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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by William A. Kolb

Saturday, January 15

As you have done it for the least of these my children, so you have done it for me.
—Mark 25:40

Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.

The least and the lost. The underprivileged and the oppressed. These were the objects of Martin Luther King Jr.'s compassion and concern. From the time he was a young preacher in Birmingham, Alabama, to the moment of his death, his ministry was, to a major extent, devoted to helping the underdog.

While it is true that he pastored his own churches (handling all the internal responsibilities that entailed) and was head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (with all its administration and personnel management), he spent a lot of time in the streets, leading marches and putting himself in the kind of danger that eventually got him shot.

His belief in fairness for all and the possiblity of unity between diverse groups in our society earned him a special place in history.

His deep study of scripture, both in his everyday life and in his pursuit of theological degrees, fostered his conviction that God has a bias IN FAVOR OF the "widow, the orphan and the oppressed." He was also deeply committed to nonviolence and nonviolent resistance to the laws that he considered tools for the subjugation of the poor and the powerless.

His unswerving devotion to the principles of nonviolence, which he first learned from studying the life of Jesus, led him to India to study with followers of Mohandas Gandhi, the legendary leader of the movement to free that country from British colonialism.

Though a fallible human being and the subject of controversy throughout his life, and even after his death, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a man of great compassion with a deep concern for justice, much like the great Old Testament prophets. He paid, as some of them did, with his life, but his dedication changed the lives of those to whom he was so devoted.


Lord, we remember on his birthday your servant Martin, and give thanks for his devotion to Godly justice. Amen.

These Signposts originally appeared on explorefaith in 2007.