Faith to take the first step

Some great writers can sit down at a desk and conjure up an inspirational phrase or two. If they’re really good and, maybe even a bit lucky, they manage to come up with enough great lines to pull together a book or two or an interesting speech. And then some great thinkers like Martin Luther King Jr. come along, spend a lifetime in the public eye, turning out ideas that help change the world. King died much too young, assassinated when he was just 39, but he left behind a multitude of work. I’ve been going back and reading some of his speeches.

Scholars often point to his speech at Cornell College in Iowa in October 1963 where he explained how fear leads to racism. “People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.”

Many others focus on his often quoted “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, where he gave his eloquent appeal to end economic and employment inequalities, saying, “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.'”

Image by Ravi Kant via Pexels

Still others often take note of his “Our God is Marching On” speech in 1965 when he marched with 25,000 protesters from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama to fight for African American voting rights. You could even focus on some of his writings. His letters to various officials and his call for equal rights. 

You could read all of those and more, but today, I’m struck by a speech King gave at the Park Sheraton Hotel in New York City in 1962: “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

The more I examine and study the line, the more I find it touches on my faith, my relationship with God, and how I try to live my life. I rarely want change to happen, and if it’s inevitable, I want to control the time and the place. I want to play God. I want to be the man in control of the lever. Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way.

Instead, I have to look ahead. I have to stay positive and push forward. Rev. King rightfully pointed out that we bring about change together. I can see only the next step, but one step after another, after another and I eventually make it to the top of the staircase. Life is what we make of it — having faith and trust, fighting for equality and civil rights, and being willing to take the first step.

Thank you Rev. King.

22 thoughts on “Faith to take the first step

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  1. Wow Brian, that’s one of the best lines I’ve ever heard from a MLK speech. “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” Why is the need to be in control (and do things in our own timeline) so strong for us? Suggesting we know better than God. Thanks for the food for thought…

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    1. The MLK line jumped out at me too. I think I like it so much because it has so many different references. It applies to so many different facets of our lives. At least my life. I’m definitely a control freak. Like to think I have some level of control, when in reality, I really don’t. Thanks for the feedback. Glad it touched you. Thanks too for stopping by my blog!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A great thought, Brian, and taking that first step is something we can apply to most areas of our life. Rev. King was right about fear, I think it accounts for so many of the conflicts and prejudices that exist in the world. Have you read the book, Citizen, by Claudia Rankine? It gives a graphic insight to the effects of racism from a poet who has fought against inequality most of her life.

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  3. Thanks for this lovely post, Brian. So many life-affirming aspects in what you’ve shared. Most of all I appreciate the MLK Jr. quote, “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” If I’d read that in the past, I’ve forgotten about it. Terrific wisdom for a Monday morning…or any day. 😊

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    1. If I’m really honest, I love MLK’s quote so much, because, while it’s a more dignified response, but reminds me of my favorite line from the TV show MASH. Psychiatrist Dr. Sydney Freedman would say, “Ladies and gentlemen Take my advice, Pull down your pants And slide on the ice.” Some days we all need to follow that advice! Hope the piece wasn’t too preachy. Thanks for stopping by!!!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Yea, a bit heavier than I probably wanted for a Monday . . . on top of a long holiday weekend. Ha, ha. I’m sitting in my first meetings of the day, but my brain is still on holiday time!!! Hope things are better for you. Hope the piece isn’t too preachy. Just loved how the quote touches on so many different aspects of life. Yes, equality, but also just facing change in my own life. One step at a time! Thanks for hanging in there with me.

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  4. This is an excellent post with an even more excellent message, Brian. As you said, Martin Luther King Jr was a wonderful, forward-thinking man who died far too soon and well before his time. Thinking about taking only one step at a time and then another and another is something I can learn from. Although I don’t have a strong faith, the message here is important for all of us to remember. Thanks for sharing such wise words.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I love all the wisdom in this post – yours and MLK’s. I especially relate to your line, “The more I examine and study the line, the more I find it touches on my faith, my relationship with God, and how I try to live my life. I rarely want change to happen, and if it’s inevitable, I want to control the time and the place.”

    Beautifully said! Amen!! Great post, Brian!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I’m a control freak. I want to control everything . . . I don’t know why God just doesn’t give me control. I’d have everything running on time and the way God intended. Simple enough, right? Yea, I guess, it doesn’t work that way. Ha. ha. One step at a time, one day at a time, right? Ugh.

      Liked by 2 people

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