From the Word
For the love of money is the root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced their hearts with many pangs.
1 Timothy 6:10, RSV
We see from daily experience what a shameful and accursed vice covetousness is, and what harm it does, especially in high places, whether clerical or lay. If the money fiend has taken possession of a pastor’s or preacher’s heart, so that like the rest of the world he aims at securing for himself great riches, then, like Judas, the traitor, he has already fallen into the jaws of the devil and is prepared to betray Christ, his Word and his Church for a few pieces of silver. Thus the pope has introduced all sorts of idolatries and abominations in the name of God and the Church in order to secure and maintain his riches and dominion; he has led multitudes of souls to the devil, so filling them with false terrors of his ban that no one dares to say a word against it.
How harmful it is in civil government when lords and princes are dominated by this shameful vice, aiming to appropriate everything to themselves! On this account they forget to exercise their princely office so as to be of help to the land and people over whom they have been placed as lords for this purpose, and thus they have forfeited the commendation and love, which they should receive with all honor and praise as the fathers of their people and their country. They do not concern themselves about the spread of God’s Word, the administration and support of churches and schools, or the maintenance of law and order among their subjects. They permit destitute pastors with their wives and children, the widows and orphans, to suffer injustice, violence and want. In the meantime they go about with their tax lists, and consider only how they may collect money enough for their extravagant expenditures and pomp.
Nowadays every one who has the power by means of his money impoverishes his neighbors and thus sets God and conscience aside. Upon such unchristian doings must come the fearful wrath and punishment of God. The time will come when he will turn us out of doors; since we do not heed his Word and admonition, he himself may put a forcible end to this godless business. This the believer escapes who with godly fear quietly occupies his station in life, satisfied with the things that God gives him.
Luther, Martin, and John Sander. Devotional Readings from Luther’s Works for Every Day of the Year. Augustana Book Concern, 1915, pp. 323–25.