The Next Step
Monday - January 18th
Devotionals from the Book of James
Scripture to Read Today: James 1:26-27
We live by faith, not by sight.
2 Corinthians 5:7
Today is a national holiday. When we get a Monday off for a national holiday, we don't always pause to think about why our nation has set this day aside as unique. We just appreciate the three-day weekend and get frustrated the post office and banks are closed. With all our country has experienced in the last year regarding racial justice, I think it is essential to know why we have today off from work. Today we recognize the impact that civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. made on our country.
King possessed insight and understanding regarding the lingering stain of decades of slavery in America. He saw the problems with racial injustice and could articulate our nation's needs clearly and powerfully. He expressed the same kind of care for the marginalized and the powerless that the first pastor of the church in Jerusalem, James, expressed in James 1:26-27. King knew the problems of people overlooked and oppressed.
Martin Luther King Jr. could also envision what our country would look like as it was freed from the shackles of the past. He could see what many could not see. It is one thing to point out problems. It is something totally different to be able to paint a picture for others of what could be. King was a visionary.
One of my favorite quotes of Martin Luther King Jr. provides insight into how he could keep moving forward even when the current results of his efforts produced little substantive change. The quote explains how he could keep moving ahead, even when faced with opposition and uncertainty. The visionary King knew how to walk by faith into the mirky future. Here is the quote:
"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase." -Martin Luther King Jr.
His words illustrate what the Apostle Paul said to the first-century church at Corinth. "We live by faith, not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7). As God's children, our lives require that we live by faith. We may not know the responses of others or the outcome practically of our next step, but we take the step. The staircase may twist. It may be dark and shadowy, but we take that next step of faith.
Because his life was cut short by an assassin's bullet, King saw little of the rest of the staircase in the journey toward racial equality. Much of the staircase remains shadowy today. But, King took the next step. He took the right step of faith.
What step of faith do you need to take today? Maybe it is the same step you took yesterday. Perhaps it is the same step you have taken every day for thousands of days. Take it today. Take it again today.
Remember, you don't have to see the whole staircase to take the next step of faith!