Aug 19, 2016

What Luther Said About Children

By Alison Andreasen


Martin Luther said many things about children. I love this quote, reportedly told to Dr. Jonas after he noted the beauty of a branch from a cherry tree and how it directed his attention to divine creation.

“Why do you not daily learn the article of divine creation by looking at your children and offspring, who stand before you? They are of far greater worth than all the fruits of the trees.  Here you may behold the providence of God, who created them out of nothing. In a half year He gave them body and life and all their members and also intends to support them. But we pass by these gifts, nay, are bound to become blind and miserly because of them; for people usually are made worse and more covetous by the gift of children. They soon begin to pinch and do not know that every infant is given his lot in life, according to the proverb; The greater the number of children, the greater the luck.  Dear Lord God, how great are the ignorance and wickedness in man, who cannot consider these things, but acts contrary in his use of the best gifts of God.”  

You see, Luther looked at His children as God’s creation and admired them as such. Sometimes this is easy to do. We, too, give thanks to God for the gift they are. We admire His handiwork and praise Him for His creativity. We stand in awe of His power to accomplish all that creating a human entails. We catch glimpses of a peaceful, sleeping child. We feel joy in hearing a belly laugh during a tickle-monster attack. We feel pride while watching our children play and we feel wonderment at the insights our children offer as they witness the world around them.

Sometimes giving thanks for the gifts they are is a difficult thing to do. We cringe when they dump that bucket of toys out instead of cleaning them. We sigh when they are unkind to their siblings. We must discipline when they deliberately disobey. They are despicable, ornery, sneaky sinners. In these cases, we bear with our weaker brothers and sisters, guiding them to repentance and granting forgiveness. But being a sinner isn’t ALL they are.

They are also created beings who are being sanctified and renewed as we speak. Luther shows us that you can be a Biblical Christian, recognizing that all are sinful and fallen, while still admiring Creation, giving praise and glory to the Creator. God intricately created the world and all who are in it and continues to sustain it with His very Word. Luther also warns us that not being thankful for the gifts that God has given us, including our children, is “ignorant” and “wicked.”So let us look at our children and consider Luther’s words. Even when they are driving us batty, let us consider how God, the Father Almighty looks at us, the children He created, who are sinful yet redeemed by Christ--with compassion, gentleness, and love.  


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Alison is a wife of one, mother of three, and teacher of many. She lives in rural South Dakota where she enjoys life on the prairie as a dual parish pastor’s wife. A trained Lutheran school teacher and homeschooling mom, she has a passion for children’s education, especially education in the Christian faith. She is a brainstormer by nature and those who are close to her never know what new idea she will think of next. Recent adventures with her family have included tapping trees to make syrup; creating, expanding, and selling her own granola business; and learning to preserve fresh garden goodness for year-round use.

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