Psalm 23:4 Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
civil (siv’-ul) adjective 1. Observing the social proprieties; decently polite; not
rude. 3. Pertaining to relations between the citizens and the state, or
between citizens as regulated by law.
rights (ritz) noun 1. Conditions with which mankind is supposedly endowed by
nature, such as the right to life, liberty, security and the pursuit of
movement (moov’-munt) noun 1. The act of changing place or of movement
in any way. 2. A series of actions, incidents or ethical impulses
tending toward some end.
In his brilliant letter from Birmingham City Jail dated April 16, 1963, the Baptist minister and theologian Dr. Martin Luther King pointed out that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Amen. Arrested and incarcerated after a lunch counter sit-in, the letter was composed on the only paper available to him in his cell, toilet paper. It hardly matters as the beauty and majesty of the text divinely transcends any mortal means.
King cautioned that repressed emotions were in danger of being expressed through violence rather than the non-violent means he espoused. As the leader of a peaceful call to arms against segregation and racism, he left an indelible mark on humanity. He urged us as a country and as a people to obey God rather than the mistakes of man.
“I’ve been to the mountaintop and I’ve seen the promised land. I might not get there with you…” On April 4, 1968 he stepped out onto the balcony of his Memphis hotel for, unbeknownst to him, an appointment in the “valley of the shadow of death”. Though in his speech the previous evening he was “fearing no man”, there still really wasn’t anything to fear as his life’s work was bigger than one assassin, even bigger than death. And like the many prophets martyred for their beliefs, the legacy of his “dream” lives on.
It’s not fair—such talent—cut down in his youth—why? We constantly forget that death is a fact of life and we’re all mortal. No one escapes it.
The statistics are still one out of one.
“For you are with me, your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” You will find comfort when you think of life in terms of quality, not necessarily quantity. Less can be more. Such comfort enables us to seriously determine what kind of legacy we ourselves will bequeath to this world.
King stated “The means we use must be as pure as the end we seek.” Pure unadulterated truth is rooted in and endures for all eternity. So why not make the world a better place for your having been here? We all hope for a long productive life—emphasis on productive. But in the grand scheme of things,
it doesn’t necessarily matter how long you live, but how well you live. And besides, there are still hundreds of days left in the calendar year that, in commemoration of an exceptional life, can be named just for you.