Dr. King said everyone can be great, because everyone can serve. But he also set requirements for that service which are often overlooked.
“Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. …You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
Ah the power of words. They’re quoted and often misquoted, attributed and often misattributed, they’re interpreted and often misinterpreted. But how much the meaning of those words can change just by where you choose to focus.
Most people focus on the greatness. Or the service.
There are speeches and articles about how we need to serve in order to be great. About how many ways we can serve — our families, our faith, our communities, the groups of people who are like us, the groups of people who are not like us, our countries, and our world.
But there isn’t much about the requirements Dr. King gave for that service. “A heart full of grace. And a soul generated by love.”
Today as I try to balance the ways I intend to serve I ask myself to look within my heart. I ask myself to commune with my soul. And I ask myself if there are areas of my service that are not grounded in grace and love.
The grace to persevere, but also the grace to let go. The grace to hold space, but the grace to protect my own space as well. The grace to lift others up, the grace to not let myself be walked on in order to elevate others. The grace to serve in greatness, the grace not to let service demand that you be small. Grace is living in balance. Grace is living in truth. Dr. King certainly understood the delicate nuances of service with a heart full of grace.
And love. Not just a heart full of love, but a soul generated by love. Birthed by love, connected to its birthplace. If my service is not generated by love I am not connected to my soul.
Today and every day many of us face difficult choices. How do we set our priorities for our materially limited time, space, and energy? How do we choose our service? How do we find our own greatness?
In these words, that are often repeated but seldom discussed, we find the answer. Greatness does not come from service alone – but only from a service that is given with “a heart full of grace, and a soul generated by love.”
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