On this day 59 years ago I was a Sophomore at Clayton High School in Indiana.
It was during P.E. that our coach interrupted our activities, to line us up and announce that the President of the United States, John F. Kennedy had been shot. In my next class, Bookkeeping, we learned that he had died.
I’m sure all of you my age and older remember where you were and what you were doing on that fateful day.
What I didn’t know was another man would die on that same day. Clive Staples Lewis, arguably one the intellectual giants of the 20th century and one of the most influential writers of his day died of natural causes.
I wasn’t until I was in my 20’s that I was introduced to C.S. Lewis through the preaching and friendship of the late John Clark, a well known gospel preacher at that time.
Lewis, born in Northern Ireland, was a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Oxford University and later served as Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University, a position he held until his retirement.
He was the author of over 30 books, the best known being Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters and The Chronicles of Narnia, which have sold over 100 million copies and made into three major motion pictures.
Here’s some profound insights from his writings worthy of your consideration and reflection.
“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”
“We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.”
“Life with God is not immunity from difficulties, but peace in difficulties.”
“Affection is responsible for nine-tenths of whatever solid and durable happiness there is in our natural lives,”
“Once people stop believing in God, the problem is not that they will believe in nothing; rather, the problem is that they will believe anything.”
“There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, ‘All right, then, have it your way.”
“We meet no ordinary people in our lives…There are no ordinary people. You have never met a mere mortal.”
How little people know who think that holiness is dull. When one meets the real thing. ‘It is irresistible. If even 10 percent of the world’s population had it, would not the whole world be converted and happy before a year’s end.”
If God forgives us we must forgive ourselves otherwise it’s like setting up ourselves as a higher tribunal than him.”
“For my part, I believe that we ought to work not only at spreading the gospel (that certainly) but also at a certain preparation for the gospel. It is necessary to recall many to the Law of Nature before we talk about God. Christ promises forgiveness of sins, but what is that to those who since they do not know the Law of Nature do not know that they have sinned? Who will take the medicine unless he is in the grip of disease? Moral relativity is the enemy we have to overcome before we tackle atheism. . .”
And finally, this probing and penetrating thought. “Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.”
If you haven’t discovered C. S. Lewis yet, I recommend him.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman
Note: To learn more about the life and works of C.S. Lewis, click here.