Friday, November 6, 2009

Quote from "The Spirituality of the Cross" by Veith

On the internet, I've seen Gene Veith's book recommended numerous times. I finally got one in my hands. It was an easy and quick read; I can see why people recommend it as an introduction. Quick and easy, however, does not mean not profound.

A bit that struck me from the book was this from page 78.

"Luther goes so far as to say that works done supposedly for God alone, and not for the benefit of actual human beings, lose their moral value:

'If you find yourself in a work by which you accomplish something good for God, or the holy, or yourself, but not for your neighbor alone, then you should know that that work is not a good work. For each one ought to live speak, act, hear, suffer, and die in love and service for another, even for one's enemies, a husband for his wife and children, a wife for her husband, children for their parents, servants for their masters, masters for their servants, rulers for their subjects and subjects for their rulers, so that one's hand, mouth, eye, foot, heart and desire is for others; these are Christian works, good in nature.'

For Luther, ascetic self-denials, God-appeasing rituals, and private moralistic attitudes are not good work at all--one must actually help somebody."

I knew that, of course, but it is phrased differently here and strikes me differently.

Of course, we would like to do something for God who did so much for us, and we know that that means serving our neighbor. We do know that and want that to some degree.

But it does make me think about wanting to "do something for God". We don't do anything for God. He has everything, owns everything, makes everything that is good. He serves us. We serve others, hopefully.

Oh, it would be so much more glorious to do something wonderful for God than just serve our lowly neighbors, wouldn't it? What a temptation. No wonder it is fallen for so much.

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