Dr. Martin Luther King and the Importance of a Calling

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“I still believe that standing up for the truth of God is the greatest thing in the world. This is the end of life. The end of life is not to be happy. The end of life is not to achieve pleasure and avoid pain. The end of life is to do the will of God, come what may.”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, November 6, 1956

As we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, it’s important that we as Believers recognize the Gospel inspiration in his message. Reflecting on his calling to bring reconciliation and wholeness to the people of our country, and of the Church, we should remember how aligned his message was with Jesus’ message. A pastor by vocation, he preached a message of adopting outsiders into a family, of reconciliation, and of hope for the future. He was obedient to God’s direction and did what was necessary to promote the Biblical standard of equality within this nation- even at the repeated expense of his own wellbeing.

Though not perfect, Martin Luther King’s life is an example of the unique paths the Lord takes each of us and our churches on. Ultimately, we do not find purpose in the preservation of self, but in obedience to Christ in finding and pursuing our calling. We cannot possibly individually solve every problem, correct every injustice, or teach every truth. We are each different parts of the Body of Christ, with different callings and different purposes.

Although our nation has been through so much in recent years, our hope during this time of reflection should be that unity is possible, and the quickest path to reconciliation is self-reflection. When we consider, as individuals, where we may be contributing to injustice, inequality, and the inhibiting of the Gospel, the church as a whole can change for the better. It is our obligation as God’s people to be the best image-bearers of Christ that we can possibly be, not by just noticing the ways we reflect God poorly, but by going a step beyond that and enacting personal, and therefore institutional, change. Like James 1 says, “If anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” Choose to listen carefully to the Holy Spirit’s directing on where there may be unaddressed sin in your life, as well as for where he may be calling you. 

This MLK day, take time to celebrate and honor the life of Martin Luther King Jr. and his obedience to his calling. Think about the massive nationwide, even worldwide, change that happened because of the mission he devoted himself to. Then take time to reflect on what your mission is. Listen to the Lord’s voice; self-reflect. Remind yourself that though it is not within your power to right every wrong, you can and should be obedient to your specific calling to create change. And then trust that Christ will move you in the right direction- that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion (Philippians 1:6). This is why we love working alongside churches, ministries, schools, and values-based businesses. It is an honor to get to know the DNA and heart of each of your organizations and ultimately, equip you in your calling, your vision, and your mission, knowing that Christ is working in and through you for the greater good of all mankind.