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Spiritual Maturity and Giving

Greg Strand – March 10, 2015 Leave a comment

This is a follow up from my earlier post focusing on Jesus’ Chronological Measure Reflecting Spiritual Maturity. How did you think about this illustration using the physical, chronological growth to reflect the discipline of giving?

My sense is that McQuilkin is profoundly right. The parallel between the chronological physical growth and the concurrent spiritual growth is reflected in how one views money, possessions, stewardship and giving. Giving reflects one’s heart and is essential to discipleship (cf. Matt. 6:19-21; Lk. 19:2-10).

One must be careful not to make this a new “law.” But why are the disciplines generally and giving more specifically tied to law and legalism rather than love? Clearly, the one who loves the Lord keeps his commandments (Jn. 14:21; cf. 1 Jn. 3:24).

What I like about McQuilkin’s insightful illustration is that spiritual state/status and maturity is reflected in how we use God’s resources. Money and giving are rooted in discipleship. This is what John and Sylvia Ronsvalle, Empty Tomb, have written about in “The Theological Implications of Church Member Giving Patterns.” This would be worth your time to read this!

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?