Oikonomos: The Edifier

ralph

by Ralph Neighbour

In the oikos family, there are two important ministries that take place. Today we will examine oikonomos. This term appears several times, including Matthew 24:25: “Who then is the faithful and wise servant (oikonomos) whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household (oikos) to give them their food at the proper time?”

An oikonomos is a household servant who has been entrusted with the assets of his master. He is responsible to observe the members of the oikos and provide them food at the proper times. There is a double accountability: he is responsible to the master for how he distributes his wealth and he is responsible for the well being of the oikos. His duties are to give proper rations at the proper time.

The context is to meet physical needs. Every cell member is entrusted to become an oikonomos within the group. An illustration of this is in Acts 2:45: “Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.” And Acts 4:32: “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.” They knew God owned everything they had! (Can you imagine this happening in a traditional church?)

Let me illustrate: A young woman entered our Houston cell who was running from debts in California. She tearfully told our cell about her situation. One of the wealthier men in the group said,”Ralph, should I cut her a check for her debt?” I replied, “Do you want to teach her to fish or give her a fish?” The cell functioned as an oikonomos, offering her a plan.

They helped her call every debtor she had run from and inform them of her new address. She would have to get a second job, using 100% of the income to pay down the debt. The women in the cell would cook food and leave it in her refrigerator and clean her house and launder her clothes. We changed our cell meeting time to accommodate her new schedule. For 11 months we backed her as she worked two jobs and paid off her debt. I shall never forget the party we had when the goal was met.

“Proper rations at the proper time!” But there is another dimension to the role of the cell member as an oikonomos: using the “Kingdom of God” resources the Master entrusts to us–manifesting spiritual gifts, properly dispensed as needed.

Paul makes it plain in 1 Corinthians 14:24-25 that when an oikos cell member needs to receive healing, deliverance, etc., the agent of Christ’s empowerment will be one of the oikonomos members.

We become household servants entrusted with the “spirituals.” Christ’s resources are manifested between us as we function in the Spirit. This dimension of ministry is to be equally experienced by all and this becomes the witness of the Presence and Power of Christ within the cell.

Korean translation (click here)

Portuguese translation (click here)

Spanish translation:

Oikonomos: El Edificador

Por Ralph Neighbour

En la familia oikos, hay dos ministerios importantes que tienen lugar. Hoy vamos a examinar oikonomos. Este término aparece varias veces, incluyendo Mateo 24:25: “¿Quién es, pues, el siervo fiel y prudente (oikonomos), a quien el amo ha puesto al frente de los siervos en su casa (oikos) para darles su alimento al tiempo apropiado?”

Un oikonomos es un sirviente que se le ha confiado el patrimonio de su amo. Él es responsable de observar los miembros de los oikos y proveerles comida en los momentos adecuados. Hay una doble responsabilidad: él es responsable ante el maestro en cómo se distribuye su riqueza y es responsable del bienestar de los oikos. Sus funciones son dar raciones adecuadas en el momento adecuado.

El contexto es satisfacer las necesidades fsicas. Cada miembro de la célula se le confa ha convertirse en un oikonomos dentro del grupo. Un ejemplo de esto se encuentra en Hechos 2:45: “Vendan sus posesiones y bienes, y lo repartan a todos según la necesidad.” Y Hechos 4:32: “Todos los creyentes eran de un solo corazón y una mente Nadie consideraba suya ninguna de sus posesiones, pero compartan todo lo que tenan.”. Saban todo que lo que tenan le perteneca a Dios! (¿Puedes imaginar que esto ocurra en una iglesia tradicional?)

Permtame ilustrar: Una mujer joven entró en nuestra célula en Houston y estaba huyendo de las deudas en California. Ella dijo entre lágrimas su situación. Uno de los hombres más ricos del grupo dijo: “Ralph, ¿Le podra dar un cheque por su deuda?” Le respond: “¿Quieres que le enseñe a pescar o darle un pez?” La célula funciona como un oikonomos, ofreciéndole un plan.

Ellos le ayudaron a llamar a cada deudor que haba huido e informarles de su nueva dirección. Ella tendra que conseguir un segundo trabajo, utilizando el 100% de los ingresos para pagar la deuda. Las mujeres de la célula cocinaban los alimentos y los dejaban en la nevera, también limpiaban la casa y lavaban su ropa. Hemos cambiado nuestra hora de reunión en la célula para dar cabida a su nuevo horario. Durante 11 meses, la apoyamos mientras trabajaba dos trabajos y pagó su deuda. Nunca olvidaré la fiesta que tuvimos cuando el objetivo se cumplió.

“¡Raciones adecuadas en el momento adecuado!” Pero hay otra dimensión a la función del miembro de la célula como un oikonomos: utilizando el “Reino de Dios” Recursos que el Maestro nos confa – manifestando los dones espirituales, correctamente dispensados según sea necesario.

Pablo deja bien claro esto en 1 Corintios 14:24-25 que cuando un miembro de la célula oikos necesita recibir sanidad, liberación, etc., el agente de Cristo con su poder será uno de los miembros Oikonomos.

Nos convertimos en sirvientes domésticos confiando en lo “espiritual”. Los recursos de Cristo son manifestados entre nosotros, as como nosotros funcionamos en el Espritu. Esta dimensión del ministerio debe ser igualmente experimentado por todos y esto se convierte en el testimonio de la presencia y el poder de Cristo dentro de la célula.

¿Comentarios?

Ralph

1 thought on “Oikonomos: The Edifier

  • This blog gave me much encouragement. The illustration from one of your cells is really inspiring. What a wonderful picture of genuine caring and sharing! The early Christians practice is always the best example to follow.

    About the verse in the first paragraph, I believe it had some typo error. I checked the verse, it’s Matthew 24:45.

    Thanks for sharing a wonderful principle in this blog. God bless your ministry more!

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