How To Say Clever Things

Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The social media was full of awesome quotes and clever things he said. Here are a few examples:

“Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.”

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bare.”

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

How is it that he said so many clever things? Well, he was smart. He had a heap of public opportunities. His daddy was a Baptist preacher and he followed the same path. He was a precocious student. He quoted others a lot. He thought deeply and wrote extensively.

All true. However, the real reason is more powerful. The things he said sound clever because the life he lived was great. Bold sacrificial choices and an untimely death turned ordinary words into quotable gems.

A sure way to sound naive and awkward is to try and be clever. But the quickest way to become clever is to give your life away in service to others. Live a bold sacrificial life, die doing something that matters, and suddenly your ordinary words are supercharged with wisdom. It turns out that wisdom is more of a “doing-thing” than a “saying-thing”.

So, how do you say clever things? Speak less and make greater sacrifices. (Prov. 17:28)

Listen to the closing moments of King’s final speech (“the mountain top”) the night before he was assassinated: click here.

An interesting fact: King was born Michael King, Jr. His father changed the name to Martin Luther while attending the Baptist World Alliance Congress in Berlin in 1934. The vision for greatness stuck!


Posted by Allan Demond

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