Hannington Bahemuka understands stewardship.
Bishop Hannington, as he is known in his community, had a strong desire for the people of his church to give out of the joy of their hearts and not merely out of a sense of duty.
In 2001, when the ADF army took over many regions of Uganda, Hannington’s village was destroyed and survivors were living in destitute refugee camps.
This tragedy provided an opportunity for Hannington to inspire the people within the refugee camp toward generous giving:
I had been taught that everything we have belongs to God, so even in this refugee camp, God has put abundant resources for his work. So I called upon the believers to start sharing what they had with the needy.
This was a solution for the short-term relief of refugees. But when the people returned to their destroyed village, they had to rebuild their community from scratch.
Instead of asking “how can the people from the west help us?” Hannington encouraged people to ask:
How soon can my people rise to the challenge of funding, not only their immediate needs, but their futures as well.
The full story is shown here:
In an article on stewardship Hugh Whelchel states,
God owns everything, we are simply managers or administrators acting on his behalf… We need to be faithful stewards of all God has given us within the opportunities presented through his providence to glorify him, serve the common good, and further his kingdom.
Hannington recognized that God had provided the community with the resources needed to rebuild the community. The community now only needed to give of themselves.
By stewarding their God-given talents as mechanics or business people, the people of the community began to see a transformation.
The people understood that they needed to create wealth in order to allow for tangible generosity…a cycle of sustainability was established…no longer waiting for outside relief, the grace of giving has replaced the welfare state and our entire town was rebuilt.
Local stewardship provides impoverished communities with the long-term sustainability to overcome poverty.
This model of development creates a healthy interdependence within a community and can transform the lives of the poor.