Jesus’ Chronological Measure Reflecting Spiritual Maturity

Greg Strand – March 6, 2015 2 Comments

How do you understand and teach stewardship? How do you understand and teach giving? How do you put the two together?

A number of years ago I read this extremely helpful piece by Robertson McQuilkin, President Emeritus, Columbia International University, in his textbook, Biblical Ethics. He distinguishes various kinds of giving and relates in to physical maturation. This connection of the various levels of giving and its relation to spiritual maturity was enlightening and helpful to me.

Here is the essence of that section in the book he wrote, “Jesus’ material yardstick for measuring spiritual maturity”:

In sum, here is the “yardstick”:

  • Infancy: Non-giving
  • Kindergarten: Impulse Giving
  • Elementary: Legalistic Giving
  • Secondary: Honest Managership
  • Higher: Love Giving
  • Graduate: Faith Giving

By God’s grace and for His glory, how can we grow in the “grace of giving” (2 Cor. 8:7), and how can we help others to do the same?

Greg Strand


Affectionately called “Walking Bible” by his youngest daughter, Greg Strand has a ministry history that goes back to 1982. Since that time, he has served in local church ministry in a variety of ministry capacities: youth pastor, associate pastor of adult ministries and senior pastor. He is currently the EFCA's Executive Director of Theology and Credentialing. Greg reads voraciously and never stops learning — a passion reflected in the overflowing bookshelves that spill from his library to multiple offices. And he could tell you about each of those books! His hunger for learning pales in contrast to his great love for God and for teaching the Word of God.

2 responses to Jesus’ Chronological Measure Reflecting Spiritual Maturity

  1. Thanks for this post, Greg. Citing McQuilkin’s “yardstick” provides us with a visual image that links well to Paul’s exhortation to the Corinthians (and to us) to grow in the grace of giving.

    I remember as a child measuring my vertical growth on a doorframe with a yardstick. Especially in this season of Lent when we think about prayer, fasting and giving, the word picture takes me back to those days.

    I am asking myself in my solitude time how I can grow. Simultaneously I realize that God is the one who produces the fruit of generosity (Gal 5:22-23 NRSV) so Holy Spirit, help me inch higher in this area for the glory of God.

    • Gary, I appreciate that you process your application in this comment, and then turn your application into a prayer.

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