Dr. King’s vision of service beyond self –
From The Drum Major Instinct sermon delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church on February 4, 1968
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 this morning, the thing that I like about it: by giving that definition of greatness, it means that everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don’t have to know Einstein’s theory of relativity to serve. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love. And you can be that servant.
These were the exact words on a small pledge card that came together with the MLK Day celebration pack. I thought the words were very powerful. When I was preparing to post this, I looked up the full sermon and realized that my very liberal university left out a lot. Go here for the full sermon.