Martin Luther King Jr.was assassinated on April 4, 1968. Can you imagine half a century has gone down since this iconic man breathed! King is remembered for the contributions he made towards bridging the gorge that segregated races in the United States. The colossal achievements he made can never be obliterated from books of history.
I recall when I was growing up, I would always confuse between him and the other Martin Luther – the reformer – who refused to live under legalistic religious practices that did not have any Scriptural bedrock.
The two men who share names are Hercules in their own rights. They both spent their lives fighting for justice and equality in the eyes of the Creator and their fellow humans. The question of both men being liberally gifted is in no doubt.
Billy Graham was one of the few preachers who did not shy away from associating with Martin Luther King Jr. In 1957, Graham invited Luther to pray in his crusade and preach in one of his ministry retreats. King’s message of Love for God and Love for neighbours resonated and still does with every human being who aspires for a moral society.
One of the common catchwords from his speeches is, ‘I have a dream.’ King had a dream, and he pursued this dream with tenacity, focus and faith. Instead of wavering in webs set up by weirdos, King wove wefts and warps of the equality and justice fabric.
Martin Luther, the Reformer, had a dream too. His goal was to help the church retrace its steps back to the scriptures.
Billy Graham had a dream, and he stated it categorically in his preaching, “My one purpose in life is to help people find a personal relationship with God, which, I believe, comes through knowing Christ.”
A challenge to this generation
Jewish traditions recognise Nehemiah as the principal author of the Biblical book of the same name. Nehemiah had a dream. He wanted to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem that were in a wreck. He pursued this course with enthusiasm and steadfastness to the end.
There is one attention-grabbing fact about men and women who have had dreams and accomplished them.
Firstly, they were so alert that they identified what was ailing the church or society of their time.
Secondly, they realised that the identified dysfunction was not in consonant with the will of God.
Thirdly, they dreamed of eliminating the disorder.
Fourthly, they abandoned their comfort zones and started on a perilous and taxing journey of achieving the dream.
Fifthly, they refused to quit and fought to the end.
Sixthly, and the most important of them, they sought God at every turn of the journey; from the beginning to the end.
I can think of Nehemiah leaving an esteemed position in the King’s palace to go and engage in arduous labour. He was going to a politically unimportant place, and there he would face threats to his life and hostility from foes. He had to overcome internal and external mayhem.
One of the striking features of the Book of Nehemiah is the abundance of prayers. Prayer was not just a cup and tea to Nehemiah but the mainstay that his dream solely depended on. In humility, he led people to accomplish an enormous task.
Incredibly, God can use one person to change the course of history.
This is a big challenge for me. It is a challenge to all of us. We are waiting for God to come and rebuild the ruins of Jerusalem; least do we know that God is waiting for us. It is time to dream and act.
“Let every detail in your lives – words, actions, whatever – be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God for the Father every step of the way.”
Colossians 3:17 (The Message)