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Archive for the ‘Booker T. Washington’ Category

We’ve been gone to Seattle to see children and grandchildren and just returned but I can’t allow today to pass without acknowledging the birthday of one of the greatest citizens of our country, Booker T. Washington. Washington is often ignored during Black History Month and sometimes he is even denounced as a traitor to his race. But, in fact he was a great example of how our country should have moved forward from legalized slavery to true freedom (and if you haven’t yet read Up From Slavery, drop what you’re reading and do it). The secret of Washington’s greatness was that he never sought to be great. He understood the Savior’s exhortation that he who would be the greatest of all must become the servant of all. It was a lesson that the majority of his own people would come to reject. Consequently, one of the greatest Americans of all time is ignored, often denounced, sometimes despised, and regularly slandered. But this would probably not surprise him if he were alive. After all, didn’t the Savior say that this would be the fate of those who follow Him? It is enough for the servant to be treated like his master and Booker T. would have counted it a great honor to have been treated like his Lord.

But regardless of others, let’s remember him with honor. Washington showed us the way forward out of the morass of ungodliness, immorality, ignorance, and wickedness that has engulfed our communities both black and white. That way is nothing other than the way our Savior taught us: deny yourself, take up the cross, and follow Jesus.

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I’m enjoying re-reading Up From Slavery the autobiography of Booker T. Washington. There’s a great deal of wisdom here. For example, Washington observes, “The average man usually has the idea that if he were just somewhere else, in another state or city, or in contact with another race, he would succeed, forgetting too often to utilize the forces that are about him and in his hand.” yep and Amen.

We often think that if we were in another place; if we had another position or more money or greater prominence or important connections, THEN we would be truly useful and influential. We’re dreaming. The reality is if we’re not being faithful where we are with what we have, having more wouldn’t help us. Don’t fall into the trap of blaming your lack of fruitfulness upon a lack of opportunity or the absence of some asset. Take advantage of the opportunities you have now being faithful to fulfill the duties that you have been given now. True “success” is founded upon faithfulness in your present circumstances.

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