Original writings of Martin Luther
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Sample Weekly Letter from Pastor Esget:
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ JESUS,
This coming Sunday (Trinity IX, July 29) Jesus teaches us the Parable of the Unjust Steward (Luke 16:1-13). the Bible teaches us that we are all stewards (managers) of what belongs to Another. Here is how the new explanation of the Small Catechism instructs us in our stewardship of created things:
Question 82. How shall we use our own earthly goods?
We are to be good stewards of God's created gifts so that
A. our family is provided with shelter, food, education, health care, and the like; [1 Tim. 5:8]
B. others (especially the poor) benefit from our grateful and charitable use of what God has given us at home, in church, as neighbors, and as citizens; [Mt. 5:42; 1 Jn 3:17; Heb. 13:16; Prov. 17:5; Lev. 19:9-10]
C. the church has the resources it needs for the proclamation of the Gospel; [1 Cor. 9:14; Gal. 6:6]
D. all creation prospers under our care for the land, water, and air. [ Gen. 2:15; Deut. 22:6; Lev. 23:3-5]
Small Catechism pp108-109
Toward the end of my time in seminary, a Christian financial planner came to talk to us about tax issues facing pastors, and general financial advice. The chief lesson Kassie and I took from this was to live off of 80% of our income. The first fruits belong to God—a tithe (10%); then save another 10%; and live off the rest. In Christian freedom we are not bound to specific laws. Yet the beauty of proportional giving is the contentment that results, along with the planning required which keeps one from debt and irrational spending. The sins that God's Word attribute to the love of money are no stranger to me. In those times of inner strife I like to turn to the reminders in Scripture that money, and all earthly possessions, are transitory:
Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. (1 Tim. 6:6-9)
What is promised to us is the resurrection of the body and life in a right relationship with God and His creatures in His kingdom. That is worth more than all the treasures of this world.
Your unworthy undershepherd,