Pride and Donkey Ears





*I rediscovered this colorful gem tonight while skimming through notes from Systematic Theology I with J.I.Packer back in the Fall of 1996 at Regent College.  This is an excerpt ("Luther Concerning the Study of Theology") taken from Martin Luther's "Preface to the Wittenberg Edition of Luther's German Writings". Luther certainly wasn't shy with words! I'm glad for that. For his words remind me that God desires a contrite heart from me… one with ears tuned to his Word instead of the praise of others. Here, after years of wrestling and learning, writing and reforming, Luther considers the impact of pride on theological pursuits:

If, however, 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, as it is said, "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble" [1 Pet. 5:5]; to whom be glory, world without end, Amen.

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