Resource Review – Oikonomics: How to Invest in Life’s Five Capitals the Way Jesus Did

Matthew 25:40

‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did it to Me.’

Oikonomics, a book by Mike Breen and Ben Sternke, is about the economy of our “oikos” or the way our household invests its time, energy, and money. It’s a unique perspective on “wealth,” measured not just in finances, but in intellectual, relational, physical, and spiritual capital as well. It explores how the way we invest all of our resources as a family affects our fruitfulness.

Be a Steward of Your Resources

Oikonomics looks at how Jesus spent his various resources within his family on missions, and how we can imitate him in it. The authors address health & wealth in a unique and Biblical manner, focusing not just on sacrifice, but on careful stewardship of resources. If we truly understand God’s economy, then we will see that there will be a heavenly reward for our time and energy, not just wealth. This falls in line perfectly with the spirit and words of Jesus. Having it all isn’t about the narrow focus that we as humans typically perceive, and we must adjust our viewpoint and stop looking for fulfillment in all the wrong places.

Invest Wisely

This examination begs us to answer the question: how are we investing our family’s capital? Are we giving so much to the church or “service” that we have nothing left over for our spouse and/or children? Is it God’s will that we pour ourselves out for others so completely that the people the Lord has entrusted to our household never receive our best?

Again and again, we see those who seem to be on the path to having it all end up with hardly anything. What are we missing? – Oikonomics.

Oikonomics shares several stories of those who have “made it big” only to have it all fade away, leaving them with a gaping hole in their lives. Some choose better-paying jobs to support their families but don’t realize the impact that working longer hours can have on their children or spouse. Others may have been born wealthy, but they show that wealth cannot fill the void that only Jesus can. We are taught by Him to invest our money and time wisely, and by doing so, our reward will be far greater than any amount of wealth on this earth.

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We Were Made to Flourish

“Jesus had much to say about how to flourish in life, and the book identifies five sorts of ‘capitals’ (types of wealth) and a perspective on how Jesus assigns different relative values to each of them. The book argues that the most important capital is spiritual (wisdom and power), followed by relational (friendships), then physical (hours and health), then intellectual (ideas and creativity), then financial (money). Much of Jesus’s teaching is about setting out this set of priorities against competing value systems we see around us.” -Richard M.

This resource is particularly valuable to those in vocational ministry, as jobs like these often have extremely high rates of burnout. Why? Often, people in a position of ministerial leadership are encouraged to pour out every resource they have in an effort to “better serve” those around them. Unfortunately, the partner and family of the minister often find themselves with the short end of the stick. Oikonomics makes a case for carefully stewarding your own and your family’s resources so that you will be most effective, most fulfilled, and most at peace.