Shunning the Vice of Greed

It is necessary that in order for man to be a faithful pastor and preacher he must also personally be a diligent listener of the Word of God and learn to shun this vice called greed. For more than anything else, it hinders the Gospel when either the pastor or the listener is greedy. A greedy pastor does not preach the Word sincerely; by the same token parishoners do not listen to it earnestly either. The former preaches for no other purpose than to profit from it and have a good life; the latter do not pay attention to it as they should. That is why, when greed is in control, the Gospel wanes and founders. A greedy peasant or burgher says, “I must attend to my farm, to my business; I cannot take time to listen to preaching.” A greedy preacher says, “I cannot preach any more, for it brings nothing into the larder for me.” As a result, therefore, so many preachers and hearers today are such pathetic Christians and have such a low opinion of the Gospel because they are such greedy tightwads.

– Martin Luther, Second House Postil for the Ninth Sunday after Trinity (Luke 16:1-9)

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