I was just a baby. I was not yet a year old. I was too young to know the gravity of what happened when the sniper's bullet hit Dr. King and too innocent to feel the immediate vacancy of his big energy and influential voice. The years would go by, though, and I would grow up. In my growing up, I would grow to not only feel Dr. King's energy but also become acquainted with the power and influence that was his voice.
It did not take long for me to conclude that Dr. King was an incredible man who lived an incredible life. He was entrusted with a great deal of responsibility that he shouldered like a champ. Through all of the hatred he faced, he somehow managed to hang on to his beautiful smile and an eagerness to make a difference. Together, he and Coretta King set a precedent for family, hard work, class and poise. As we remember Dr. King today on the 50th Anniversary of his assassination I want to share a few things about his life that has inspired me with the hope that they may inspire you as well.
1. Dr. King lived for a cause. He was not a man going through the motions of life. He came to know his purpose early on, accepted it, and trusted that God would guide him as he sought to fulfill his calling in the earth.
2. Dr. King lived with conviction. Some said he was too serious. Some said he was too strong willed. Some said he was too passionate. The truth is he was grounded by and anchored in his conviction. Dr. King believed deeply in God. He was convinced that He was chosen by God. He trusted God's power as the sustaining force throughout his life and in his life's work.
3. Dr. King lived up to his commitment. I've heard it said that commitment is doing what you said you would do even when you no longer want to or feel like doing it. Neither dogs, nor hoses, nor jail, nor bombs, nor loneliness, nor moments of discouragement, nor death or threats of death could make Dr. King abandon his commitment. He kept his word with himself and with those who trusted him--in spite of the consequences of doing so.
4. Dr. King lived courageously. With every right to be scared. With every right to be intimidated. With every right to have apprehension. With every right to not take one more risk, he kept pushing the envelope. He kept demanding more. He kept saying what needed to be said. He kept fighting for the rights of Black folk. And while he had help and support along the way, the courage he operated with came from a place deep inside his soul; that place no one can go to with you.
5. Dr. King lived to compel. He had children he adored, a wife he cherished, colleagues/comrades he appreciated, a cause he believed in, and a ministry he did not play with. Dr. King loved God. He loved the Word of God. He loved preaching God's word. He loved being educated as much as he loved educating. He understood that the mandate on his life was huge. He got that his charge was to compel men, women, boys and girls to the love and saving grace of Jesus Christ...and he did it confidently, with great anointing.
I don't know about you, but I thank God for allowing the world to experience Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I thank God for his messages of racial justice, equality, human decency/dignity, and eradicating poverty. I thank God for the way he loved and sought to protect his family. I thank God for his love for mankind. And I thank God for how - even in death - Dr. King's life changed my life. He made me a better human being. I continue to pray to be as committed, courageous and compelling as this giant of a man was. Because I care about you, I also pray that you would take some time to examine your life. Consider the extent to which you are doing the good you have been placed here to do. Consider the extent to which you are helping and serving and supporting and sowing and loving. Consider your cause? What are your convictions? What are you committed to? What was the last courageous thing you did? How compelling is your life's message and mission?
No. I'm not asking you to duplicate Dr. King's greatness. I'm asking you to consider living up to your own greatness, because as Dr. King once said, "Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve." I love you with my whole heart. Until next week...be well and do well.