What Luther Didn’t Say About Vocation

Frederick J. Gaiser

Article Type: Editorial

Publication Date: 10/1/2005

Issue: Work and Witness (Vol. 25, No 4, Fall, 2005)

The quotation is all over the net, so it must be true. Martin Luther, we are told, said this about vocation: "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." It seemed such a tempting nugget for authors writing on vocation, as most of the writers in this issue do. At least one wanted to use it. Indeed, the editor of Lutheran Partners, William Decker, did use it to introduce a recent issue of that journal dedicated to the theme of “Vocation and Identity,” but, to his credit, he reported his inability to trace it to Luther himself.

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