Updated: Jun 8
I always find Luther's quote hilarious, challenging and amazing, especially concerning work life. Many quotes cannot be traced to him directly, these could be sayings or quotes that has been made popular / tag to Luther. Here are 4 quotes that are interesting about our work life.
The maid who sweeps her kitchen is doing the will of God just as much as the monk who prays – not because she may sing a Christian hymn as she sweeps but because God loves clean floors. The Christian shoemaker does his Christian duty not by putting little crosses on the shoes, but by making good shoes, because God is interested in good craftsmanship- Luther.
Nowhere could I find a website that made reference to any of Luther’s works when quoting this alleged statement. Instead, the reference, if any, is to the September 5, 1994 (Labor Day), usage in “Our Daily Bread,” the daily devotional provided by Radio Bible Class; see http://www.rbc.org/odb/odb-09-05-94.shtml (accessed 11
‘A cobbler, a smith, a peasant—each has the work and office of his trade, and yet they are all alike consecrated priests and bishops. Further, everyone must benefit and serve every other by means of his own work or office so that in this way many kinds of work may be done for the bodily and spiritual welfare of the community, just as all the members of the body serve one another.’- Luther
How is it possible that you are not called? You have always been in some state or
station; you have always been a husband or wife, or boy or girl, or servant. Picture
before you the humblest estate. Are you a husband, and you think you have not
enough to do in that sphere to govern your wife, children, domestics, and property
so that all may be obedient to God and you do no one any harm? Yea, if you had
five heads and ten hands, even then you would be too weak for your task, so that
you would never dare to think of making a pilgrimage or doing any kind of saintly
The prince should think: Christ has served me and made everything to follow
him; therefore, I should also serve my neighbor, protect him and everything that
belongs to him. That is why God has given me this office, and I have it that I
might serve him. That would be a good prince and ruler. When a prince sees his
neighbor oppressed, he should think: That concerns me! I must protect and
shield my neighbor....The same is true for shoemaker, tailor, scribe, or reader. If
he is a Christian tailor, he will say: I make these clothes because God has bidden
me do so, so that I can earn a living, so that I can help and serve my neighbor.
When a Christian does not serve the other, God is not present; that is not Christian
living-Martin Luther, “Sermon in the Castle Church at Weimar” (25 October 1522, Saturday after the Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity), in D. Martin Luthers Werke: Kritische Gesamtausgabe, 60 vols. (Weimar: Herman Böhlaus Nachfolger, 1883–1980) 10/3:382
God may indeed like good craftsmanship, but Christian vocation is not about production (though production will result), just as it is not ultimately about my own satisfaction (though it will surely satisfy); but it is about the neighbor, about giving oneself to the other in love and service in the glorious freedom of the gospel. And God will welcome all our efforts to that end, however skilled or hesitant they might be.