As I enter retirement one thing I know for certain, I have not come up with even one original idea in my entire preaching and teaching ministry. I think that is good. In the last 15 years of Martin Luther’s life, Luther exercised an extraordinary influence over the output of the German press (publications). Hence in 1539, the printers of Wittenberg approached Luther with an extraordinary proposition: in return for a guarantee of first access to any future works (of his), they would provide Luther with a supplementary income of 400 gulden. Luther’s salary was never above 200 gulden. This offer would have tripled Luther’s income.
Luther refused their offer. Luther’s explanation, “He preferred to make no money from his books”. Why? Because Luther confessed that none of his writings contained anything that he could call his own.
That spirit of privileged stewardship of other people’s ideas and insights formulated his final words on his deathbed: (Wir sind Bettler!) “We are beggars!”
As I depart, I want to thank you for loaning me your ideas, your insights, your pain and sorrows, your joys and pleasures to this beggar. Your stories have enriched my life and inspired the preaching and teaching of this ministry. Thank you!
Auf Wieder Sehen.