Excellent Physic in Mere Muck

Excellent Physic in Mere MuckTonight I’m getting together with some people at the LeBars’ house to talk about some of what Martin Luther was overheard saying to his students during some of the communal dinners that they shared together. These notes that record what Luther said can be pretty interesting – and were eventually combined into a compendium called “Table Talk”.

One of the choice nuggets (and I may regret using that term in a moment) from the reading that we’re discussing for today is about dung. In it, Luther talks about how amazing it is that God has made even excrement useful. He writes:

“Tis wonderful how God has put such excellent physic in mere muck; we know by experience that swine’s dung stints the blood; horse’s serves for the pleurisy; man’s heals wounds and black blotches . . .”

It is worth noting that when we call Martin Luther “Doctor Luther”, we’re not referring to a medical degree. While this may have been totally acceptable treatment in the 1500’s, I doubt too many doctors today are going to try to stop your bleeding with swine’s dung. Nonetheless, the point here about God is still worth noting.

God takes our …excrement. He takes that which is less than palatable for us, that which we would put away from us – and He uses it for His uses. He takes parts of our lives which seem like they could never benefit anyone, and He uses them for His purpose. His purpose reigns above the thing being purposed. His purpose redeems the thing being purposed. His purpose gives value to the thing being purposed.

You are being purposed. You are God’s Baptized child. His purpose gives you value.

So if you feel like dung today or tomorrow, lift up your head and smile, because it really is wonderful how God has put such excellent physic in your mere muck.