I am going to the Minnesota North LWML Retreat at Lutheran Island Camp. It starts Friday and goes through Sunday. Pastor Don Stauty, LWML MN North District Pastoral Counselor, will be leading Bible study. I am going to talk about Missions and Mercy and the important partnership we have with the LWML The North Dakota District LWML Retreat will be September 14-16 at Carrington. The Bible Study leader will be Rev Dave Suelzle and the Guest Speaker will be Mary Hilgendorf who will talk about spiritual gifts. I have always enjoyed LWML retreats. The ladies have fun but they also have serious study of the Scriptures and ususally some kind of servant related event.
Anyway the theme for the Minnesota North Retreat is from 1 Corinthians, the great paen to love passage. Since we are talking some about preaching and preachers, I love the quote from Luthers sermon on this text. He always brings us around to service toward the neighbor because of what Christ has done for us.
We see today how the Gospel has given to men knowledge beyond anything known in the world before, and has bestowed upon them new capabilities. Various gifts have been showered upon and distributed among them which have redounded to their honor. But they go on unheeding. No one takes thought how he may in Christian love serve his fellow-men to their profit. Each seeks for himself glory and honor, advantage and wealth.
Could one bring about for himself the distinction of being the sole individual learned and powerful in the Gospel, all others to be insignificant and useless, he would willingly do it; he would be glad could he alone be regarded as Mister Smart. At the same time he affects deep humility, great self-abasement, and preaches of love and faith. But he would take it hard had he, in practice, to touch with his little finger what he preaches. This explains why the world is so filled with fanatics and schismatics, and why every man would master and outrank all others. Such as these are haughtier than those that taught them. Paul here attacks these vainglorious spirits, and judges them to be wholly insignificant, though their knowledge may be great and their gifts even greater, unless they should humble themselves and use their gifts in the service of others.
To these coarse and mean people he addresses himself with a multitude of words and a lengthy discourse, a subject he elsewhere disposes of in a few words; for instance, where he says ( Philippians 2:3-4), “In lowliness of mind each counting other better than himself; not looking each of you to his own things, but each of you also to the things of others.” By way of illustration, he would pass sentence upon himself should he be thus blameworthy; this more forcibly to warn others who fall far short of his standing. He says, “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels.” 1 That is, though I had ability to teach and to preach with power beyond that of any man or angel, with words of perfect charm, with truth and excellence informing my message — though I could do this, “but have not love [charity],” and only seek my own honor and profit and not my neighbor’s, “I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal.” In other words, “I might, perhaps, thereby teach others something, might fill their ears with sound, but before God I would be nothing.” As a clock or a bell has not power to hear its own sound, and does not derive benefit from its stroke, so the preacher who lacks love cannot himself understand anything he says, nor does he thereby improve his standing before God. He has much knowledge, indeed, but because he fails to place it in the service of love, it is the quality of his knowledge that is at fault. 1 Corinthians 8:1-12. Far better he were dumb or devoid of eloquence, if he but teach in love and meekness, than to speak as an angel while seeking but his own interests.