Quote: C.S. Lewis on Charity and Giving

This quote has always presented a poignant test to me when I contemplate philanthropy:

 “I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare…If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us,… they are too small.  There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditures excludes them.”

C.S. Lewis in  Mere Christianity

This could be considered in relation to my series of posts on the what-should-we-be-doing question.  It brings up another point that I will have to discuss in a later post but I think money is a primary testing agent in the test of this life.  The story of the Rich Young Man in the New Testament is troubling to many who often try to offer alternative explanations to get around the personal implication of parting with their own riches however relatively large or small.  My own beliefs take the phrase “no poor among them” in the desired Utopian or Zion society as, literally, an economic issue and not merely as some kind of soft philosophical ideal.

I challenge us all to contemplate the words of C.S. Lewis and examine our own patterns of spending.



#1 Bob Durham on 08.22.08 at 7:27 pm

Aug. 21, 2008 Philadelphia, PA USA I heard someone say once, “C. S. Lewis practically gave away all the income
he regularly received.” This statement by Lewis verified that he lived that way. He challenges believers to help others and forget ourselves, the way Christ and Paul lived. Lewis enjoyed life because he gave and helped others and forgot himself, which is what got him into marriage with Joy Davidson to begin with. Bob Durham

#2 David Stoker on 08.23.08 at 7:36 am

Thanks for coming by Bob!

#3 Patrick Deaver on 09.10.08 at 4:23 pm

This is one of my favorite quotes by Lewis. I find him to be incredibly gifted and inspired, though he did say some uninspired things about the Church. Hopefully he’s seen the light by now!

His work, The Screwtape Letters, is incredbly precise in illustrating the battle between Heaven and Hell for the souls of mankind. It’s as if Lewis interviewed Satan himself while compiling the work. A must read!

#4 Dave on 09.10.08 at 8:09 pm

I find the Screwtape Letters to be extremely profound and illustrative of his pure genius and also of his incredible empathy to be able to describe the general human condition with such clarity.

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