Matthew Henry (1662–1714) was a Welsh Non-Conformist minister. He began studying law but later changed to theology and in 1687 became minister of a Presbyterian congregation at Chester, a city in Cheshire, England. He is best known for his six-volume expansive commentaries, Exposition of the Old and New Testaments (1708–1710).
An entry in his diary records a time he was robbed of his wallet. He also records his response,
“Let me be thankful, first, because he never robbed me before; second, because although he took my purse, he did not take my life; third, because although he took all I possessed, it was not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.”1
On October 26, 1962 C. S. Lewis responded to a letter from Mary Willis Shelburne. Ms. Shelburne had shared with Mr. Lewis her father’s principles of generosity and contributing to the poor. Lewis agreed with his approach. He opens his note:
“I do most thoroughly agree with your father’s principles about alms. It will not bother me in the hour of death to reflect that I have been ‘had for a sucker’ by any number of imposters: but it would be a torment to know that one had refused even one person in need.”2
No one likes to be taken. But it could be worse.
“If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?” – James 2:15-16.
- Walter Hooper, ed., The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 1950-1963, Vol. III (New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 2007), 1376.