C.S. Lewis on Giving

I came across this quote not too long ago on giving and how it should affect us.  Read it and let me know what you think.  I will give some thoughts on it as well after posting the quote here:

“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 charitable expenditure excludes them.” -C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

You may have noticed from my last post that I struggle a little bit with the commercialism (not necessarily materialism, but commercialism) that has begun to dominate the months of November and December.  Growing up we had incredible Christmases together as a family and it was always a blast, but things seem to be trending even more toward the commercial now than it did 25 years ago.  When I came across this quote again it struck me as a good thing to share specifically right now as we are getting ready to spend time celebrating Jesus’ coming to earth.  It would seem to make the most sense to spend this time celebrating by giving.  Does that mean gifts?  Yes, to an extent.  But it means more specifically giving to others to show the love GOD has for you and for them.   

This quote made me think a little about what it means to give sacrificially.  Not to give to All Things New, or because you get a bonus, or because there is a fundraiser going on, but to give sacrificially to someone or something out of love and compassion.  You see, a few years ago, we began the adoption process in Ethiopia and it seemed like a sacrifice to our way of living.  Then, in the midst of that process we were called to move to Haiti and take a 50% reduction in salary and that seemed like a sacrifice.  Not too long after making that move, we moved away from the international adoption process (because things were not progressing at all) to a domestic agency and had to, at least financially, lose everything that we had put in and start over.  That seemed like a sacrifice.  About 5 months later, we found out Sophie would be born soon and that started a new season of sacrifice as we had to figure out how to pay for this adoption as well.  Recently we found out we would be having a son!  This news came so much more quickly than we originally thought but we are thrilled at the thought of adding a son to our family.  All of these things have happened in about 4 years, and the main thing that I have learned is that none of them are really sacrifices!

Think about it.  Was it a sacrifice for us to move to Haiti to be with the children GOD designed us to love and care for?  No, it was nothing short of an incredible call and blessing.  Was it a sacrifice to bring our daughter into our family?  Absolutely not, she has increased our capacity to love and changed our family in incredible and wonderful ways.  Is it a sacrifice for us to be waiting on pins and needles for our son to come into our lives?  Of course not, we cannot wait to bring him into our lives and to learn from him and teach him what it means to know and love His Savior.  That’s the funny thing about giving…It’s not the sacrifice that we think it is going to be.  That’s also the really hard thing about giving because once you start doing it you begin to realize how much you have and how selfish you really can be…At least that’s what has happened to me.  The more I think I am giving, the more I realize I have not sacrificed at all.  I look at my life and realize I have been blessed with so much that it would be wrong to do anything less than look for ways to give more and to really figure out how to sacrifice rather than just give what is easy, and the truth is I still don’t really do it.  I am still trying to figure out what it looks like to give sacrificially.

Here is our challenge for this month:  What is 1 true act of sacrificial giving that we can be a part of? 

Please don’t take this to mean how can you give your children or family more presents, but how can we take that first step into true sacrifice with our time, our money, and our talents?  This is a tougher challenge than you may think once you start to really pin down a true definition of the word “sacrifice” as we will inevitably not only have to participate in “giving” away to others but also the “taking” away of something from ourselves…

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