"And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto myself. John 12:32
The drips of water on little Walter's head came "in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit" at Zion Lutheran Church. Zion Lutheran in southwest Detroit. Water was the means of cleansing, but God was the power in the life of Walter Reuther. According to the book "Walther Ruether" by Gould and Hickok:
"Sunday in the Reuther family was also devoted to serious matters. The whole family went to church every Sunday, and the children attended Sunday school. In their Zion Lutheran Church, a child was given a gold plated button as a reward for one year's perfect attendance record at Sunday school. Thereafter for each perfect year he would receive a gold plated bar to be hung below the button. Each of the four Reuther boys accumulated seven bars."
Later in life Walther's dad would quiz him and the rest of the family about the sermon and doctrine at the Sunday dinner table. Over the years issues of justice would move from the heavens to the earth and lively questions were discussed; women's suffrage, child labor, prohibition, organized labor. With a razor-sharp mind and the spirit of God in his soul a social reformer was formed.
Walter Reuther was a keen observer of the world around him. He witnessed the tremendous poverty caused by the Great Depression and was deeply affected by the poor working conditions and the lack of dignity that factory workers experienced around the world. Did not the Scriptures proclaim: "If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the Lord your God is giving you do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother." (Deuteronomy 15:7)
God made a difference in Reuther's life and he later made a difference in God's world. In 1946 Walther was elected president of the United Auto Workers and later this union set new standards in fair wages, health care, and safety regulations for not only the U.A.W. workers, but workers all over God's world.
On this Labor Day weekend Christians blessed by their baptism and means of grace are chipping in to assist the needy in Houston and surrounding area after hurricane Harvey. They are dipping into their blessings from God to bless those in need. As with Walther Ruether, never underestimate what God can accomplish through you; as the Scriptures proclaim: Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men." (Colossians 3:23) God is an awesome power working within us!
LCMC / LUTHERAN CONGREGATIONS IN MISSION FOR CHRIST
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