willing to spend on various goods and services, how it allocates its resources. Resource allocation is a big part of studying economics.

This Greek word appears ten times in the New Testament and is usually translated “steward”, it is also translated “manager”, or “treasurer”. Whenever you see the word “steward” in the Bible, think economics. One such occurrence of “steward” is 1 Peter 4:10.

As each one has received a [special] gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. (NASB)

The term steward is typically associated with the person in the household charged with allocating financial resources on behalf of the head of the house. Peter is applying the term to each of us. We Christians are supposed to allocate resources on behalf of God, the head of our household. What resource are we to allocate? We are entrusted with His grace and asked to allocate it where needed.

Grace is one of those words often heard but infrequently really understood. The Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias has said, “The marvelous story of the Gospel is spelled out in one word: grace.” If we are the stewards of this grace, perhaps we should spend more time understanding it. If you detect a lack of God’s grace in your surroundings, ask yourself how well you are allocating this resource as its official steward.

Stewards entrusted with financial responsibility have to be frugal and shrewd in how they allocate the money since it is a finite resource. Stewards of grace have no such restriction, we have the awesome task of stewarding a limitless supply. It’s time for some grace allocation.

Published by Eric M. Johnson

I am a follower of Christ, husband to a beautiful worshiper, and father to two amazing sons. My day job is at a great company in which I am fortunate to be a partner. I hold a Bachelor's Degree in Economics and a Master of Science Degree in Information Systems. I enjoy studying God's Word and have taken several graduate level Biblical Studies courses, never in pursuit of a degree. In my free time I enjoy traveling, outdoors, and sports. I am an Iowa Hawkeye fan which is a character building experience.