A blog by Dr. Art Lindsley from Institute for Faith, Work and Economics
Concrete Ways C.S. Lewis Lived out the Love of the Trinity – and You Can, Too
C .S. Lewis wrote a lot about the Trinity and the love that is at the center of it. He maintained the Trinity was a source of love and personhood. As such, if we’re connected to this source of love, it should impact how we love others.
Love arises out of participating in and getting close to this pulsating energy of the tri-personal love of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Our love is preceded by the Divine love and proceeds from it. That love is not only warmed by the Divine love but modeled by the Divine self-giving of the cross.
Lewis’s life is full of instances where he modeled this Divine self-giving. Here are a few; hopefully they will inspire you to live out the love of the Trinity.
Lewis Loved in an Agape Way
We need to learn to love in an “agape” way. John Stott defines agape love as the sacrifice of ourselves in the service of another. Lewis writes in one of his letters,
Agape is all giving, not getting…. Giving money is only one way of showing charity. To give time and toil is far better and (for most of us) harder.
Because Lewis was so caught up in the divine dance, he was willing to sacrifice in both his life and financial giving. Walter Hooper illustrates this in his recollection of the first time he met Lewis.
Hooper was to have an appointment with Lewis. The day before the appointment, Hooper went looking for the house to make sure he didn’t get lost. When he approached the house, Lewis saw him and immediately invited in this unexpected guest, made him tea, and talked for more than an hour.
Hooper asked if he could use the bathroom. Lewis took him to a room with a bath, gave him two towels, and shut the door. Sheepishly, Hooper came out and said he had a different room in mind. Lewis, with a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye, said, “That will teach you Americans to ask for what you want.”
This is a small example of how Lewis gave of his “time and toil.” This attitude was typical of the few months Hooper lived in the house with Lewis. Hooper called Lewis the most thoroughly converted man he had ever met.
“How Can I Not Give Everything to Him?”
Lewis also gave considerably of his money. He put all the money from his royalties and honorariums into a fund from which he gave to people in need. He gave so much that his lawyer reminded him to keep a third for taxes.
When Lewis was at Oxford he gave away about half of his meager salary. Hooper asked Lewis why he gave so much. He replied, “My Lord has given so much to such as I, how can I not give everything to him?” Lewis was so warmed by the love of the tri-personal God that this love emanated from him to others.
These stories from Lewis’s life illustrate that the more we are caught up in the divine dance, this dynamic, pulsating energy of the tri-personal God, the more we will generate love and experience our full personhood – our “real self.”
If we experience God’s love we can afford to love passionately, without measure. This kind of love casts out fear. It directs our lives toward God and away from fear of people and circumstances. Following Christ’s model of sacrifice, we can afford to be vulnerable and love more and more as Christ loved.
This love flows out of our closeness to the One who continually loves. The tri-personal God is the source of love, personhood, and relationship.