Join us here every week for a Scripture devotional series. Each week, we'll highlight a pivotal moment in the life of Dr. King through the lens of scripture. Each devotional will invite you to engage with the Bible and understand its importance in the life of Dr. King. 

Love leaves a legacy

by Deana Nail

Entry #1: February 25, 1948

Our Heavenly Father, your Word promises that, while the world may be crumbling around us, your love remains eternally rock solid. Many people’s hearts are in shreds because of the pain of loss, hatred, and injustice. Help us to love those whose world has crumbled. Show us how to serve them. Amen.

John 13:12-15
After Jesus had washed their feet, he put his outer garment back on and returned to his place at the table. “Do you understand what I have just done to you?” he asked. “You call me Teacher and Lord, and it is right that you do so, because that is what I am. I, your Lord and Teacher, have just washed your feet. You, then, should wash one another’s feet. I have set an example for you, so that you will do just what I have done for you.

A good piece of fried cornbread goes a long way.

My great Aunt Myrtle fried countless pieces of cornbread to give away to new neighbors, homeless men, ill church members, grieving families—anyone in need. Each piece oozed with flavor and purpose as Aunt Myrtle prayed that the food would not only fill people’s stomachs but most importantly their hearts. She wanted the cornbread to serve as gateway to a relationship with her, and ultimately with Jesus Christ. And so the love fried into each piece of cornbread would leave an eternal legacy.

Jesus didn’t stand over a frying pan on the night before his crucifixion, but with a simple act of household service he left a legacy of love. Taking on the posture of a servant, he bent down and washed his disciples’ feet—feet that were caked with dust from the day’s journey, feet that would later run away in panic or run to the authorities in an act of betrayal. In one of the final acts before his death, Jesus challenged his disciples—and us—to follow his example of selfless service because love always leaves an eternal legacy.

On February 25, 1948, Martin Luther King, Jr. stood before the congregation at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta to be ordained as the church’s assistant pastor. That night marked the beginning of his public ministry. On that occasion King officially accepted Christ’s mandate to serve selflessly and leave a legacy of love that would confront racism and injustice.

Seventy years later we look back on that night as a reminder to join Dr. King in following Christ’s example by selflessly serving one another so that love leaves a legacy, one life at a time. Whether we fry cornbread, wash feet, or cry with someone over a story of pain and injustice, love goes a long way, reaching into eternity.

Questions for personal thought or group discussion

1.     What does a selfless act of service look like for you?

2.     How can you follow up an act of service to continue building a relationship with someone?

3.     What is the biggest obstacle you must overcome to serve someone of a different race or ethnicity? How can you overcome that obstacle?

4.     Who is God calling you to serve? How will you specifically serve him or her?