Martin Luther King, Jr's birthday is actually January 15th although it is celebrated on the 3rd Monday of January. A clergyman with tremendous speaking abilities, a non-violent activist and icon, he was a driving force in the civil rights movement.
Whether one agrees with his ideals or not, it must be said that he did his job well...which brings me to one of his quotes:
If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.
There are times in my life when these words have been an inspiration to me.
I have been blessed to be allowed to work with the young people in our church and in that light, have had no need of these words. It has been in the secular work that I do that they have more than once put my feet back on the right path. To remind me that although this may not be the work of my heart, it does keep the bills paid and should be seen as honorable....and if honorable, then worth my best effort.
It's all too easy to give less than our best effort to tasks that we don't love. To make believe that my employer should be happy that I show up each day and do the things that only I know how to do...sounds silly doesn't it? I can't imagine the boss would be too thrilled if he knew the thoughts that run through my head at times.
But then I am pulled back to the quote and recognize that although there isn't anyone trained to do my work right now, I am not the only one who can do it. I'll bet there are many out there that would jump at the opportunity to be where I am...in relative comfort and without someone looking over my shoulder. I certainly don't have to work as hard as a street sweeper!
I know that Dr. King didn't have me in mind when he wrote this quote...but I owe it to those who depend on me (both at home and at work) to strive to be like the person who inspired his thoughts.