Clive didn’t grow up a generous person, but all that changed when he came to follow Christ. As he searched the Scriptures he discovered the beauty of a generous heart.
He became abundantly hospitable. While fighting in World War I Clive and his friend Paddie made a promise to each other. If one of them were to die, they would take care of the other’s mother. Paddie was killed in battle and true to his word Clive cared and housed Paddie’s mother for thirty years until she passed.
But that wasn’t the end of his hospitality. When Germany invaded Poland Clive opened his home to refugee children fleeing the war. Throughout World War II several groups of children rotated through his home. Each finding a bit of peace in an incredible time of turmoil.
As time went on, Clive published a series of popular articles in The Guardian. All of which garnered him fame and fortune. Yet, rather than keep the royalties for himself he gave the money to the Clergy Widows Fund. While a generous man, Clive wasn’t great at math. He forgot about taxes. He gave so much away that when it came time to pay taxes on his royalties, he didn’t have the money. Yet he was so loved, his friends banded together to pay his tax bill in full. Must be nice.
Later on, he wrote several successful books that brought him wealth, but rather than upgrading his lifestyle he continued living a simple life, deciding to give the extra away to those in the most need. Two-thirds of all his royalties were collected into a charitable trust and anonymously distributed to the poor, widows, seminary students, and churches.
When asked about generosity Clive responded, "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… If our giving does not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say it is too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot because our commitment to giving excludes them.”
If you haven’t figured it out yet, you probably know Clive by his full name, Clive Staples Lewis. He was the author of one of the best selling books of all time, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, and a brilliant Christian apologist. He has been so influential, you can hardly get through a sermon without me quoting him. With all his success, C.S. Lewis only died with a total estate of £37,772. But Lewis wasn’t worried about that. He was placing his treasure in eternity and so many were helped through his generosity. His obituary said that he was, “Endlessly generous.” May that be said of us one day.
In doing my research this week, I ran into this story of C.S. Lewis. I took all of my information from this article written by Joel S. Woodruff. If you’d like to read more about C.S. Lewis’s life characterized by a consistent rhythm of generosity, give it a click.
Tomorrow we look at the rhythm of generosity. Maybe it’s not top of your spiritual disciplines list, but I can guarantee you, it’s just as important for your pursuit Christ.
Join us for worship tomorrow!
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