For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Rom. 5:19

I think possibly one of the devil’s most cunning tricks, is to make us think, “Nobody else is doing it; what difference does my obedience make?” Our scripture today uses a powerful phrase that I don’t hear talked about too much these days, “the obedience of one.” Today, as we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, the old song from U2 puts his death in perspective. The song was entitled Pride, but I am speaking more of his sacrificial love for others.

In the name of love
What more in the name of love
In the name of love
What more in the name of love
Early morning, April four
Shot rings out in the Memphis sky
Free at last, they took your life
They could not take your pride.

Paul lays down a powerful ministry concept that takes Jesus’ example of laying his life down for the sins of mankind and reuses it in a context of being on the front line in ministry and laying our life down for the others except not to the point of physical death. It did eventually come to that for Paul, but when he penned that phrase, “So death worketh in us, but life in you,” he obviously was alive but facing heavy opposition for the sake of the gospel (2 Cor. 4:12). I am sure it didn’t look or feel like any good thing would come out of the trials he faced while going through, but with the eyes of faith, he saw that from all he was going through, God would somehow cause life to spring up in the ones he was called to lead. That’s a good leader who following Jesus’ example, laid down their lives for others. That’s a good leader who also understood what Jesus meant when he taught us how to truly be great: “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant” (Matt. 23:11).

When you read this excerpt from Dr. King’s sermon the night before he was assassinated, it appears he knew something was about to happen.

‘Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people will get to the promised land. And I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.’

He referred to Moses, another great leader, who was allowed only to see the Promised Land from on top of Mt. Nebo, but God assured him that his people would one day possess it. Dr. King, like Moses, also seemed content with God allowing him only to see the land from afar and having the promise that his people would soon enter.

Thank God for one man willing to “come in the name of love.” Thank God for a man of vision and great leader who was willing to lay his life down for the benefit of others. Thank God for a man that knew that the “obedience of one” does make a difference and knew that God’s love never fails!

Let us pray today, Lord help us be the leaders you have called us to be this year and follow your example of serving others. Help us to obey you even if others do not.