Finding a Meaningful Life
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. lived meaningfully, dedicating his life to a worthwhile cause, which was to challenge, on moral grounds, American laws that promoted discrimination and segregation and advance the cause of civil rights for all Americans, regardless of their race, gender or religion.
Dr. King not only grasped the importance of the truth of civil rights for all people, but that truth also “grasped” him. It gave him a passion for living. In other words, he believed in something and was willing to live for it. Not only that, but he was also willing to die for it and, ultimately, he did.
Combining Theory with Practice
King was interested in both theory and practice. He had spent many years studying about the political, social, ethical and religious problems affecting the American people. However, after his studies, he decided to do something about those problems, becoming one of America’s greatest civil rights leaders.
Becoming a Great Person by Serving Others
King had a rather humble opinion of himself. He did not believe that he was better than anyone else. However, he had a healthy sense of self-esteem, because he believed that everyone, in his or her own way, including himself, was called to be great. For example, in one of his sermons, he said,
“… Jesus gave us a new norm of greatness. 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 … by giving that definition of greatness, it means that everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.”
Discovering Your Own Sense of Greatness
Here, then, is a valuable life-lesson from Martin Luther King’s example: As important as thinking is to understanding life’s problems, don’t merely think about life. Be actively engaged in it! In other words, find some worthwhile cause to serve, whatever that may be for you, and live passionately for it. Live to the hilt, all the way, to your very last breath! In doing that, you will become, in your own way, a social activist and great person.