LÖHE ON EPHESIANS 5:4

Give-Thanks-200x211Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. (Eph 5:4 NIV)

How easily do we often overlook sins, sometimes even condoning them if not excusing them openly. That’s why we have to take this apostolic admonition all the more serious: which are out of place! A Christian should keep his eternal home in mind and therefore not get too comfortable and accommodating to foreign customs and estranging cultures. Rather he should live up to his heavenly calling. How could he find excuses for obscenities, foolish talk or coarse joking before the supreme judgment throne of his heavenly king and Lord? Whatever is righteous, pure, decent, lovely, virtuous and befitting in the kingdom of God, that is appropriate and a Christian should put his mind, heart and soul to that. However everything with bad taste, evil and godless should be kept much further than an arms length away. Flee it and keep away from it.

Yet the apostle does not only forbid. He also commands thanksgiving. The Psalmist confesses: “It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to your name, O Most High!” (Psalm 92:1 ESV) Whenever a person is reborn and the Holy Spirit dwells in him, then it is a holy joy and pleasure to praise, laud and thank his Lord and God. How blessed are those, who are moved by the Holy Spirit to this heartfelt gratitude and thankfulness. Just compare the very different occasions to determine, when you were more happy and joyful: On the one hand, when you where praising God’s grace and mercy with songs and delightful melodies of your mouth or when it was dripping with malice and evil tripe? Don’t respond with the excuse, that even if singing praises are joyful pleasures, yet they don’t belong everywhere – just into the Lord’s sanctuary and church. No – praise and thanksgiving belongs into our homes, onto open pastures and fields, into walkways, alleys and highways by day and by night – yes even into the private rooms and even public taverns and the like. Wherever you can’t praise God and thank him, there a Christian should not make himself at home either. A Christian needs to praise and thank his God wherever he is – especially where he settles down to live. That’s like the air he breathes and part of his daily bread: Thanksgiving and praising the Lord, his God and savior.

An obedient will, gracious rest, love to practice, humility and truthfulness, clear eyes, a faithful heart at peace and a joyful mind: Help o Lord that I might attain these + (Author unknown )

This is a translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Thursday after Sunday Oculi (3rd Sunday in Lent). The prayer was translated rather literally and not poetically. Both are found on Pg. 135 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu!   (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and published in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.

About Wilhelm Weber

Pastor at the Old Latin School in the Lutherstadt Wittenberg
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