May devotion: Entrusted to our care
from A Reformation Life: Katharina von Bora, a biography of Katie Luther, written by Rudolf and Marilynn Morris Markwald
“Because of their compassion for refugees, students, and homeless people much poorer than themselves, the Luthers fell into debt….Martin’s generosity bordered on ‘being generous to the point of self-sacrifice.’…. After fretting about the debts for years, Kate put her foot down and used her business sense to bring their finances under control….She made her farm more productive and prompted the students and other guests in her home to pay, if they could, for room and board….[Some] who had been nonpaying guests called her a tightwad and a miser…. But no complaints came from Luther regarding Kate’s stewardship, and when the number of students and guests at Lutherhaus continued to increase, it became obvious that the accusations were unjustified.”
“How do I care for the ministry God has entrusted to me?” In the story above, Katie’s stewardship begins with this question. Married to the leader of the Reformation with a large house frequented by guests, Katie knew that one ministry entrusted to her was hospitality. She cared for the ministry by managing Lutherhaus with her time, money and skills. The biography calls her a “gardener, fisher, brewer, fruit grower, cattle and horse breeder, cook, beekeeper, provisioner, nurse, and vintner.” Yet, eventually the Luthers’ own money ran out. Fortunately, Katie knew that being a good steward meant making sure the ministry was provided for, whether the funding came from her or from others. In good stewardship, Katie invited more people to contribute. She knew that the hospitality of Lutherhaus was valuable to many, and she trusted they would give if they knew their contribution was needed.
The mission of Women of the ELCA has been entrusted to our care, to be lived out in ministries like Gather magazine, racial justice advocacy, and global education—ministries that are valuable to the whole church. During the Katie’s Fund appeal this May, consider how you can invite more people in your congregation and community to become supporters of Women of the ELCA. Every gift to Katie’s Fund keeps on giving through the endowment, supporting ministry year after year. For promotion ideas, and to learn about the $1 million goal for Katie’s Fund visit the Katie's Fund page on the website.
Emma Crossen is director for stewardship and development.