Today when we remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was both a deeply flawed and greatly inspired public servant and man of God, I am struck by this recollection of King from this morning’s Our Daily Bread devotional:

In a sermon in early 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. quoted Jesus’ words from Mark 10 about self-sacrifice: [“Whoever desires to become great among  you shall be your servant” (Mark 10:43)”]. King went on to say this: Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve…You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.”

King’s words have me thinking once again about how counter-cultural Jesus’ challenge is. We so often define ourselves in terms of what we acquire, but in Jesus God shows a more life-giving way, one that tells us we are who we are not on the basis of what we acquire but in terms of how we give ourselves away. When we seek to give and serve rather than to acquire, we become more free, more alive and more joy-filled persons.

Today and throughout the week, in memory of Martin Luther King, Jr….how might we give ourselves away? What one small act of self-sacrifice might we take this week—at work, in our families, with our neighbors—that remembers King’s legacy of servanthood and that of Jesus before him? Send in a few sentences about what you decide to do and I’ll republish your contributions!

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