How much should we give?


"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 charitable expenditure excludes them."
- C.S. Lewis

I read this passage during Lent this year, and can't stop thinking about it. It made me pause as I thought about my comfortable life. I really lack for nothing, so how can I say that I give more than I can spare? It's not that we don't give to charity. We do.

We give our time, we give money, and we help people who can't give us a tax-deductible receipt. Is it enough?

But then, I look at what my comfortable life looks at and I realize that what we give is part of what makes our lives feel so full. I lack for nothing because I have friends, I have a loving family, I have a community filled with people who will help those in need. I have a church family that doesn't give service out of pity, but gives dignity and support out of love.

I don't drive the latest car, and I don't have the fanciest clothes. I don't need them, and the people I love don't care if I have them. Maybe my giving is pinching or hampering me, but not in a way that makes my world smaller.

Somehow, miraculously, it has made it all the larger.

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Karen May

Inspirational Catholic Writer and Speaker

based in Austin, Texas