Greek Orthodox Stewards of America - February 19, 1999
We have chosen to identify ourselves according to the biblical word "steward" and adopt its meaning and spirit as understood by the writers of the Holy Bible. We do not designate ourselves as your self-appointed "leaders". We are not interested in impressing you with our resumes. We do not identify ourselves with titles, education, wealth, or worldly success. Instead, we choose to call ourselves "stewards". Why "stewards"? We believe that it expresses what ought to be the proper attitude of Greek Orthodox Christians toward the administration of the Church.
The Greek word for "steward" is "oikonomos". The steward was the servant who was responsible for maintaining the household. He held an important position of trust and responsibility. He was to be dependable, capable, loyal, faithful and prudent in the administration of the household. He was entrusted with great treasures in spite of the fact that he was only a servant. Although he was given a great deal of freedom in carrying out his duties, he was fully accountable to the Master. A faithful steward would never destroy the house on the pretext of saving it.
Christ used the image of a "steward" in his parables. Wicked and lazy stewards were punished. But the steward who is faithful and wise is rewarded (Luke 12:42). The good steward is alert, watchful and prudent. He serves only The Master, and in the Master's absence he faithfully executes his duties while he awaits the Master's return.
St. Paul identified himself and his co-workers not as "leaders" but as "stewards of the mysteries of God." He continued by saying that "it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy." (1 Cor. 4:1-2). He made these statements to the church of Corinth, where people who presented themselves as leaders had caused many divisions in the community. By this instruction, St. Paul showed us that the proper Christian attitude is one of sacrificial service, not of arrogance, demands and quests for power.
Likewise, as Stewards, we, as well as every faithful Orthodox Christian, are entrusted with the responsibility for the Gospel. The "Household" is our precious Church, the Body of Christ. The "Treasure" is our Holy Orthodox Faith, which we are to preserve and protect. The "Householder" is the Lord Jesus Christ, Who has entrusted us as servants with the stewardship of His Holy Church. He is our Leader. It is He whom we serve and He whom we look to for guidance and example.
[ Greek Orthodox Stewards of America
February 19, 1999 ]