In the first two weeks of Simple Charity’s summer internship, we gather our interns and staff around a big table and read long excerpts out loud from C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity. We read Lewis’s ideas about love and pride, virtue and vice, God and the flesh, and we talk about how we can apply his insights in our everyday lives. As 2021 ends, I look back with gratitude on those rich conversations with thoughtful college students from around the country.
Lewis believed that charity—self-giving, sacrificial, outward-oriented love—is the highest virtue. His view was that charity ought to permeate a Christian’s whole life. It’s not just about “giving alms to the poor,” but, crucially, Lewis believed that charity is not less than giving alms to the poor. He writes,
“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 charities expenditure excludes them.”C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
In this passage, Lewis reminds us that it is possible to give without loving but not possible to love without sacrificially giving. This idea reminds me of one of Simple Charity’s favorite verses:
“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers and sisters. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother or sister in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”1 John 3:16–18 (ESV)
As this year draws to a close, would you consider giving to support Simple Charity’s work? Our mission is to help Christians practice solidarity with the poor. We believe that solidarity is both an essential component of discipleship to Jesus and a life-giving virtue.
To advance our mission, we design content, build communities, and offer charity recommendations. Your giving is especially helpful in establishing communities of college students on campuses around the country who grow in their faith as they care for the poor. Your generosity will empower more students to fight poverty in Jesus’s Name through fundraisers and advocacy events on their campuses.
Lewis writes, “Nothing you have not given away will ever really be yours.” When we give to love our neighbors and advance the Kingdom, we are investing in a fund with the best ROI imaginable. We are storing up treasure in heaven. Thank you for considering Simple Charity in your year-end giving.
Founder & CEO | Simple Charity