Another school year has ended. The children were noticeably more and more excited about the end of school as the final day drew closer. I am happy for them and I hope they enjoy their summer. I also look forward to seeing them next year. It is good to have a break, but as all of you know, school is important. As the school year ends I want to share with you a few words Martin Luther said about school that still apply today.
I hold that there was never a better time to study than right now, not only because knowledge is so abundant and cheap, but also because of the great wealth and honor to which it leads. Those who study in these times will become so highly prized that two princes and three cities will yet compete for one scholar.
Luther gives special mention to training children for the work of preaching and teaching. It is necessary for the survival of the church that some are trained to work as pastors and teachers in the church. Please consider encouraging the children of our congregation that you have contact with to study for this important work. Luther has this to say:
Now if it is true and certain that God himself has established and instituted the spiritual estate with his own blood and death, we may conclude that he will have it highly honored. He will not allow it to be destroyed or to die out, but will have it maintained until the Last Day. . . . But by whom then shall it be maintained? Oxen and horses, dogs and swine will not do it; neither will wood and stone. We men shall have to do it, for this office is not committed to oxen and horses, but to us men. But where shall we get men for it except from those who have children? If you will not raise your child for this office, and the next man will not, and so on, and no fathers or mothers will give their children to our God for this work, what will become of the spiritual office and estate?
Finally Luther has this encouragement for parents.
Therefore go ahead and have your son study. And even if he has to beg bread for a time, you are nonetheless giving to our Lord God a fine bit of wood out of which he can carve you a lord. That is the way it will always be: your son and my son, that is, the children of the common people, will necessarily rule the world, both in the spiritual and the worldly estates.
Our Lord has given us a wonderful gift in our children. By this gift the world will continue to exist and the Gospel will continue to be preached. May we raise our children to glorify God, both as inhabitants of this earth and especially as members of God’s eternal kingdom.