Martin Luther: Freely and Willingly Spend Yourself

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Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. Ephesians 4:28

“The Apostle commands us to work with our hands so that we may give to the needy…This is what makes caring for [one’s own] body a Christian work, that through its health and comfort we may be able to work, to acquire, and lay by funds with which to aid those who are in need, that in this way the strong member may serve the weaker…This is a truly Christian life…He does not distinguish between friends and enemies or anticipate their thankfulness or unthankfulness, but he most freely and most willingly spends himself and all that he has, whether he wastes all on the thankless or whether he gains a reward…”

Martin Luther (1483-1546) in LW 31:365-367 as recounted in “If you do not do this you are not now a Christian”: Martin Luther’s Pastoral Teachings on Money” by Kathryn D’Arcy Blanchard, Word & World Volume 26, Number 3 Summer 2006.

I arrived safely to Auckland (pictured above) and enjoyed a day of rest before going to Wellington, Christchurch, and Queenstown, and then back to Auckland over the next week. Pray for fruitful governance and accountability meetings.

I can really relate to Luther, as he was both a professor and an Augustinian monk! He was adamant that productive work resulted in fruit for caring for personal needs and sharing with others.

It makes many uncomfortable when he writes, “not distinguish between friends and enemies or anticipate their thankfulness or unthankfulness.” But any other perspective loses sight of grace.

Think about it. In sending His Son, God did not distinguish or play favorites, so why do we? We do it because we follow cultural patterns instead of the way Christ marked out for us.

Jesus shaped Luther and shapes us into people who freely and willingly spend ourselves and all we have. That’s my aim. That’s the Christian life! This week, I am spending myself in New Zealand. What about you?