C.S. Lewis On Helping The Needy


Taken from “Mere Christianity” page 86:

I agree with C.S. Lewis not only because it’s what the Bible teaches but because it works. It has for me anyway. My A.A. sponsor is a multimillionaire and he and his family took me in and was charitable to me. I had nothing. Now I am back into the workforce working. It took time but I’m able to function and communicate and relate to people now. Moreover I have the things that need to be in place (like a new truck) to be in the workforce. Because of the charity of this Catholic man I am where I’m at today. I haven’t completely arrived yet but I’m on my way!!

Charity worked for me.


According to Jonathan Edwards, a sign that you are a Christian is that you are alive to beauty. This is partly giving to the poor:

Christian Charity or The Duty of Charity to the Poor, Explained and Enforced


Jonathan Edwards




“Things come to the poor that can’t get in at the door of the rich. Their money somehow blocks it up. It is a great privilege to be poor – one that no man covets, and brat a very few have sought to retain, but one that yet many have learned to prize.” — George MacDonald


The worldly man treats certain people kindly because he “likes” them: the Christian, trying to treat every one kindly, finds himself liking more and more people as he goes on–including people he could not even have imagined himself liking at the beginning

C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p.117.


That may well be true, to where “the Christian” has finally come to the same non-judgmental place as the altruistic “worldly man” who “likes” just because he can, having not been hampered in his earthly walk by the critical ‘spirit of superiority’.



This is why the Bible tells us whatever we do we do all to the glory of God. God gets the glory in our giving to the poor. This keeps our ego from inflating. Indeed it says:


I encourage financial experts and political leaders to ponder the words of [Saint John Chrysostom], one of the sages of antiquity: "Not to share one’s wealth with the poor is to steal from them and to take away their livelihood. It is not our own goods which we hold, but theirs. ~~ Pope Francis


St. Michael, No offence but I have to disagree with the Pope. I wouldn’t consider not sharing one’s wealth with the poor as stealing from them. The goods belong to the person who has worked and earned them. If that person chooses to give, it would be charity, which is a gift given freely from the heart.



When you don’t give to the needy you make a free choice to steal:

God commands us to give:

The paradox is that we are commanded to do it with joy so that it’s not under compulsion:


Most of us struggle with being generous, because we focus on ourselves, and our limited supplies. **We all need more revelation about the magnitude of divine supply to meet earthly demands. **

I think the three little words “It is finished” (two in Spanish: “Consumado es”; one in Greek: “Tetelestai”), will continue to be unpacked, forever. We will never come to the end of the treasures Jesus has made available to us through his obedience. It cost Jesus everything, but it’s all free for us to receive, now. God’s style is always, “Whoever desires, let him take…freely.” Rev. 22:17.

Regarding giving to the poor, and being generous with all our resources in general, let me again promote here something termed…
[size=125]“The Divine Exchange.”
Isaiah 53 indicates that Messiah would TAKE our sin and suffering, and GIVE us his righteousness and shalom (shalom being variously translated as “health,” “prosperity,” “safety,” “contentment,” “friendship,” and “peace”). He has done that.

The heavenly resources available to us are UNLIMITED. The laws of the “greater reality” of the Kingdom of Heaven transcend the laws of the “lesser reality” of this Creation, as demonstrated by Jesus, the disciples, and the apostles. So, as Christians, let’s “go and do likewise,” and not fixate on, or be limited by, the Laws of Medicine, the Laws of Physics, the Laws of Economics, et cetera.

I remind you of the parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15, with this interpretation of the players:

The Father: God
The Older Son: The Jews
The Prodigal Son: The Gentiles

Recall that when the older brother heard the celebration the Father was giving for the Prodigal, “he became angry, and refused to go in.” But his Father came out to reason with him, and clarified to him:

“ ‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.’ ” Luke 15:31.

“Everything” means everything, and “is yours” is present tense, meaning now. We are talking about free, unlimited resources we Christians can, by faith, supernaturally receive and share! (Let me add that these divine unlimited resources, besides material things, also include love, wisdom, time, and energy, and power.)

-Luke 16:9 I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when you leave this place they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.

-2 Cor. 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich [and now we are].

-2 Cor. 9:11 YES, WE WILL BE enriched in every way [or “in every thing”] so that we can always be generous on every occasion, and our generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

-3 John :2 Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.

As pastor Joseph Prince of Singapore has said,

“The One who fed more than 5,000 people, gave fishermen a net-breaking, boat-sinking load of fish, and who placed the gold, diamonds and rubies in the earth, took your place of poverty at the cross, just so that you can take His place of abundance. He is the reason you can be blessed to be a blessing.”

