Today we pause to remember the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dr. King’s life is one we can point to and agree, “Yes, in his lifetime his work moved nations.” One man brought voice to millions and inspiration to billions.
Many people will reflect on Dr. King’s work and build a wall around his legacy, affirming his works and bravery while simultaneously distancing themselves by labeling him as uniquely gifted by God. As if to say, “I could never be like Dr. King. He was special, gifted, talented, extraordinary– I am ordinary.”
My challenge to you would be to examine Dr. King’s work closely for yourself. Read his sermons, watch speeches given at rallies, and wander through the nearly 1 million items in his online archives.
Then ask yourself this question: Was Dr. King gifted or merely obedient?
As I’ve examined Dr. King’s life, his works, his writings, and his early ministry I’ve discovered a man wholly ordinary but extraordinarily obedient to the calling God placed on his life.
Remember Moses? A man with a speech impediment who murdered a guy in his early adult life? When God called him he was overcome by his ordinary-ness. He complained back to God, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” (Exodus 4:10) and “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.” (Exodus 4:13)
Imagine the lunacy of Moses trying to educate God on his personal history and faults? Moses gave God a few good reasons why he was too ordinary to lead a million people out of slavery and God replied back over and over again… I’m not asking you to be extraordinary, just merely obedient.
Ultimately, Moses is recorded as a hero to the Jewish people, not for his bravery in standing up to Pharaoh, but for his obedience to God. He didn’t lead a million people out of slavery. But he did show up and was obedient.
Don’t make the mistake today of honoring Dr. King’s life work without asking yourself, “Am I being obedient to the calling God has laid on my life?”
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.