I grew up not knowing much about Martin Luther - aside from the very basics, anyways. However, over the past few years I've really grown in appreciation for a good deal of what he did as a part of his life and ministry. Part of that growing appreciation is thanks to my worship studies in seminary. (Luther had a lot to say about worship and music. He did quite a bit to revive the practice of the congregation singing in church.)
Also, though it may sound a bit shallow, there was a movie made about Luther a few years ago - and I've seen it a few times. I highly recommend it...it is made by the Lutheran church (so a bit rose-colored) - but it's not often you see a movie on church history that is as compelling as this.
And today I'm thankful for Martin Luther's commitment to Christ, to His Word, and for his willingness to stand up for those commitments regardless of his personal comfort. It makes me wonder what I am willing to stand for...
In his own words - when he was asked to recant or be excommunicated:
“I can not submit my faith either to the pope or to the councils, because it is as clear as the day that they have frequently erred and contradicted each other. Unless therefore, I am convinced by the testimony of Scripture, or by the clearest reasoning, unless I am persuaded by means of the passages I have quoted, and unless they thus render my conscience bound by the Word of God, I cannot and I will not retract; for it unsafe for a Christian to speak against his conscience. Here I stand, I can do no other. May God help me." - From the Diet of Worms, 1520