If my neighbor needs me…

Several of you may have heard this, but I heard it from my wife.  It really challenged me and encourage me!

Martin Luther during a plague in 1527:

“You ought to think this way:  Very well, by God’s decree the enemy has sent us poison and deadly offal.  Therefore I shall ask God mercifully to protect us.  Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine, and take it.  I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance infect and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence.

If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what He has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others.  If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely, as stated above.  See, this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.”

Luther’s Works, v.43, p.132, “Whether one may flee from a deadly plague” letter written to Rev. Dr. John Hess

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