January 16, 2017
“I have a dream…”
He wasn’t the first to say those words, but they are forever attached to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Today is his 89th Birthday. His dream outlived him; that’s not unusual, for leaders.
A bullet ended his earthly life at 39, but the bullet-points of his dream are still a work in progress. They include some of the richest aspirations of America, from the time the colonists declared their dream of a new kind of nation and demonstrated their dedication in the Revolution into the still distant future. The dreams of America are still a work-in-progress.
Dr. King was only 34 when he addressed the live audience of 250,000 people from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, but millions of people over the last half century have reheard – or, read – the message that he delivered in just 17 minutes; Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount can be recited – in English – in less than 13 minutes. Powerful concepts can often be communicated – memorably – with brevity that makes them even more memorable and moving. Jesus was 31 when he pronounced his dreams, for his Kingdom: the revolutionaries who responded are still working to see his dream fully realized…
Relations between racial groups in 1963 were a work-in-progress, but – in retrospect – there was far too little work, and far too little progress when he called America into advancing. Profound shifts in perspectives and positions have taken place, from then to now; the ultimate vision envisioned by Dr. King is still before us, though not beyond us.
Great leaders – whose dreams remain, beyond their departure – leave great legacies. They are often claimed as inspiration, but sometimes they breed conflicts that are counterfeits of the original. Much has been done “in the name of the Kingdom” and “in the name of the Civil Rights Movement” that would have been opposed by the Lord Jesus or Dr. King.
This is a holiday; you might be working today, but you should take some time to reflect on some of the thoughts initiated in the past for which we still press into the future.
The shortest sitcom takes a 30 minute bite out of your life (with commercials), and the archive of that half-hour span of time will be wiped off your hard drive by tomorrow. Let me give you the gift of 30 minutes that will revisit vision that still inspires the deep commitment of millions of people, dedicated to the memory of a dead hero – Dr. King – and a living Savior – Jesus the Christ.
Click here to read the “Sermon on the Mount” speech (13 minutes), delivered by Jesus.
If you had to capture your life message in 15 minutes (the average of those two monologues), what would you say? What is your vision of the future that would be worth asking people to hear today, and for others to read, decades after your death?
Great leaders have great visions, and their vision is likely to live beyond them. Do you have what it takes to be a great leader?