“ The time is always right to do what is right.“REV. DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.
Most of humanity has grown up hearing the famous speech “I Have a Dream”, in which Dr. King suggests that equality may be possible in the future. In this speech, he speaks of all the values and the ultimate legacy he will leave behind.
Since 1994, January 21st has been designated by Congress as a day to honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and his legacy. But what many do not know is that this holiday is intended to be a day of service thought of as a “day on”, not off. Meaning, the best way to honor Dr. King’s message and mission is to help another person today through an act of service that will cause you to sacrifice.
According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency tasked by Congress with administering the service efforts of the day, the holiday is supposed to “empower individuals, strengthen communities, bridge barriers, create solutions to social problems, and move us closer ‘Beloved Community’.”
The term “Beloved Community” was coined in the early 20th Century by the philosopher Joseph Royce, but was brought to the world through the work of Dr. King.
Dr. King carefully branded all of his efforts as working towards the end goal of functioning as a Beloved Community. This community exists as one consisting of people who share a global vision of peace and inclusion. This idea behind this goal was to show the power of the Gospel and its potential effects on a community if everyone would decide to follow the words, life, and message of Jesus.
There are three ways Dr. King’s life has had a lasting influence on the world:
Service to Others
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘what are you doing for others?’”Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Dr. King believed strongly in the power of serving others with humility, thus the reason that his legacy is honored with a day of service. He reminded humanity that having powerful positions, an advanced degree or great wealth are not the keys to making a difference in the world. Instead, that change is accomplished through clear intention and a desire to serve. This commitment to serving others humbly is a value worth honoring.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”REV. DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.
Equality of all human beings, regardless of race, nationality, or socioeconomic class was the most central value that Dr. King held. His passion was not to create a Black America, Hispanic America, a Native-American America, nor was it to tear down other cultures in America. He encouraged that all people be treated with dignity, respect, and equal opportunity.
He believed that everyone must work together to advance the mission of what is found in Galatians 3:28,
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”REV. DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.
Even though Dr. King was navigating through extremely difficult and complex issues in culture, he aligned all of his efforts with the idea that only love would transform the world into a place where everyone could thrive together in peace.
In a time known for political unrest, Dr. King committed to using only nonviolent forms of protest like bus boycotts and sit-ins to achieve his vision of a Beloved Community.
Dr. King’s legacy is one of service to others characterized by equality and peaceful resolution. It was Dr. King’s legacy that encouraged not only a positive change both in the United States and around the world. As we remember his life and noble ambition to strive towards lasting change and freedom, let us also be reminded that the “right time” to do right is always.