To These Words I Cling

Brothers, read Luther’s words below. Do you know how Luther felt? Me too. It’s too easy to give up when you feel “dejected and disheartened”. It is too easy to dwell on what the ministry of the Gospel has cost us. Instead, cling to the good promises of God in which Luther also found strength to endure. And then endure.

I often become so angry and impatient with our peasants, townsfolk, and nobility that I think I never want to deliver another sermon; for they carry on so shamefully that a person is inclined to be disgusted with life. Besides this, the devil does not stop plaguing me without and within. Therefore I would almost like to say: Let someone else be preacher in my place. I will let matters take their course, for I am getting nothing but the hatred and envy of the world and all sorts of trouble from the devil. Thus flesh and blood rise in revolt, and human nature becomes dejected and disheartened. In such conditions I must find counsel in the Word of God… “How blest are you, when you suffer insults and persecution and every kind of calumny for my sake. Accept it with gladness and exultation, for you have a rich reward in heaven; in the same way they persecuted the prophets before you” (Matt. 5:11). To these words I cling.

~ Martin Luther, quoted in Thomas C. Oden, Classical Pastoral Care: Ministry Through Word and Sacrament, Vol. 2 (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1987), 13-14; quoted in Darrin Patrick, Church Planter: The Man, the Message, the Mission (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2010), 97.