Michael Luther King was born on this day in 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia. He received his father’s name “Martin” at the age of six. Dr. King’s LAST SPEECH was his famous “I’ve Been the Mountaintop”. What is not well known, is his LAST SERMON – “The Drum Major Instinct” delivered to his congregation from the pulpit of Ebenezer Baptist Church on February 4, 1968. Of all of his speeches & sermons, “The Drum Major Instinct” is by far my favorite. This sermon defined for me TRUE LEADERSHIP as well as to seek greatness through service and love.
So many think leadership is based on your obtained position…WRONG. TRUE LEADERSHIP, as Doc, teaches from Mark 10:35, is based on SERVICE. He tells, Jesus said to his disciples, he who is GREATEST among you shall be a SERVANT. He who is SERVANT of all, shall be CHIEFEST of All. This has been my guiding principle.
Now he tells us about this INSTINCT within us all, he says, “We all want to be important, to surpass others, to achieve distinction, to lead the parade…this quest for recognition, this desire for attention, this desire for distinction is the basic impulse, the basic drive of human life, this Drum Major Instinct.”
He goes on to say that as babies we cry for attention because of the Instinct. As adults, he said we love the attention from being praised and that only time we don’t like praise is when that PRAISE is going too much towards someone else (Doc, did you just call out HATERS?). He says that every one of us likes to be praised because of this Real Drum Major Instinct.
In effect Dr. King, is saying in some form or fashion we want to be FIRST because of this Instinct that is naturally inside of us. We want to be The Drum Major and lead the Parade. Right now I can hear some of you saying, “that’s not me, I don’t want to be out front”. This may be true BUT, YOU LIKE PRAISE…you lying if you say otherwise.
In the end, The Good Dr. says its okay to want to be FIRST, but be FIRST in LOVE. Be FIRST in GENEROSITY. Be FIRST in SERVICE to humanity (feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit those in prison, etc). Be FIRST in UNDERSTANDING. Be FIRST in putting YOU LAST. Teach me Doc, teach me!
We are all better having had such a Drum Major. But what of his Marching Band? What manner of people were they? His Marching Band was VISIONARY. His Marching Band was UNSELFISH. His Marching Band was COURAGEOUS. His Marching Band was DETERMINED. My Mama was in his Marching Band, that’s how I know!
My Mama told me WE had to take Literacy Tests and interpret the US Constitution from people no better educated than US! If WE passed, THEN WE could pay $2.00 to vote for a candidate on the ballot, none of which gave a damn about US! Why? Because my Mama and millions like her were UNSELFISH enough to subject themselves to that humiliation for the greater good. Next, they were VISIONARIES, cause even though their day was far from DEMOCRATIC, they KEPT THEIR EYES ON THE PRIZE. That’s why we saw so many folks from our parents’ generation and older were crying at the election of President Obama. He represented the manifestation of their wildest DREAMS. (Quote by Carl)
So let us take this Day to remember
Remember this phenomenal man,
Let us learn from me
Let us be inspired
Let us go and make change!
Thank God for MLK
Thank God for our leaders
Thank God for life.
Thank you God, for MLK
Happy Birthday Reverend!!