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Rich Living Poor

From Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

It’s hard to say these things without it coming across as condemnation, but it’s really not. It’s a challenge, for sure, but not meant to condemn.

“From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.” –Luke 12:48

I believe this is the thought behind Mr. Lewis’ assertion above (and the context of his writing).

Maybe you had a good childhood and were given every opportunity in life to succeed and make something of yourself? So what if you’re nice sometimes. What about the one who battled poverty and disease, overcoming horrible family relationships and disabilities, each year suffering abuse worse than the last?

We would not be so shocked if they turned to a life of crime, violence, or any number of things. We would probably feel bad for them.

We expect more from those who get “all the breaks” so to speak.  If we expect it in the natural sense, how much more is it true in the spiritual?

God’s grace is the amazing equalizer. By faith in a Savior, an uneducated fisherman can be a Church leader. A prostitute can be forgiven and cleansed. A demoniac can be free from spiritual chains. A murderer can be an apostle.

To everyone who accepts this free gift, we are given the most precious thing on heaven or earth. We get a second chance and restoration. We’re born into a new kingdom by the Spirit and adopted as sons into the Father’s house.

That’s the definition of ‘much given’ but we seldom want to think about the much that is also required. It’s like Proverbs 13:7 says, “One person pretends to be rich, yet has nothing;  another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.”

We say, “Oh not me! I don’t have anything–that guy’s rich, not me. That guy’s talented, not me. She’s the one who’s creative, not me.” We sit on true riches and pretend we have nothing while others who don’t have access to heaven’s abundance rise to the top like kings.

We may take pride in the fact that we aren’t like that adulterer or that tax-evader or that corrupt politician, but we’ve got the Spirit of God living inside us for Pete’s sake! What are we doing with what we’ve got. If the best we can do is stay away from “big” sin then something is off and our perspective is askew.

James lays it out in chapter 4, verse 17: ” If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”

A life surrendered to God can be nothing short of miraculous and anything but mediocre.

He extravagantly gave the gift of salvation and reconciliation. The only recourse is to embrace His best and show the world His love, power, and glory.

By definition, my comfort zones were built for comfort not God.  I may be making better moral choices than the one who never knew Him and swindled his clients out of millions of dollars, but again, so what? What am I doing with this tremendous grace I’ve been given?

How about you? Have you ever been tempted to think this way? What helps you to embrace His best instead of your own wisdom?


This is the part of our book club discussion on Week 14 of Mere Christianity (disclosure) by C.S. Lewis. We are taking a sentence, paragraph, or passage that inspires, encourages, or challenges and writing about it.  If you have a response on your blog, add it in the link widget below. Also head over to my friend and co-facilitator, Sarah Salter’s blog for another great take. Whether you’ve read the chapter or not, please share your thoughts! We always appreciate a vibrant conversation.


19 Comments

  1. WOW! This was VERY powerful and a VERY critical reminder! I’ve learned that as I’ve reached out to others . . . I am SO much more blessed than I think I am. Just when I think I’m empty and there’s nothing left to pour out . . . God shows me there’s so much more when I’m relying on Him. LOVED this post!
    Blessings,
    Cherie
    Cherie Hill recently posted..In the Top 50!My Profile

    • Like Jesus said, “I have bread you don’t even know about.” What a place to live that doing the Father’s will is sustenance to us! Thank you, Cherie. I really appreciate your thoughts and encouragement.

      • can you tell me the verse on this one?
        nance marie recently posted..mere christianity . by csLewisMy Profile

        • John 4:32-34. Jesus talks about having otherworldly food--doing the will of the Father.

  2. Thank you for the incredible challenge.

    Too often those of us who have been blessed choose to sit on our laurels and do nothing with it; while all the time saying how blessed and Godly we are.

    May I never be more comfortable than when I am living each moment and decision for His glory.
    Dusty Rayburn recently posted..What Motivates Your Decisions?My Profile

    • Yes and amen! May we have a different view of comfort and let human or natural comforts that entice us to lukewarmness be the uncomfortable. Good stuff, Dusty. Thank you.

  3. God so loved…He gave…

    May my heart be more and more like His.
    Thanks Bro’

    • Such a transforming prayer… Thank you, Jay.

  4. Have you ever been tempted to think this way?
    yes, i have. God is continually working on my thinking.

    What helps you to embrace His best instead of your own wisdom?
    The Holy Spirit.
    I’m thinking it is mainly the Holy Spirit that is continually working on that in my life and heart. That sounds more lovely than it really is. This process is probably more like digging through a landfill to uncover a small pearl of great worth.
    nance marie recently posted..mere christianity . by csLewisMy Profile

  5. You’re so right, Nance! And that’s a vivid and apt description… Thanks.

    • yeah….well. my daughter was watching a recording of “dirty jobs” on tv yesterday.
      nance marie recently posted..mere christianity . by csLewisMy Profile

      • Ha! I love it. God can speak through anything and everything. Thanks Nance.

  6. Timely post! Having a rough day of realizing He wants me to give more and more; feeling at the bottom of the pit.

    I find the more I give the more He gives me and then more is required of me. It is an emptying of self, when I think I’m done, can’t do it anymore He comes in and shows me yes I can, there is always more to give because He keeps filling me up.
    Luke 12:48 definitely applies to my life.

    Blessings,
    <
    Child of God recently posted..Oxygen; Jesus ChristMy Profile

    • yes, flow!
      a continual filling and giving….

    • Poured out in love and relationship with Him--there is no end. It’s like the story of Elisha and the widow who kept pouring the oil until they ran out of jars to fill. He’s so faithful! Thanks for your thoughts.

  7. we continually make choices. it’s called thinking. but, the action that goes along with the choice can be done to many degrees. and there is the attitude in which it is done.

    and the interaction with the Spirit of God with our spirit and with other people’s spirits…which all combines together to make something that can not be totally explained.

    but, we are changed through it.

    this physical, spiritual, mental, heart…business.
    life.

    if we have the Spirit of God within us (in some way that, of course, we do not understand ) and it all takes place in having choice and living through and with it all.

    anyway, it’s quite a process. that’s about all i can say.
    nance marie recently posted..mere christianity . by csLewisMy Profile

    • Quite a process indeed! Beyond my comprehension on so many levels. Thanks Nance.

  8. Our task is to make use of what we’ve been given, in the time we’ve been given it.

    Great post, Jason.
    Glynn recently posted..Those Heaping CoalsMy Profile

    • The long and the short of it. Thanks Glynn.