Just A Man... But There's More To The Story

Today marks 50 years since a shot rang out and cut short Dr. Martin Luther King's life.  I almost wrote that it has been 50 years since hate killed a dream, but the dream didn't die when Dr. King did.  The dream may be deferred, delayed, and still in the works but it did not die that day.  But dreaming of justice and peace are not what this post is about.  This post is about a man.  Just a man.

Today, people will recount all of the great work of Dr. King.  That is appropriate and true - he did great work.  But in recounting his work, they will attempt to deify him.  They will whitewash his flaws and put him on a pedestal.  They will transform him into a saint or dare I say a god.  But Dr. King was Martin.  He was a man.  Just a man.  He was a brother, son, cousin, and friend.  He was a husband and father.  He was just a man. 

His ordinariness is what makes his life so extraordinary.  He shouldered a movement while loving his children, while caring for his wife, while being a flawed human.  He worked on behalf of peace while being afraid.  He walked among kings and presidents yet still had a light bill and groceries to buy.  I say this not to trivialize his work.  I say this to inspire yours.

See, in this world of 24/7 information and eroding privacy, we too often want our leaders to be perfect. We look for a leader that has never said the wrong thing, that has always thought a certain way, that looks right for the part, that is able to carry the mantle without sin.  Because of this we spend time looking for a leader instead of becoming the leader.  We discredit ourselves because who are we to change the world?  We are flawed with our bad credit, abortions, weight, baby mamas, and former convictions.  We eliminate ourselves from changing the world because we don't want to expose our flaws to the world.  But remember, Dr. King was just a man.  He was an ordinary man that did extraordinary things.

So today, while we mourn what took place on that motel balcony, let's also pick up the mantle that was left for us to now carry.  We must not let our ordinariness keep us from extraordinary work because there is much left to be done.