Monday, October 29, 2012

C. S. Lewis says: Give

I have a C. S. Lewis Bible.

Yes, like the Young Mother's Bible or the Golfer's Bible or the Wesley Study Bible... well hopefully more like the Wesley Study Bible.

Throughout the C. S. Lewis Bible are selections from Lewis's writing that are meant to compliment the scripture passages, so that he can serve as your "companion" as you read and spur on some reflection on what you're reading. Sometimes the Lewis excerpts are duds; sometimes they dazzle like fireworks and ignite your imagination.

As I was reading 2 Corinthians recently, I stumbled onto a nice selection from Mere Christianity that I wanted to pass along. It is meant to accompany 2 Corinthians 9:6-15, where we hear the familiar words, "God loves a cheerful giver." Read the passage, and then let Mr. Lewis challenge you and stimulate your own reflections.

I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc., is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charities expenditure excludes them. I am speaking not of "charities" in the common way. Particular cases of distress among your own relatives, friends, neighbours, or employees, which God, as it were, forces upon your notice, may demand much more: even to the crippling and endangering of your own position. For many of us, the great obstacle to charity lies not in our luxurious living or desire for more money, but in our fear--fear of insecurity. This must often be recognised as a temptation. Sometimes our pride also hinders our charity; we are tempted to spend more than we ought on the showy forms of generosity (tipping, hospitality) and less than we ought on those who really need our help.

Mere Christianity, book 3, chapter 3

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