This week is the Holiday Shop at school. So of course, my boys will be asking me to give them money. The night before they’ll list out who they will be shopping for. I’ll give them the money. They’ll take the money to school and pick out presents for each person on the list. They then bring them home and hide them until Christmas. At that time, they are so proud and delighted to give their gifts. Of course that means we all receive
dollar store junk inexpensive presents lovingly picked out for us. And I am delighted to receive them.
Thinking of this always reminds me of an excerpt from C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity.
Then comes another discovery. Every faculty you have, your power of thinking or of moving your limbs from moment to moment, is given you by God. If you devoted every moment of your whole life exclusively to His service you could not give Him anything that was not in a sense His own already. So that when we talk of a man doing anything for God or giving anything to God, I will tell you what it is really like.
It is like a small child going to its father and saying, “Daddy, give me sixpence to buy you a birthday present.” Of course, the father does, and he is pleased with the child’s present. It is all very nice and proper, but only an idiot would think that the father is sixpence to the good on the transaction. When a man has made these two discoveries (For the first discovery, C.S. Lewis talked about no one being good enough.) God can really get to work. It is after this that real life begins.
(Taken from Mere Christianity, Book 3 “Christian Behaviour”, Chapter 11 “Faith”)
Just as I give my boys the ability to buy me presents, God gives me the ability to serve and love him, and he will give me everything I need to do so. Since the boys are using my money to get me gifts, I’m not any richer. And since everything I am and everything I have comes from God, He’s not necessarily any richer either by my acts. But just as I am delighted by the dollar store mugs and ornaments and brushes that they pick out for me, God is delighted when I choose to use what he has given me to do anything or give anything to him.
Anyway, that’s what I always think about when my boys ask for money to do their shopping. It’s been awhile (probably at least 17 years) since I read Mere Christianity … as I was looking for the quote, I found myself being drawn in. I’m thinking I should check it out again. But as good as C.S. Lewis’ writing is, I have to really pay attention when reading it, and lately, I find myself falling asleep whenever I read. So, perhaps I’ll wait.
By the way, remember the song, “Kiss Me” by Sixpence None the Richer? It was popular several years back. Anyway, the band got their name from this passage. Sixpence was one of my favorite bands in college. I especially loved the song, “Trust”. (Click here to go to YouTube to see an old performance of Leigh Nash from Sixpence singing Trust.) Just a little random trivia for your Monday!
Pressing on Together, one “sixpence” at a time,