Written by: Tim Wood
And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant.” (Mark 10:42-43)
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. entered the Christian ministry and was ordained in February 1948 at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta at the age of 19. In 1954, upon completion of graduate studies at Boston University, he accepted a call to serve at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. While there, Dr. King was an instrumental leader in the Montgomery Bus Boycott, made famous by the nonviolent resistance and arrest of Rosa Parks. He resigned from Dexter Avenue Baptist in 1959 to move back to Atlanta to direct the activities of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. From 1960 until his death in 1968, he also served as co-pastor with his father at Ebenezer Baptist Church.
On February 4, 1968, MLK delivered his last sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church. The title of the sermon was, “The Drum Major Instinct” inspired by the words of Jesus from Mark 10:43. Jesus said, “Whoever would be great among you must be your servant.” In his sermon, Dr. King preached:
“If you want to be important, wonderful. If you want to be recognized, wonderful. If you want to be great, wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. That’s a new definition of greatness. And this morning, the thing that I like about it, by giving us that definition of greatness, it means that 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 don’t have to know Einstein’s theory of relativity to serve. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love and you can be that servant.”
There are a lot of things we can remember about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But the greatest thing to remember is that he was a servant of Christ and he served his fellow man. May we all be inspired to do likewise.