From the Wisconsin United Methodist Foundation - Spiritual Maturity in Stewardship September 2018

“I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but rather as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for solid food. Even now you are still not ready...” (1 Corinthians 3:1–2)

The goal of discipleship is spiritual maturity. As Scripture tells us in Hebrews 6:1, “Therefore let us go on toward perfection, leaving behind the basic teaching about Christ, and not laying again the foundation”. The aim of mature spirituality is to have the same mindset as Christ Jesus, but usually comes in stages of commitment whether it be prayer, presence, service, witness, or giving.

Previously, we identified four stages of giving. In Stage 1, people spend on themselves and give to God from what is left over. They usually give little or nothing. They are not ready to commit.

In Stage 2, people take responsibility and wonder what equal shares of the goal (e.g., church budget) are. Of course, this fails to recognize that households have different levels of resources. People at this stage are ready to give regularly and many of commit to pledging.

In Stage 3, people want to put God first in their lives, even if they must change spending habits and attitudes toward having things. They understand that an offering to God is intended to be a sacrifice. They look to move toward tithing, giving ten percent of their income to God, by increasing the percentage of income they give each year.

In Stage 4, people want to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. They see even what they spend on their own needs to be support for their discipleship.

Often, their giving to church substantially exceeds the 10 percent tithing mark. Where are you in your discipleship journey? Is this the year, you make a change? Let’s pray for one another as we grow together.

Sue Koch