Real needs are not far from us.

Van Gogh – The Good Samaritan


I think each village was meant to feel pity for its own sick and poor whom it can help and I doubt if it is the duty of any private person to fix his mind on ills which he cannot help. This may even become an escape from the works of charity we really can do to those we know. God may call any one of us to respond to some far away problem or support those who have been so called. But we are finite and he will not call us everywhere or to support every worthy cause. And real needs are not far from us.

-C.S. Lewis

8 thoughts on “Real needs are not far from us.

  1. I find this word of C.S.Lewis to be very helpful. It was recently beautifully stated by Mother Melanie this way: “The rich man was not condemned for failing to go through the world alleviating poverty. He was condemned for walking over the man on his doorstep. Had he taken the time to know Lazarus, he would have realized what an extraordinary man God had placed on his doorstep.”

    Van Gogh’s painting!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a fascinating quote! This part: “I doubt if it is the duty of any private person to fix his mind on ills which he cannot help.” My mind is rumbling on that one.

    In our modern age, we have the ability to know about, and often do something about (if we have $) literally millions of needs around the world. What would Lewis do with this alteration in the scheme of things? How much guilt do modern people feel because they do not donate to every cause? How much modern depression is a result of the fact that we know way too much of the sorrows and sufferings in the world? Sufficient to the day is the evil thereof. Perhaps even from the Garden, we were not meant to know too much evil, at once. I’m honestly not sure. It seems cowardly to not want to know of the sufferings far away. But Lewis’s concept makes sense to me. What good is it to fill my mind with others’ sufferings when I cannot aid them?

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  3. I have never seen this Van Gogh. With the C.S. Lewis quote a very poignant post indeed. It seems to be a growing separation between those following Biblical principles and those who do what feels good. I pray.


  4. The “escape from charity” is a very difficult issue for me. That is, I tend to think that only those whom I read about or see on the back streets of our city are really in need. Or more accurately, most in need.

    I know it’s not true, but I also haven’t worked out how to help right here. Of course I can start with my family. Strange how easy to assume that the needs of those closest are being met.  Thanks for posting this challenging reminder from C.S. Lewis.

    Liked by 1 person

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