The Place of Trust

The Place of Trust is Martin Marty’s interpretation of Martin Luther’s commentaries and notes on the Sermon on the Mount. It is specifically on the Beatitudes, with some detail paid attention to the rest of Jesus’ message in the Gospel of Matthew. Marty is a noted historian with a specialization on Luther and the Reformation. While keeping much of the original tone and language of Luther’s work, Marty shows how Jesus told us His message of trust, or faith in God. Reading like a single message, it is compromised of the letters and commentaries, Luther wrote on the Sermon on the Mount.For many of us, like Luther we find faith and trust to be a struggle. That is why this speaks to his audiences, as well as the current generations. For Luther, the trustworthiness of God begs faith in every circumstance. This lets on to Luther’s central message, if God is in control then the day is seen in a different light. Then there should be no anxiety about tomorrow. There is a sharp contrast to the God of Mammon, the god of this world. The Mammon versus Yahweh is similar to the good versus evil metaphor often used. Mammon says to occupy as much wealth and possession as if we were to stay in this world forever. Christians know otherwise, that we are only here for a short period of time, and then the hereafter. Luther expounds on the famous line by Christ about how the sparrows and lilies of the field live a life with no anxiety. We should do the same. Those living a rich life now has already received their reward, thus they are no better off than we are. Our faith is grounded in struggling. Though we may struggle, our struggle is temporary. The Kingdom of God is believing in Christ. It is now. It should be taken seriously and not lightly. That is how the disciples of Mammon live, as if life is not serious and there are no consequences for our actions.It is a worthy read to see how Luther takes historical and biblical examples to show us not to be anxious about anything. Even when we see those who do not live according to God’s laws prospering. The chief work of a Christian is prayer and preaching. Do not let your work be discredited by worrying about someone else. Prayer is more important. Luther describes it as a three step process that should not be restricted or for show. It is necessary to ensure a life of devotion, one “worthy of the calling.” Prayers should not be a chore, but rather a source of joy. For this reason Luther emphasizes the power of short prayers. He offers The Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments, and the Apostles’ Creed as examples for those unsure of how to pray.  Prayer ensures that we will continue God’s work by serving one another. God is always at work. We are to continually serve one another. This is something that the world, those followers of Mammon simply cannot understand.Prayer is our faith lived out. Our faith should come before all else. Faith allows you to “be filled,” which is being able to see the evidence of your labor. Through faith you will see God, and you will see that all good things come from God. Then you will have a pure heart when you pursue God. When the heart is pure, the body will be purified. This goes as far to follow Christ not just by abstaining from breaking the rules but by pursuing a relationship with God. The same thought would be echoes 400 years later by Dietrich Bonhoeffer in The Cost of Discipleship. Again, those of this world would not understand such a cost that does not serve themselves but others instead.
Luther wants you to take heart. You will go through struggles, but it is during those struggles that you will see the one who struggled on your behalf.

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