Monday, October 09 2006
"Charity--giving to the poor--is an essential part of Christian morality: in the frightening parable of the sheep and the goats it seems to be the point on which everything turns. Some people nowadays say that charity ought to be unnecessary and that instead of giving to the poor we ought to be producing a society in which there are no poor to give to. They may be quite right in saying that we ought to produce this kind of society. But if anyone thinks that, as a consequence, you can stop giving in the meantime, then he has parted company with all Christian morality. 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." Mere Christianity
The truly amazing thing about C. S. Lewis is that he practiced what he preached about charity. He gave away two-thirds of the royalties from his non-academic book sales to many who were in need: students, widows and others. And this he did in spite of the fact that he had a life-long fear of ending up in the poor-house himself.
Once when Tolkien and Lewis met a beggar, Lewis gave the man some money. As they walked away Tolkien said to Lewis, "Jack, what did you do that for? You know the man is just going to go and waste that money on drink!" To which Lewis replied: "If I kept the money I would just waste it on drink myself. So what's the difference?"
Of course, C. S. Lewis is not the greatest example of charity. The Son of God was and is.
The Son of God gave up all the riches of heaven, was born into an impoverished human family and was laid in a feeding trough as his crib--just so that you and I might enjoy the riches of heaven.
Not only that--but the Son of God can invade our hearts and lives by the Holy Spirit, enabling us to show the same charity toward others which he demonstrated. In fact, it is only by such an invasion that we can have any real charity at all.