Monday, June 9, 2014

Take Yourself By the Ears....

If… you feel and are inclined to think you have made it, flattering yourself with your own little books, teaching, or writing, because you have done it beautifully and preached excellently;
If you are highly pleased when someone praises you in the presence of others;
If you perhaps look for praise, and would sulk or quit what you are doing if you did not get it – if you are of that stripe, dear friend,
Then take yourself by the ears, and if you do this the right way you will find a beautiful pair of big, long, shaggy donkey ears.
Then do not spare any expense!
Decorate them with golden bells, so that people will be able to hear you wherever you go, point their fingers at you, and say, “See, see! There goes that clever beast, who can write such exquisite books and preach so remarkably well.”
That very moment you will be blessed and blessed beyond measure in the kingdom of heaven. Yes, in that heaven where hellfire is ready for the devil and his angels.
To sum up: Let us be proud and seek honor in the places where we can. But in this book the honor is God’s alone…
- Martin Luther, “Experience Makes the Theologian,” in Trials of Theology, 30, cited from Luther’s Works: Career of the Reformer, IV, vol. 34, 285-88.

HT: Trevin Wax