Sometimes it is important to state the obvious. I think this is such a time. You need to know that Oklahoma Baptists agree on a few basic assumptions. I have stated two assumptions in the past two issues of the Baptist Messenger: In the Kingdom of God, leaders serve; and Kingdom work is spiritual work.
Today, I want to state another obvious truth: Stewardship involves both giving and spending.
I am the executive director-treasurer of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO). Treasurer is an important part of my new title. That means that I am accountable to both God and man for how the money is managed. Of course, I have a number of qualified people helping with this financial responsibility, but the buck stops here. Paul liked to call cooperative giving, “fellowship.” When we pool our financial resources, we are in fellowship with one another at a very tangible and practical level.
This money comes to us because of the faithful stewardship of Baptists all across Oklahoma. Widows living on social security, young families working to balance their budgets, the wealthy giving out of an abundance—people from all walks of life giving to their churches out of a commitment to biblical stewardship. Churches commit a percentage of the tithes and offerings they receive to the Cooperative Program and pass other money to us through special offerings. Good stewards give faithfully.
Good stewards also spend faithfully. I am accountable to our Lord and to Oklahoma Baptists for the way our cooperative money is spent. I am the steward of these funds, and I want to be faithful in all ways. Oklahoma Baptists give out of a sense of biblical stewardship, and we will likewise spend out of a sense of biblical stewardship. This is the Lord’s money.
We want to always keep your trust. When Paul was handling the churches’ money, he was very careful to keep their trust. “Taking precaution so that no one will discredit us in our administration of this generous gift; for we have regard for what is honorable, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men” (2 Cor. 8:20-21).
May our Lord give us all grace to be found faithful stewards.
In the weeks to come, I will write about how we want to use our shared resources to encourage one another and to advance the Gospel.