Each year on or around January 15, we celebrate the tremendous and world transformative life of the legendary Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. There are oratory contests, days of service, parades, and commemorations spread out around the United States to celebrate and lift up the name of justice. And not the least of the memories, is the famous “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. However, this year, I found myself becoming wrapped in another one of King’s “sermons” if you will. “What Is Your Life’s Blueprint”, a short speech given by King at Barratt Junior High School in Philadelphia on October 26, 1967. For a quick moment I want to talk about the street sweeper…
See the climate of 1967 was just as rough as any during the civil rights movement, and Dr. King had taken a few moments to go speak to a group of middle school students and empower them beyond their violent climate. Moreover, he called the students to consider their blueprint or plan if for their very own lives. Calling them OUT of the struggles of being a negro during the civil rights movement to be the best at whatever their various commissions may have been. About 10 minutes into his speech he switches from giving his reasons, and over to the calling.
See Full Speech Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmtOGXreTOU
In King speech he proclaims: “Stay in school, and when you discover what you’re going to be in life, set out to do it like God almighty called you at this particular moment in history to do it…” And don’t just setout to do a good “Negro” job, but do a good JOB. That ANYBODY could do […] And set out to do that job so well, that living, the dead or the unborn couldn’t do it any better. If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music, sweep streets like Leontyne Price sings before the Metropolitan Opera. Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.”
Makes you think right? I’ve heard snippets of this speech many times and know the poetic commission of the “Street sweeper” but it wasn’t until I had my first meal of 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana that I saw it manifested for myself. My friends and I celebrated NYE in NOLA, and concluded our trip with lunch at Mandina’s Restaurant off of Canal St. As we awaited in the bar area for our table to be made ready, we found ourselves unknowingly staring at one of the bus boys. We initially began joking and how quickly he would bus down a table, clean it, and have it setup for the next party. He was seemingly doing it in one fell swoop. We kept watching as he adjusted from bus boy to server, and back to the tables just to keep the flow of traffic and patrons reasonable. Shortly after that we were seated and began to order, and all throughout the time at the restaurant we found ourselves continuing to be amazed and how he flowed through the rows of tables, around the servers, and barely missing the patrons as the morning and afternoon progressed. Just like Martin alluded, it truly was like art. He had a subtle smile on his face and was the only bus boy that we noticed in the restaurant. As we concluded our meal, we requested to see the manager and brag not on our waiter but on the bus boy. That we had never seen anything like that and wanted to make sure he got his due of credit for an enjoyable experience. The manager mentioned that he loved that job, and he even tried to make him a waiter at one point, but it didn’t work out. The kid just wanted to be a bus boy…
It was at that moment that it hit me. Not that this man’s life calling was to be a bus boy, but in that moment, his dedication to that job allowed me to notice a splendor of God that was over him and even my own life. It was in such a way that I realized if you can do a job or vocation so well that it points people to God, you are indeed called in that moment for a reason and a season. Whatever it may be that you are called to do, do it like the street sweeper Martin talked about, do it so well like the bus boy that you outshine those that may have higher positions than you. When you are equipped with skill, passion, and joy its no longer work but a commission to transform people, places, or things into a better representation of themselves. So on this Martin Luther King, Jr’s Day, in addition to your plans you may have, I want you to think about what you’ve been called to do. I want you to consider all the people that are waiting on you to accept your calling and bless their lives. I believe there are blessings God has for people around you, that He’s waiting to speak and demonstrate through you after you submit to obedience. Let today be that day as you embark into the remaining months, weeks, and days of 2018. No matter how low or high the position, do it for the glory. Happy King Day to all the “Street Sweepers!”
. With Passion, Purpose, and Pride,
Trent J ACEO