October 10, 2023 | Martin Luther – Day 41


“To acknowledge that you are learned, wise, and wealthy is not evil; for it would be ingratitude to despise these gifts. But to be proud because of these gifts is diabolical and a grievous fault (vitium) – a fault arising from original sin.”

Martin Luther



To have money, fame, wisdom or beauty is not a sin. Each of these is one of God’s many gifts to us (though they can each be a curse as well). To some, God extends certain gifts so that their calling in life may be more accessible. We shouldn’t be ashamed because of these gifts, nor should we shame those who have received them.


The Apostle James wrote, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17). All good gifts find their source in God, even those we choose, against God’s will, to use to our own advantage from selfish ambition.


The gifts from God become corrupt when we use them to glorify ourselves and to separate us from our dependency on God. It is when we become our own gods by using the gifts that God has so graciously given us that we fall into sin.


God abhors selfish pride. Martin Luther said that “the proud are the devils prey.” He said this because those who are filled with selfish conceit make themselves vulnerable to the devil’s wishes. Martin called self-centered ambition a poison for the soul because it had the capabilities of blackening our spirit and killing the connection we have with Christ.


Instead, God would have us use these gifts to further His kingdom. 1 Peter 4:10 urges, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” Our gifts were not given to glorify us, but to humble us in service to our neighbor. They were given not only to make our lives better, but to enrich the lives that we are so fortunate to touch.


Today, use the gifts God has given you to improve the lives of your neighbor. Whether it be the four mentioned or an endless supply of other gifts you may have been given, use them to better the world by deepening your relationship with your Creator through sharing them.


Our Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the many gifts You have given, far too many to count. Help us not to use them unwisely, but with the wisdom to know that by using them to help our neighbors, we also help ourselves. Amen.