Greg Strand is EFCA executive director of theology and credentialing, and he serves on the Board of Ministerial Standing as well as the Spiritual Heritage Committee. He and his family are members of Northfield (Minnesota) EFC.
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!