A husband. A father. A believer. Martin Luther King Jr. was an ordinary person, like each of us, placed on this earth for a purpose. He became a minister, a gifted speaker, and a world-renowned leader in the civil rights movement, receiving the Nobel Peace Prize for his work.
His mark on history and his legacy are the result of his faithful willingness to answer God’s call, and his desire to serve God by serving others.
Life’s most persistent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’
— Martin Luther King Jr.
In honor of the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr., we encourage you to ask yourself this important question and to answer it by generously sharing the gifts God has given you: your time, financial blessings, and talents.
1. Pray. Commit to praying specifically for a worthy cause every day for a week, a month or a year. Candidates might include a war-torn nation, our own national leaders, kids in foster care in your community, or a family in your church or neighborhood. Ask God to be present, to bless the circumstances of the situation, and to bless each person involved.
2. Give. Kerusso supports the efforts of Compassion International, an organization devoted to releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name. Find an organization whose work and mission you believe in, and commit to supporting them financially this month, or every month. Include giving as a line-item in your budget, and pray for wisdom to discern where to invest your charitable dollars.
3. Volunteer. Whether you share your talents as a builder to erect homes in a far-flung nation or help with yard work at your church, investing your hands, heart, and talents in worthy projects honors God and shines a light in this world. Involve the whole family - kids who volunteer gain new perspectives on faith, God, and their ability to impact the world around them for good.
4. Speak up. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Take a stand on issues that matter to you by writing letters to leaders at your child’s school, in your community, your state, and the nation. Encourage good works by writing letters to civic leaders to let them know you are praying for them. Be mindful of saying please and thank you, and encourage your family to thank God often for his many blessings.
5. Start small. “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way,” said Martin Luther King Jr. Bring a bouquet of flowers to the widow down the street. Take your pastor or your child’s teacher out for dinner. Spend a couple of hours at a nursing home making new friends. Ask someone you know who is struggling, how you can help. The ability to participate in God’s plan and be part of his holy work is not dependent on the size of your bank account or any special skill set - although God smiles when we share these gifts. Rather, our ability to positively impact those around us in Jesus’ name is dependent mostly on our willingness to say “Yes.” Yes, I will give. Yes, I will show up. Yes, I will help.
As the apostle Peter said in 1 Peter 4:10:
"Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms."