Martin Luther on Work

 

Yesterday the Old Testament lesson was God’s call to Jeremiah, (1:4-10).  I asked the Bible Class how they saw God being involved in the work through which they earn a living.  This morning I found a comment by Martin Luther on Psalm 128:2. “You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands, you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.”

“Your work is a very sacred matter.  God delight in it, and through it He wants to bestow His blessing on you.  This praise of work should be inscribed on all tools, on the forehead and the face that sweat from toiling.  For the world does not consider work a blessing.  Therefore, it flees and hates it… but the pious, who fear the Lord, labor with a ready and cheerful heart; for they know God’s command and will.  Thus a pious farmer sees this verse written on his wagon and plow, a cobbler sees it on his leather and awl, a laborer sees it on wood and iron: ‘You shall be happy, and it shall be well with you.’  The world inverts the thought and says: Miserable shall you be, and it shall not be well with you; for these things must forever be endured and borne.  But happy are those who lead a life of leisure and without labor have the wherewithal to live.”

In 1525 Luther wrote, “(God) uses our labor as a sort of mask, under the cover of which He blesses us and grants us what is His, so that there is room for faith and we do not imagine that by our own efforts and labors we have achieved what is ours.”

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