26 Oct 500th Anniversary of The Reformation
Reformation Sunday is this October 29th. This Tuesday, October 31st marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther posting the Ninety-Five Theses.
We are nearing the 500th Anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation, All Saint’s Eve, 1517, when Martin Luther posted the Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. So, let’s hear from Luther himself on the topic of giving and stewardship.
In the Small Catechism under the Table of Duties, Martin Luther gives specific Bible passages to help Christians know their duty in their various vocations as members of their family, society at large, and in God’s family the Church. Under the heading, “What Hearers Owe Their Pastors,” Luther lists five passages from the Bible, three of which have to do with giving to your local congregation. They are these:
“The Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:14).
“Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor. Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows” (Galatians 6:6-7).
“The elders [presbyters, i.e. pastors] who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially whose work is preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, ‘Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,’ and ‘The worker deserves his wages’” (1 Timothy 5:17-18).
Luther comments on the passages in his 1535 Lectures on Galatians. He wrote:
When Paul says “all good things,” this is not to be taken to mean that everyone should share all his possessions with his preacher. No, it means that he should provide for him liberally, giving him as much as is needed to support his life in comfort. All this pertains to the topic of support for ministers. Nevertheless, people should be taught also about this matter, in order that they may know that they owe both respect and support to their preachers. In the same way the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the Gospel should get their living by the Gospel. Since God has commanded and instituted this, we should know that we may with a good conscience enjoy what it provided for the comfortable support of our lives from church properties to enable us to devote ourselves to our office. (LW 27:125-126).
Adapted from the LCMS website