Like many young men, I grew up looking for trouble . . . and was generally successful in finding it. Be that as it may, I also always enjoyed reading. While in college, I received an assignment that, unbeknownst to me at the time, would invariably change the course of my life’s direction forever. The assignment? “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” by MLK.
Until then, I, like many other college-age students, knew little about MLK. He was black. He was a civil rights leaders. He “had a dream.” That was the extent of my knowledge. But this assignment — and that letter! — changed by view of him, of life, of hardship and difficulty, and so much more.
Before I knew it, I had read a plethora of King’s works and couldn’t stop. But one thing continued to naggingly present itself: Marting Luther King enjoyed quoting the Bible, using its words to predicate his position, and often making it the climax of his thoughts. So, tired of reading these lines and being completely ignorant of their source, I picked up a Bible that my mother received for me as a graduation gift and started on a text that would not only challenge me (mentally and spiritually) but would also introduce me to my Savior, Jesus Christ — The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7).
Little did I know that my decision to read MLK was going to lead me to surrender my entire life to Jesus, a man who was 10 times more impressive than King, and a man who, with King, I could heartily admire.
So, what does Martin Luther King day mean to me? To me, it means freedom — not just civil and temporal freedom but, more importantly, spiritual and eternal freedom.