And, speaking of The Divine Exchange, he writes,

“Jesus was made destitute of all material things at the cross. He had nothing! As He hung on the cross, He watched the Roman soldiers gamble for His robe. His last possession on earth was gambled away. He became poor, so that you could be blessed with the excellent and the plenty!”

In Matthew 10:8, Jesus instructs his disciples (and us, I believe):

Jesus said, “It is finished.” What can we possibly add, except our obedience to “freely receive and freely give”?

So…just how do we freely receive [love, time, money, wisdom, energy, power, authority], in order to have divine resources to freely give?

[size=125]A daily, prophetic, quiet time.[/size]

Let’s give God our attention in our daily devotional times alone with Him. A “quiet time” requires quiet, and time (!) During that set-aside time, let’s meditate on, and worship God for, those incredible Bible verses. Let’s also listen for, expect to receive, and then write down, His personalized promises and instructions to us, regarding his specific desires for our own short tenure on earth. Again, this will take quiet, and time.



PS Here is an excerpt from today’s devotional by Joseph Prince, entitled, “Be Big-Hearted Like God”:



Matthew 6:19–20 says,

The shift of perspective in the New Testament is a heavenly one. We are to keep a heavenly perspective. Yes we are made rich in Christ when we get to heaven. Lovers of money preachers are self-esteem preachers. But Jesus gave us the example to follow when He emptied Himself and became nothing. Specialness is ego:

This is what happens to those in the lake of fire as they are humbled and their ego is destroyed. They are emptied of self and reduced to nothing (dust and ashes) as the Spirit fills them. The baptism in fire destroys the old self and they are resurrected to life. According to the award winning psychiatrist David D. Burns

From my book called “The Wisdom To Know the Difference” by the psychologist and professor of psychology at the University of Mississippi. It’s on the scientifically proven therapy called “Acceptance Commitment Therapy”. It’s under the section called “The Self-Esteem Myth”

The book was published in 2012

This comes from page 61 of the book “The Essential Mystics, Poets, Saints and Sages by Richard Hooper”:

To learn more on ego death go here at Wikipedia:


The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, and self-control. This is the flower of humility. This is the heart open to true Beauty. Check this book out by John Piper. It opened my eyes to see how money, sex, and power are connected. It’s an eye opener:


You seem to be indicating that my (current) favorite teacher, Joseph Prince, is a “lover of money” teacher. A “self-esteem” teacher. But you would be wrong about his message. (Although no, he is not yet a universalist. And yes, he still wrongly believes God was capable of violence against men, e.g. that He was the one who sent the Flood of Noah, not Satan. Note: to see that it was Satan, please read Richard Murray’s book, God versus Evil, particularly, “Question 20: Did Jesus drown all the children in the world with a killer flood? Or….was it Satan?”)

Sure, we are not to store up riches*—for ourselves*. But **do you not see the distinction between prosperity (having money) and materialism (loving money)? **

How can you lift up others financially, if you can’t pay your own bills from month to month, and have something left over to share? God wants us prosperous! By the same token, how can you bless others if you are on your back, sick and tired? God wants us well!

Again, our salvation includes both health and prosperity, as I mention above regarding The Divine Exchange. Please again take a look at those Bible verses I shared earlier: they are for the here and now; they are not referring to after we die and go to heaven. E.g.,

(In fact, we know Jesus wants it to be here* “on earth, as it is in heaven.”* Is there sickness in heaven? Is there poverty in heaven?)

As to self-esteem (or, as you argue, “specialness is ego"):

The Bible calls John “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” What was so special about John that made the Lord love him more? But wait, the phrase “the disciple whom Jesus loved” …only appears in John’s own book :slight_smile:. Jesus loved all His disciples the same; however, John personally received it! John experienced it! John really knew it!

We are to focus on Jesus and his unlimited supply, not on ourselves and the demands of life. That’s Jesus-esteem, not self-esteem.

Let’s reject a (supposedly pious) poverty mentality. Rather, let’s meditate on, receive for ourselves, and proclaim to others, the promises of God. For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 2 Cor. 1:20.

As to your quotes from Richard Hooper about—

“renouncing the world,” and* 'never being able to realize we are one with All until we have eradicated our personal sense of “I” '*

—well, let’s not all run out and join monasteries.

In John 17:15-18, we see we are indeed to be in the world, not of the world:



You may be right. I’ll look into Mr. Prince.


This is just a prayer. Moreover it’s a specific prayer for a specific person at a specific time. But Paul tells us:

Indeed Paul prayed to be healed but was not healed:

The Bible also says:

We don’t have to join monasteries to die to self. Moreover:


First, we cannot be certain that Paul’s thorn in the flesh in 2 Cor. 12 was a physical infirmity.

