In today's world these, two words often seem at odds. How can one serve and still be a leader? This week the students in some of the classrooms have been learning about just such a man. This man was someone who served the needs of others. He did this when times were good. He did this when times were tough.
Dr. King was a servant-leader. He was taught how to serve others by his parents. He was taught by his father, a pastor. He was taught by example. The examples were taught at home. The examples were based on what his parents taught him from the Bible.
He was taught by the examples of the greatest servant-leader, our LORD. Jesus came into the world to save us. He came into the world to show us the Good News of Salvation. He showed us how to live. John 3:17 says For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Matthew 20:27-28 tells us that Jesus came not be served, but to serve and to give His life up for many.
We know how Dr. King fought for equality for all. We know how Dr. King fought for the rights of all through civil disobedience. We know about Dr. King's marches. We know a lot about his public person. There is a lot written about this great man. Just one search this morning on Google for "Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr." turned up over 108 million hits.
We consider Dr. King a hero!
Dr. King had heroes as well. Three of his heroes were: Martin Luther (1483-546) Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) and Gandhi (1869-1948). From these three men he learned many things. He learned more about his faith and how to handle events in his life in a peaceful manner. Dr. King was no stranger to having to "turn the other cheek". Dr. King was a man of principles. He held his views high and expected that of those around him. Dr. King inspired a whole generation of people to look at their neighbor differently. He inspired a whole generation in history of people to move out of what we now call a "comfort zone" and do something different. I know he influenced my husband, as a college student to travel to Birmingham, AL during a turbulent time and register voters.
Although Dr. King held these three men in high regard, he didn't get his beliefs from them or those around him. Ultimately what he believed came from what he was taught by his parents as a child - What they taught him from the Bible.
When Dr. King was questioned about who he was, or what he considered most important in his life his first answers didn't have to do with what he had accomplished or the changes he made. His first response was that he was a Baptist minister. He was first and foremost a child of the LORD's. What he saw in people was that all were equal in the sight of the LORD. We are all equal in our sin and we are all equal in our forgiveness through Christ. Dr. King knew this, believed this, and practiced this.
When Dr. King faced the hard times in his life, it was to the Word that he went, it was to other ministers of different denominations that he went - to whom he reached out.
As we celebrate or remember Dr. King this Monday, January 21, 2019, in whatever way(s), take the time to thank the LORD for placing Dr. King in a time in history when he could speak out. Christ said," There is no greater love, than to lay down one's life for one's friends." (John 15:13)
Take a moment and read the "I Have A Dream" speech. Take a moment and look closely to see how much Dr. King referred to words from the Bible.
As we enter a New Year, how do we handle the stresses and the challenges that we will face? They are often the same challenges that we faced at the stroke of midnight when the calendar went from 2018 to 2019. Just because the calendar year changed, doesn't mean our lives changed.
How do we handle the joys, disappointments, the ups & the downs in life?
We are instructed in 1 Peter that we are to always be ready to give an account for what we believe. But do our actions truly show what we believe?
Here are some examples and what God might say in reply:
You say: "It's impossible"
God says: "All things are possible"(Luke 18:27)
You say: "I'm too tired"
God says: "I will give you rest"(Matthew 11:28-30)
You say: "Nobody really loves me"
God says: "I love you"(John 3:16 & John 3:34)
You say: "I can't go on"
God says: "My grace is sufficient"(2 Corinthians 12:9 & Psalm 91:15)
You say: "I can't figure things out"
God says: "I will direct your steps" (Proverbs 3:5-6)
You say: "I can't do it"
God says: "You can do all things" (Philippians 4:13)
You say: "I'm not able"
God says: "I am able" (2 Corinthians 9:8)
You say: "I can't forgive myself"
God says: "I forgive you" (I John 1:9 & Romans 8:1)
You say: "I'm always worried and frustrated"
God says: "Cast all your cares on ME" (I Peter 5:7)
You say: "I feel all alone"
God says: "I will never leave you or forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5)
Remember John 3:17 says "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."
I heard a Christian musician once say, that when she complains about this not being her day, her dad tells her, it's not, it's the LORD's day.
Psalm 118:24 - This is the day the LORD has; We will rejoice and be glad in it.
Vicki Helmling is a teacher at Grace English Lutheran School