Open Hands, Open Hearts

How the Stewards Fund Equips the Karstens to Follow God’s Heart

In a time of financial hardship, God’s truth never seemed so clear.

It was early in 2008, and Andrea Karsten was participating in a course on the biblical view of money. She could feel God working in her heart, leading her toward something new. By fall of that year, the stock market crashed, and years of personal investments were seemingly gone.

At the same time, James and Andrea were re-reading “The Treasure Principle,” by Randy Alcorn and had a realization that transformed their minds and hearts. “It was such an amazing manifestation to us: it all belongs to God,” she recalls. “We realized if we had given it away to ministry, then it would never have been taken away.”

Generosity was not exactly new to Andrea and James. However, they had always viewed giving as an obligation, a “have to.”

“It’s the way I was raised,” explains Andrea. “Just like you have to pay taxes, you have to give. Through this experience, I had a changed heart. I realized we have these amazing resources that we get to give.”

This fresh realization prompted Andrea and her husband, James, to set up a Steward’s Fund account.

Working as a financial advisor, Andrea had been introduced to Barnabas Foundation’s donor-advised fund by a colleague. “They mentioned how practical it was to use for charitable giving. So, with appreciated stock, we started our own Steward’s Fund account.”

“We knew we had to open up our hands from what God had provided for us,” she continues. “It was all His.”

Andrea and James enjoy using their Stewards Fund to give to the places where they’re personally involved, such as local schools, their church and other Christian ministries. By doing so, the Karstens have made a tremendous contribution to furthering God’s Kingdom.

“The Stewards Fund provides a smart, easy way for us to give,” says Andrea. “It makes dollars go further – taking advantage of the tax code and simplifying your estate management. From a financial advisor standpoint, I’m a huge fan.”

Moving forward, Andrea and James are looking to find more ways to give.

“Where is God’s heart, and how can we help accelerate that moving forward? Where is the gospel spreading? Where are lives being changed? We are still shaping our vision in many ways.”

The Karstens invite other believers to experience the joy of God-directed generosity for themselves. “Don’t be too quick to say ‘no,’” encourages Andrea. “If the Spirit is speaking to your heart and mind, sometimes you just have to say ‘yes.’”