From the Word
And they ate, and were satisfied; and they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full.
Mark 8:8, RSV
It is God’s will that we do not squander his gifts uselessly; but be economical and prudent with them, and use the abundance which he gives faithfully for our benefits and needs, and preserve them for the future, when we may have further use for them. That is honoring the precious food and not permitting the crumbs to lie under the table; just as our fathers taught their children from this example and added the proverb: “He who saves when he has will find when he needs.” It is a malignant, shameless vice and great contempt of the gifts of God, that the world is now overflooded with cloisters, pomp and expenditure of money for everything far beyond its ability to pay. From this then must follow such robbing, stealing, usury, hoarding and pinching by which the country and the people, rulers and subjects, are ruined as a punishment.
We should not shamefully expend and destroy that which we have in abundance and cannot enjoy either in our need or in our pleasure. If such is expended and destroyed in an unchristian manner, the poor have not only their little torn from their teeth by our greed, but we even merit that God does not permit us to enjoy that which we have raked together, extorted and saved by pinching. The jaws of avarice can devour the property of a prince faster than a whole city can give it to him, and yet no person is happy or better because of it. A prince must have more for banking, for sports, for display in dress than his people and country can afford. Consequently there is lack everywhere in those things we need for the Church and the school, for government and the common advantage of all, for our nourishment and necessities.
It can no more be called enjoying the gifts of God, which he gives so richly and abundantly to the end for us to enjoy; for man will not use them in the praise of God and enjoy them for himself, but only for the dishonor of God and for the destruction of the blessings given. No one has any thought of saving anything for posterity, but all live as if they rejoiced in destroying everything at once. But in all this destruction God will nevertheless help us, since we have no other desire.
Luther, Martin, and John Sander. Devotional Readings from Luther’s Works for Every Day of the Year. Augustana Book Concern, 1915, pp. 304–05.