The Measure of a Man

This past week I found myself taking two different “assessments” to help me determine those things that lie within me as strengths and weaknesses. Of the results, one was not surprising to me at all, I read the conclusions and agreed with the assessment. The other was more revealing to me. For in it “they” saw things in me that I didn’t know about and therefore could not see. I was glad to have taken both assessments.

Probably because of those assessments, I began some self-evaluation. Then, this phrase BURST into my thinking – “the measure of a man“. I don’t know why, where it came from or the origins of the phrase, but I determined to pursue it, because, here I was considering within me, what my measure was, how was I measuring up, and by what do I measure my life. What, in fact, is the measure of a man?

After sweeping aside the current and ridiculous arguements about what is a man or a woman, and following some shallow search, I discovered that the phrase was pretty much made popular by two speeches given by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1958. His speeches, (What is Man? and The Dimensions of a Complete Life) were so highly regarded by the attendees at those speeches, that they were published together in a book entitled, “The Measure of a Man”. Voila!

In his “What is Man?” speech, Dr. King addresses what he considers to be the “most important questions confronting any generation”, proposing that man is “a biological being, a spirit being who is made in the image of God, and a sinner in need of God’s divine grace”.

“In his “The Dimensions of a Complete Life”, King finally asks God: “help us to discover ourselves, to discover our neighbors, and to discover thee and to make all part of our life.” (1)

“Help us to discover ourselves” is such a wise and powerful request, and not just for Dr. King.

For when we dare to look within ourselves, to honestly assess what lies there, we will find things that are not at all surprising to us and then again, we will discover those things that we had no idea about, hidden in those deep recesses.

We are right to look within and discover. We are right to assess our strengths, weaknesses, our right and our wrong.

“Those who turn their backs on what they know is right will no longer be able to tell right from wrong.”

Proverbs 28:4 TPT

May we join Dr. King in the prayer to discover ourselves, our neighbor and the measure of a man.

Cheers to you,


(1) Stanford University; The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute; The Measure of a Man

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