Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Katie Luther: Holy Counterpart by Chris White

     Kathryn von Bora Luther (1499-1553) was the wife of Dr. Martin Luther, the famous preacher and writer who is credited with touching off the Protestant Reformation in 1517.  She and Dr. Luther were wed in 1525.  He was 41 and a confirmed bachelor, she was 26 which was normally considered quite old for a first marriage, but Katie Luther had planned on living out her life in a convent as a nun until God changed her plans.  Mrs. Luther is called “the first lady of the Reformation” because she actually was the first lady.  For centuries the church’s priesthood lived by the tradition that ministers were not to have wives and children, but rather to be single and completely devoted to the church.  So Martin and Katie Luther became the example for others not only as Protestant clergy, but an example of Protestant Christian marriage.  Mrs. Luther was by nature quite industrious and was known to run a farm, breed and sell livestock, and even owned and operated the town brewery.  But beyond her strong work ethic, Katie’s bigger contribution was being a counterpart and encouragement to her famous, overworked and overloaded husband.  Because of his reforming activities Martin Luther lived a majority of his adult life with threats to his life, property, and family.  This often put the Reformer in a morose and depressed mood.  When her words of encouragement failed to lift his spirits, Katie quietly went upstairs and put on her black mourning dress.  When she came down, Martin asked who had just died and why he hadn’t heard about it.  She replied, “Oh, the way you were talking I thought God had just died and I wanted to be dressed appropriately for the funeral.”  Luther laughed at the absurdity of it but he also got the point.  Her brilliant husband was also completely oblivious as to the management of money and often gave so much away that the family lived on the brink of financial ruin.  Kathryn was quite good with money and ended up taking over the finances for Martin’s sake.  Dr. Luther said once “in all things domestic I listen to my lord Katie, in all other areas I am led by the Holy Ghost!”.  All of us who are married need to learn from the life of Katie Luther.  She made it her mission to serve God through serving her spouse well.  She sought not to be in competition with him or even to change him, but to be a counterpart to his particular weaknesses.  In so doing she found great blessing from God and made her husband a greater man than he could have been without her.

No comments:

Post a Comment