“Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve… You only need a heart full of grace, and a soul generated by love.” This is a lesser known quote by Dr. King, and though not as notable as “I have a dream”, it is a powerful reminder to us about the man and his mission. Martin Luther King was an ordinary person with an extraordinary passion. A passion to see the love of God, the compassion of good men and the hope of a brighter tomorrow made real in his world, and the world that his children would inherit.
Would the world be a better place if there were more “Martin Luther King, Jr.’s”? Most would agree it would, but there’s a more important question you must face. “Would the world be a better place if there were more of YOU and people like you?” Are you serving others? Are you making the world you touch a better place because of your touch? Now more than ever this world… YOUR world… needs men and women who will shape history for the better. How?
- Character and Conviction must always trump Convenience and Complacency. Being a world changer is not a job for the lukewarm or the weak. Dr. King said, “The time is always right to do what is right.” Even when it’s hard? Yes. Even when it’s painful or costly? Absolutely. Even when it runs counter to our culture and conflicts with our self-interests? Especially then. Character is not simply a badge to be worn or a name tag on our suit. It comes from our core, our innermost values. When confronted with challenges to what is just and right, our convictions stand fast against the whims of the culture.
- Bravery is defined by our lives and not our lips. Courage doesn’t exist until it faces adversity. Up to that point, courage is simply a word on a page. It is a picture of the lion, not the lion itself. Only when the verbs become actions and the speeches become activity does the lion come alive! This world is not a safe place. Enemies work to undermine our progress, and evil men cause harm for no other reason than to enjoy the pain they bring to others. Standing against those activities will come with a price. No person has or can ever expect to face down tyranny and abuse or conflict and corruption without being fiercely engaged by those enraged at the audacity of a good person to say “enough”. Bravery is an armor whose breastplate is a target and whose sword is an invitation to his enemies. Bravery will be defined by whether we watch the war or instead, run to the battle.
- Love infuses every facet of our cause and becomes the driving force that shapes our destiny. Jesus said it best when He said, “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:43-45) Dr. King was well aware of this truth too – during a speech near Christmas in 1957, Dr. King said, “Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Love for those we lead, love for those we influence, for those we embrace – this warms our heart and stokes our passions. But we must show love to those who despise us, lead with love those who would rebel against us and be love to those who know no love at all.
MLK, Jr. left us with an amazing legacy, one that began in the heart of his namesake. No, not his father, but 400 years and a continent apart, in the life of the great theologian Martin Luther. Luther said, “I cannot choose but adhere to the word of God, which has possession of my conscience; nor can I possibly, nor will I even make any recantation, since it is neither safe nor honest to act contrary to conscience! Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God! Amen.” Will you take a stand? Will you be so committed to make a difference in your world that you too will say, “I cannot do otherwise, so help me God!”
GO BE GREAT! Serve someone with conviction, with bravery, with love! You will be great!
I love this remake of the great anthem, “We Are The World”… love that it’s a bunch of young adults singing it with such passion!
Watch the video, then take a moment to answer the question below the video!
If you could help the world have more of only one
characteristic of greatness, what would it be, and why?