Welcome to the Sunday Devotion. Tomorrow is Martin Luther King Jr Day, the only federal holiday that is a national service day. What a wonderful way to honor Martin Luther King Jr. He was a man of dedication, commitment and humble service. He was a man who lived his convictions trying to bring peace and love to our country, using Jesus as his model. As I’ve contemplated Dr. King I’m drawn to his quotes. I believe the best way to share the peace and love that he described is to share his actual words.
One of Dr. King’s images he used in his last speech, “I Have a Dream”, was that of a Drum Major. He spoke of the Drum Major instinct – that instinct to be first in order to be the most important. “But that isn't what Jesus did; he did something altogether different. He said in substance, "Oh, I see, you want to be first. You want to be great. You want to be important. You want to be significant. Well, you ought to be. If you're going to be my disciple, you must be." But he reordered priorities. And he said, "Yes, don't give up this instinct. It's a good instinct if you use it right. It's a good instinct if you don't distort it and pervert it. Don't give it up. Keep feeling the need for being important. Keep feeling the need for being first. But I want you to be first in love. I want you to be first in moral excellence. I want you to be first in generosity. That is what I want you to do."
When I walk through the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial, I stop to read the quotes that offer the depth of his message. "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere… Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly." It reminds me of a favorite passage from Doctrine and Covenants. (163:4a) “God, the Eternal Creator, weeps for the poor, displaced, mistreated, and diseased of the world because of their unnecessary suffering. Such conditions are not God’s will. Open your ears to hear the pleading of mothers and fathers in all nations who desperately seek a future of hope for their children. Do not turn away from them. For in their welfare resides your welfare.”
We mustn’t allow ourselves to become complacent, believing our contributions to the welfare of others is inconsequential. Every kind word, every kind act is meaningful and may be the only encouraging gesture of compassion and worthiness a person may encounter that day.
Dear God, our leader of justice and love, direct us in ways of compassion. Turn our eyes so we see the pain, hunger, loneliness and needs of others. Ignite our passions to serve so we may show others their worthiness and your love. Help us to say, “Here I am, Lord, send me.” In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Author: Bonnie Barber