Then, Paul calls his thorn in the flesh “the messenger of Satan” in verse 7, not “the messenger of God." Jesus came to destroy Satan’s works, not to send them (1 John 3:8). Thorns in the flesh to afflict people are of Satan, not God. God is only about abundant life.

And God’s response to Paul was not, “No, I wont help you.” Rather, it was, “Paul, I have already given you the grace to deal with it in my perfect strength. You need only receive it by acknowledging your weakness in your own ability. As you receive my ability by forsaking your own, then my perfect power will rest on you.”

God doesn’t promise we won’t have affliction. But He does promise we can always overcome it:

-No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:37.

-You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 1 John 4:4.

-For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 1 John 5:4.

-Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7.

The narrative of the rich young ruler presents no mystery. This man was a slave. Money was not his servant, but his master. But Jesus was not saying that only poor people and not wealthy people enter the kingdom of heaven. That would exclude Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Solomon, Zaccheus, Joseph of Arimathea, et cetera. Jesus was confronting a common idol: money; an idol often shared by both rich and poor.

Materialism encourages independence, as we see with the church of Laodicea: *“I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing.” *Revelation 3:17. We agree that, “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." 1 Jn. 2:15.

Prosperity can only be properly handled through the love of the Father. But then, that could also be said about all of life on earth.



It doesn’t matter whether it was physical or a mental infirmity. Paul’s thorn in the flesh shows that praying to prosper in all ways doesn’t necessarily mean that we will prosper in all ways. We overcome the world by trusting God even in our infirmities like Paul did. When we are weak we are strong. Sure God can humble a person as long as wealth is no longer one of His gods:

Matthew 6:24

"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other You cannot serve God and wealth.

1 Timothy 3:3

not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money.
Luke 16:13

“No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other You cannot serve God and wealth.”

Matthew 4:9-10

and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.’”

James 4:4

You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

Matthew 13:22

"And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

Mark 4:19

but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

Luke 8:14

"The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity.

Matthew 19:21-22

Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property.

Mark 10:21-22

Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.

Luke 18:22-23

When Jesus heard this, He said to him, “One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when he had heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich.

1 Timothy 6:17

Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.

Job 31:24-28

"If I have put my confidence in gold, And called fine gold my trust, If I have gloated because my wealth was great, And because my hand had secured so much; If I have looked at the sun when it shone Or the moon going in splendor.

Psalm 52:6-7

The righteous will see and fear, And will laugh at him, saying, “Behold, the man who would not make God his refuge, But trusted in the abundance of his riches And was strong in his evil desire.”

Proverbs 11:28

He who trusts in his riches will fall, But the righteous will flourish like the green leaf.

Jeremiah 49:4

"How boastful you are about the valleys! Your valley is flowing away, O backsliding daughter Who trusts in her treasures, saying, ‘Who will come against me?’

Do not trust in oppression And do not vainly hope in robbery; If riches increase, do not set your heart upon them.

Proverbs 18:23

The poor man utters supplications, But the rich man answers roughly.

Proverbs 28:11

The rich man is wise in his own eyes, But the poor who has understanding sees through him.

Job 20:17-20

"He does not look at the streams, The rivers flowing with honey and curds. "He returns what he has attained And cannot swallow it; As to the riches of his trading, He cannot even enjoy them. "For he has oppressed and forsaken the poor; He has seized a house which he has not built.

It’s not even ungodly to be poor. For Paul says:

Phil 4

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Moreover, we are encouraged to use medicine for illnesses from the bible:

1 Tim. 5:23

No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.

The promises of God are used to secure the future and give one hope as the desires that lead to sin are pushed out and the heart is opened up to love. It’s faith working itself out through love. Faith - Hope - Love - these three remain.


St. Michael, I have never suggested that it is wrong to take medicine, or that it is ungodly to be poor. Nonetheless, I am now convinced God does not want us sick or poor. He wants us healthy and prosperous, and thereby in a better position to help others.

God has made provision at the cross for our health and prosperity, through what I termed “The Divine Exchange,” in my earlier discussion of Isaiah 53.

**1 Peter 2:24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” ** (“Healed” iaomai. E.g., Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed [iaomai] at that moment. Mt. 8:13.)

2 Cor. 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.** (“Rich” plousios. E.g., *Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich [plousios] to enter the kingdom of heaven. *Mt. 19:23.)



Jesus became poor so that we, who were spiritually poor, could be rich in the coming age:

Ephesians 2:

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, ** so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. ** For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast

Matt. 5:3

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Luke 12:32-34

"Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.

Matt. 6:19–20

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

Indeed Paul was:

2 Cor. 6:10

sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.

