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.” â€“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.Â 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; Â 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 doesnâ€™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.Â 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, orÂ passageÂ that inspires, encourages, or challenges and writing about it. Â If you have a response on your blog, add it in the link widget below. Also head over to my friend and co-facilitator,Â 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.