Luther Quote of the Day

5. A pious man is merciful and willing to lend.

There is a threefold Christian use of temporal goods, and besides these three there is also a secular use. The first Christian use is for me to allow my goods to be taken from me, to let myself be cheated, duped, and imposed upon. If some knave were to come and rob or steal that which is mine or deceive me with sweet words and cheat me, he has done me little harm, taking only the crust of my bread but not Him who sits above. He harms himself more than me, taking my crusts, a poor plate of bread, while acquiring an ungracious and angry God for himself. I still keep Him who is in heaven, who owns all things, where I have my real treasure which no thief can steal (Matt. 6:20).

The second use is to donate and give to him who asks. However, we must give in such a way that we do not give away other people’s possessions. One must not steal to give to other people.

The third use is to lend what is mine and then not to demand its return, whether it returns to me or not. But one can see how common these three things are. They are unknown to the world, and few people know about them. Besides these three uses there is another, a secular one: buying and selling, giving one thing for another. This is something for the lawyers. The prophet here speaks of lending, the rarest Christian use, which is to be found most seldom among Christians.

Psalm • 112

Of wealth, fame, and pleasure
as these are correctly used by the righteous
and misused by the godless

Translated by
Daniel E. Poellot

Luther’s works, vol. 13:
Selected Psalms II
p 408


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