A Note on Humility and Diligence

As an academic with a short attention span, I have the tendency to bounce from subject to subject. Yesterday, I studied the Norwegian-American church, today I study New Testament. Yesterday, I read a book about the history of China, today I’m reading a book about geology. With that in mind, this devotional from Martin Luther struck me, and reminded me that no matter how many degrees I pile up, I have to return to some things over and over again.

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Give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. – 1 Timothy 4.13

I am often aware of my temptation, and even to this day can scarcely guard myself sufficiently against it. This I confess openly as an example to any who are interested, although I am an old doctor and preacher and am so much more versed in the Scriptures, or at least ought to be, than all those wise ones who attack me; I must still grow daily, like a child, saying aloud every morning the Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments, the Creed, and such precious psalms and sayings as I choose, just as the children are now being taught to do, although I have daily to study the Scriptures and to fight the devil. I may not say in my heart: You know the Lord’s Prayer, you know the Ten Commandments, you know the Creed by heart, etc. No, I must go on learning every day and remain a pupil of the Catechism. I feel how noticeably it helps me, and I find by experience that the Word of God can never be exhausted, but that it is really true as Psalm 147 says: “His understanding is infinite.”

-FromĀ Day by Day We Magnify Thee: Daily Meditation’s from Luther’s Writings, ed. Margarete Steiner and Percy Scott (Philadelphia: Muhlenberg Press, 1946), 348.