If God does bring wealth to a Christian while on earth He does it not to raise his standard of living, but raise his standard of giving. Moreover to say that God doesn’t want us poor contradicts Paul:

Phil 4

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

The promises of healing for everybody in the atonement are completely fulfilled in the resurrection when we have new immortal bodies in the new heaven and earth.

Rev. 21:14

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.

Indeed, we are to keep an eternal perspective and the rewards of heaven:

Luke 14:12-14

Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

John 18:36 36

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

Our life on earth is but a tiny drop of water compared to eternity. Because of this, we live for God’s eternal purposes, not our shortsighted temporal purposes.

James 4:13–16

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”


St. Michael, our Bible verse ping pong is based on our conflicting views about the true nature of God. The Bible is only part of a progressive revelation of the goodness of God, coming through imperfect human mediators. The God-breathed Scriptures must be interpreted by the Spirit, not the letter; because the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (Please reconsider my essay, Is God Violent, Or Nonviolent? regarding the true nature of God. The Old Testament destructions of Satan have been often misattributed as “the wrath of God.” The Old Testament saints had a largely undifferentiated view of God and Satan. But Jesus came to distinguish the true nature of his Father, as exclusively good and loving.)

Regarding God’s sovereignty: God is not in control of everything :open_mouth:. He has chosen to delegate authority to man, and put some things under his control. It was Adam’s responsibility to care for the Garden. And God submits Himself to his promises (Ps. 138:2). Jesus said that, *“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore….” * So we Christians have delegated authority, and delegated responsibilities. As my friend Richard Murray has said, *“Satan’s kingdom runs today entirely on the fumes of the Church’s corporate neglect in endorsing and enforcing the victory of the cross.” * Let’s not passively let ourselves, or others, be victimized and defrauded, because we wrongly think that “everything that happens is God’s will.”

After Adam and Eve sinned, God still came for his walk in the Garden. Had God changed? No! Had they changed? Yes! Now they saw God through a filter of lies and fear, and they hid from Him.

After sin came into the world, Adam had to work by the sweat of his brow in order to get by. But I no longer believe it was God who cursed the ground after Adam and Eve sinned, even if the editor of Genesis, Moses, may have. Sin opened the door to poverty–but Jesus has conquered sin and poverty.

Please don’t misunderstand me, Saint Michael: the ground was cursed, by the fallen archangel Lucifer. The devil is indeed very powerful, and is even described as the god of this world. He always searches for ways in, provided through the sins of men.

The ground was cursed in the Garden; yet, in another garden, Jesus redeemed the cursed ground with His blood:

Yes, the Flood of Noah came. Yes, Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. I just no longer believe these things were done by God. Yes, God tries to warn and provide rescue and escape, but not kill, steal, and destroy. God is an unchanging, loving Daddy. He is not bipolar.

Speaking of The Divine Exchange, and having enough material provision, we know that God told mankind that the ground would only “produce thorns and thistles” for them. Genesis 3:18. But Jesus became a curse for us, to redeem us from curses. Jesus exchanged crowns with us: he gave us his crown of glory, and took our crown of thorns.

Now we can work joyfully and with pleasure, not under fear and threat. And, like Paul, under grace we can work harder than others (1 Cor. 15:10). However, God will continue to take care of us, and “put food on the table,” even if we come on hard times, and can’t work in exchange for money. God’s provision of food, money, health, joy, safety, and wisdom, are all free, and to be freely received. (Jesus was stripped of his clothing so that we could be clothed in his righteousness. His body was broken so that our bodies could be made whole and healthy. It is an ongoing challenge to discover new aspects to The Divine Exchange.)

The weapon the devil has is deception. If he can convince you that you are still under a curse, that lie will keep you bound.

Friend, if you really want to help the poor, think bigger. God’s resources are unlimited, and freely available. Everything He has is ours for the asking, because Jesus paid for it all, before we were born.



God is in control of everything:

Romans 8:28

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

This is the very foundation of all the promises in the Bible. If God is not good and in control there’s no reason to trust Him. Indeed, God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God and we love Him because He first loved us in His suffering death and resurrection. My past is wiped out and my future is secure. I’m therefore free to live in the present moment. God’s promises can be fulfilled 14 seconds from now all the way into eternity. Indeed they will all be fulfilled in the new heavens and earth:

Rev. 22:

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.

We haven’t reached the consummation of this because there is still suffering and death in the world. When the purifying judgment takes place there will be a reconciled heaven and earth that arises from the purifying fires:

Rev. 21:14

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.

In the mean time we are called to suffer with Christ:

Romans 8:17

And if we are children, then we are heirs: heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ–if indeed we suffer with Him, so that we may also be glorified with Him.