Martin Luther, as recorded in January 1532 by his friend Conrad Cordatus and recently translated and published in Off the Record with Martin Luther [(Hansa-Hewlett, 2009), page 110]:

“I find nothing that promotes work better than angry fervor; for when I wish to compose, write, pray and preach well, I must be angry. It refreshes my entire system, my mind is sharpened, and all unpleasant thoughts and depression fade away.”

3 thoughts on “Productivity

  1. Anger has, at times, motivated me to begin a worthwhile project, but my first stumbling, sputtering comments were rarely helpful in effectively addressing the issue. It was, for me, only when a significant measure of calmness had returned that I was able to pray, write or preach with clarity.

  2. Martin Luther is one of my favorite Christian heroes. So thanks for sharing this little nugget.

    I once had an employer who wasn’t satisfied with the work environment unless everyone was angrily at work. She was an old US Army Sargent (retired) from WWII and mean as a snake. I dreaded her appearance in the shop. I don’t think we worked any harder, better, or quicker when she stirred the pot. We were just angry.

    I can get a lot done when I’m working angry. But why? Why must I be angry? When I’m working hard, I sometimes stop and ask why am I angry? Then I realize that I was trained to work angry and falling back on old work habits. It just doesn’t have to be that way. I don’t have to work angry. I can focus on the joy of achievement, of doing bigger and better than I ever did before, of the benefit of doing a good job for myself and for the ones I love. So I stop and consider that anger is not a fruit of the Spirit. I don’t have to be angry at all. I just need to break an old habit.


  3. Hurrah for Brother Martin! That’s such a comfort to me that he worked that way too. As Trueman says, “To stop loving Luther is to stop loving life.”

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