Even though we celebrated Monday, today is Martin Luther King‚Äôs birthday. If he were still alive today, it would be his 89th birthday and April will be the 50th anniversary of his death. For reasons that are probably obvious, Dr. King isn‚Äôt someone I spent a great deal of time studying growing up. Just an effect of me, nor my family, having to deal with inequality. But as I‚Äôve grown older, I‚Äôve found a much deeper appreciation of who Dr. King was as an activist, father, and pastor. Around his birthday each year, social media is flooded with many of his inspirational quotes. The most amazing part to me is how relevant most of his quotes are today, 50+ years after he spoke them. This one in particular caught my attention this week:
‚ÄúWe must rapidly begin the shift from a ‚Äòthing-oriented‚Äô society to a ‚Äòperson-oriented‚Äô society. When machines & computers, profit motives, and prosperity rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.‚ÄùIf anything, the advancement of technology has only accelerated our course towards a ‚Äúthing-oriented‚Äù society. It is thrown at us from every angle. Every advertisement we consume, whether it be via TV or online, was created to convince us to invest our resources into some THING. It‚Äôs rare you see a billboard asking us to invest in people. That doesn‚Äôt bring money in the door. If Dr. King thought this was a problem in 1964, I wonder what he would say today. I‚Äôm a firm believer in the power of social media. You probably wouldn‚Äôt be reading this blog today without it. But there are also innumerable studies that show how social media and our content consumption has affected the depth of our relationships. We have more contact with more people, but our relationships tend to be a mile wide and an inch deep. What Dr. King is advocating is not abandoning ‚Äúthings‚Äù, but investing in people. As was true for most of Dr. King‚Äôs ideas, this concept came from the teachings of Jesus. Sure, Jesus had inch-deep relationships, but the Bible is also clear that Jesus invested deeply in people. The most profound parts of Jesus‚Äôs life came in close encounters. Niccodemus, Lazarus, the blind men on the road to Jericho, the woman at the well, etc. All personal encounters initiated by Jesus. Jesus also invested most deeply in his disciples. 12 men who He spent the bulk of his time with. He would teach to the masses and then give further clarification and direction specifically to his disciples. Of those 12 disciples, Jesus invested even more deeply in three, Peter, James & John. My point is that as time goes on, we will have more and more opportunities to invest in things. It‚Äôs the easy thing to do and what society encourages us to do. I ask you to buck the trend. Relationships matter. People matter. Jesus set the example. Take a step back and look at WHO you can invest in, not what.