On Monday, January 15 America celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the day America stops to think about this man and his dream. “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
This is just a tiny portion of MLK’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech given in 1963, the very year I was born.
I was thinking this week as we got back into teaching that each of us needs to have a dream, few of us can verbalize it as well as MLK did. Bill Hybels calls it the Moment of Holy Discontent or that Popeye Moment, “That’s all I can stands, I can’t stands no more!”
That feeling that you can’t go on in life ignoring this injustice any longer, you MUST do something about it.
This week I was reminded again of my Holy Discontent. Sitting around the table with young people in our Technical Training Program discussing their dreams for their businesses. They have had to put work into this. We aren’t just handing stuff out, they have to work for it. First, they had to pass an entrance exam. If they have challenges of reading and math, they have to change that by going to our reading and math classes until they can pass the entrance exam. Then they spend at least 9 months with a trainer, it depends on what trade they are learning how long it takes for them to be able to either have their own welding shop, tailoring shop, panel beater business, catering, etc.
These young people have lost at least one parent, most have lost both parents, had limited education, and have no hope for their futures. I know that in our American life, there seems to be HOPE somewhere. We know we can come up with a way to make money, that opportunities are there for a person that wants it. Here, it is different. Education, books, creative thinking are limited. Discouragement, death, and hunger are not.
In our Entrepreneurship classes this week it was such a privilege to discuss with these young people that are currently working with their craftsmen in their assorted trades about what they want their businesses to look like. It was very special to be able to share our lessons on getting started in business and what sort of things you need to do and think about before starting a business. 95% of small businesses in Nigeria close within 5 years due to lack of planning and knowledge of record keeping. One of my dreams is to be able to help as many young people as I can to be strong believers in themselves, their abilities, and that with God, they too can support themselves and their families.
It truly breaks my heart that children are the least supported people in our world. They are taken advantage of, abused, and neglected. I have a dream that I will do all I can to show God’s love and share His hope with the “least of these”. I believe God loves children in a very special way, they are very near and dear to His heart.
My thought for today is this: How can you encourage or show His love to “the least of these” this week? If you look through Jesus’ eyes you see so many different opportunities!