“Intelligence plus character, that is the true goal of education.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
As educators, we invest in our students to develop their intelligence; however, our prayer for all students at GRACE Christian School is that they will develop a faith in Christ that will equip them with the character necessary to successfully navigate and persevere through life’s challenges.
In the nearly half century since his passing, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has taken his place alongside great figures of American History including George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt. As often happens with historical figures, it is easy to forget that Dr. King was a living, breathing person who felt fear, pain, and joy. It is important to remember that he was not always a larger-than-life figure. In one of his sermons, Dr. King speaks of sitting alone in his kitchen late one night, terrified of what the days ahead held for him and his family. His description is not of the iconic quotable figure speaking to the masses on the National Mall, but rather of a new father and young pastor of a church in Montgomery, Alabama. As he sat at his kitchen table, shaken by death threats and considering his future, he prayed. According to Dr. King, he was comforted by a sense that God would never leave him. Three days later, a bomb destroyed his front porch. In the coming years, death threats came daily. Dr. King was beaten and arrested on multiple occasions, but continued his mission of peaceful protest, emboldened by the knowledge that his Lord would not forsake him. In multiple sermons, Dr. King cited the prayer in his kitchen as a defining moment that prepared him for the trials ahead.
As followers of Christ, it is important for us to remember that salvation does not come with a promise of an easy life. Rather, the decision to follow Christ brings a promise of great difficulties. However, our foundation in Christ enables us to persevere, a theme found in Dr. King’s life and throughout the New Testament. We do well to remember the words Paul shared with the believers suffering in Rome:
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:1-5