It was August 28, 1963. Martin Luther King, Jr. stepped up behind the podium and began to address the 100,000 who had gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
He started out reading his prepared speech when something came over him, something he had thought of before but hadn’t prepared to say this day.
Dr. King dispensed with his prepared text and began, “I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.” The speech would become one of most important of the twentieth century.
In his speech, Dr. King cast a vision, as great leaders do. Dr. King was able to envision a future very different from the present in which he lived. His ability to see and communicate what he saw to others, along with the courage to lead others to that place without departing from his non-negotiable principle of non-violence were the cornerstones of his success as a civil rights leader who change his world.
Change always starts with a vision of a different reality than the average person sees. Such visionaries are often dismissed as naive, idealistic or unrealistic, but if it wasn’t for visionaries who could see outside the prison walls of what is to what can be, we would be forever incarcerated in the status quo.
The kingdom of God is about progress. “The darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining.” (I John 2:8). The world is not yet what it will be, which means visionaries are necessary to the kingdom of God, visionaries like Martin Luther King, Jr. GS