Monday, January 18, 2016

On Not Pursuing "The American Dream"

You know who was a really wise man?

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I'm glad we have a celebration of his life, because I bet he didn't really get celebrated much while he was here.
I sometimes think even if people had publicly celebrated him during his life, he was probably too busy humbly making things happen to allow himself to be celebrated.

I've never seen a quote from him that I didn't like, but today, one hit me extra hard with it's depth of truth:

"The end of life is not to be happy, nor to achieve pleasure and avoid pain, but to do the will of God, come what may."

I might be wrong, but I've always thought maybe his goal wasn't to create a political movement, but more to do what he knew God wanted him to do.  His boldness and gentleness sounds almost superhuman sometimes - he must have had more motivation than just a "cause."

I've been reading the Psalms lately, and there is so much there about our God being a God of justice - He never forgets the needy or afflicted (Ps. 9:18).

Dr. King did so much for America, but I don't know that he did it with America in mind, and he certainly didn't do it because society expected it of him (society in general didn't seem too keen on what he was doing).  He did it because he served a God of justice and he couldn't ignore that calling on his life.

To me, that's the bravest thing he did - he didn't do what people expected of him, but he did do what he knew he was supposed to do.

But what about when you're not called to bold action?
What if you're called to silent service?

Like me, what if you're working quietly and invisibly in the background?  I've been called to the background, and I'm staying there until I'm called to the front lines.

And if I'm never called to the front lines and I stay in the background for my entire life on this Earth, I will have done the best thing I could have possibly done with my one wild and precious life.

I wonder sometimes if we do our children a disservice by raising them to be movers and shakers just because that's what we do in America.

Don't get me wrong - I'm all for leaders and world-changers, but let's be sure we're not doing these things because they're what will help us be happy, achieve pleasure, and avoid pain.
Let's do good because it's right, even when it's hard and counter-cultural.

I'm a nanny, and I love those kids, and I would love to think that I'm helping, in some small way, to raise the next president of the United States (who knows - I might be), but I'm also totally on board with the kids' dad, who says frequently that he doesn't care what his kids do with their future - they could be ditch-diggers or garbage men, as long as they are being the best ditch-diggers or garbage men they can be.

The leaders and the world-changers will emerge, whether we raise them to be such or not, because they will know, just like Dr. King did, that they can't do anything but what they've been called to do.

Micah 6:8 says "He has shown you, oh man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."

Let's raise up a generation to do that, and see how they will change the world.

1 comment:

  1. Such a great post! I got really emotional about Dr King this year! I listened to a few of his speeches and while I don't know much about him ( I should really change that!) I was struck as well that he wasn't so much about the United States and its Laws changing but more that the hearts of the American needed to change- you could hear it in his voice, almost pleeding with then to love one another! Such good stuff... And also, so glad I named my son Justice ;-) that last verse you quoted is the one I want to put on his wall


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