Life’s Most Persistent and Urgent Question

Normally on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I observe by watching Dr. King’s “I have a dream” speech with my kids, in it’s entirety, and talking about that dream…a dream of a color blind society that looks to the content of someone’s character and not their skin color.

This year, a different quote by Dr. King caught my eye and caused me to ponder. It is this:

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?” —Martin Luther King, Jr.

It’s a good question, and I do believe, as I seek to serve God, it is the most important question I need to be asking myself, second only to “What have I done with Jesus?”.

Not a Guilt Trip

Now, this is not meant as a guilt trip, so don’t take it as one.

“Doing for others” doesn’t have to be something huge. The things that make the biggest impact on our lives are found in those little things that make up the everyday.

Doing for others doesn't have to be something huge. Serve in the little things. Click To Tweet

That is, I’m not necessarily talking about huge volunteer projects, or donating money you don’t have.

The Little Things Make a Big Difference

If money and volunteer time are short, you can still make a big difference in the lives of others in the little things.

Sometimes it’s easier to think about all of the big problems, and big changes we need in society, and then in thinking of these big things, I completely overwhelm and depress myself, and revert to reading, drawing, or watching Castle reruns.

No. Instead, I only have to think of those small acts of kindness that put a smile on my own face, or cheer those who I know and love, and I have my answer:

  • Hold open doors.
  • A kind word and smile
  • Tip your waitress
  • Assume the best
  • Let the person with three items cut in front of you and your full cart at the grocery store.
  • Pass out coupons to other shoppers at the grocery store if you’re not going to use them.
  • Drop a coin or two into a parking meter about to expire.
  • Drive courteously
  • Look people in the eyes when they talk to you.
  • Seek to show you care in ways that matter most to the person in question, not in the ways you prefer.
  • Listen.
  • Drop a note. On paper note cards. Through the mail. Who doesn’t love mail?
  • Bake a plate of cookies.

Seasons of Life

Life comes at us in seasons, and not every season grants us, especially as moms, the freedom to do all of the good things we might feel are important, or which we really want to do. However, being present for our own young children is part of doing good for others.

In fact, raising children to be caring adults, and concerned for others is probably the highest good we can do for society, especially today, in a society that has far too little of that going on.

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