C.S. Lewis: Favorable Conditions

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Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16

“There are always plenty of rivals to our work. We are always falling in love or quarrelling, looking for jobs or fearing to lose them, getting ill and recovering, following public affairs. if we let ourselves, we shall always be waiting for some distraction or other to end before we can really get down to our work. The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavourable. Favourable conditions never come.”

C.S. Lewis in “The Weight of Glory” in Transpositions and Other Addresses (Quebec: Samizdat University Press, 2014) 44.

What should we do with material blessings, especially in the crazy times in which we find ourselves? The time to give is as God supplies and as God guides. All the money we possess is His, not ours. As He supplies, faithful stewards ask Him what to do with it.

With Lewis, I concur that “favorable conditions never come.” Let me elaborate.

The “what if” situations of life will always keep us from giving if we allow them to. What if I lose my job? What if I have a medical expense? What if I some other unexpected expense arises? These unfavorable possibilities lead us to hoard rather than help. So, what should we do instead? Here’s what I suggest.

Start with ask God what to do with what He supplies as it is His money anyway. Sometimes He will lead you to give it. Other times He will guide you to use it for non-recurring expenses. Regardless, a good practice is to live on a mina, three month’s income, and store the rest up in heaven. This should give you adequate cash flow for regular and unexpected expenses and make sure the money is where the Master wants it: in heaven where nothing can touch it. This also matches what the faithful stewards do in the parable of the ten minas (Luke 19:11-27). They don’t bury the Master’s money. They put it to work and return the growth to Him.

Give as God supplies and as God guides. Don’t wait for favorable conditions. Giving generously in unfavorable times can also be a great witness of our Christian faith.