If you’re not careful, you could go through life thinking your circumstances determine your impact and legacy. In reality, you have the ability to shape not only the circumstances of your life but also those of many, many other people — no matter what your circumstances. Life isn’t about the hand we’re dealt, but about how we play each hand. Your decisions, not your circumstances, matter most.

MLK, Jr. changed the world from a remarkably tiny office. He did it without a fax machine, a computer, a smart phone, or a social media account. How, and what lesson is there for us, today?

One of my life’s most transformative moments was our 2016 family visit to Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. co-pastored with his father from 1960 until his 1968 assassination. Amazingly, the pulpit, chair, and platform from which he preached are still used in the sanctuary. Yards away, the body of the small giant lay (he stood only 5’7″ tall) along with that of his wife, Corretta Scott King. That my wife and sons (then eleven and nine years of age) were with us, made it especially significant. My prayer is that the trip forever inspires them to be leaders in the thick of the leadership vacuum gripping our nation.

Life isn’t about the hand we’re dealt, but about how we play each hand.

It was from this small office at the now-named Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, in Montgomery, Alabama, that Dr. King organized the Montgomery Bus Boycott:

TINY OFFICE, HUGE IMPACT: From this office, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. prepared for and organized the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott, which lasted from December 5, 1955 – December 20, 1956. The boycott led to a United States Supreme Court decision declaring Alabama and Montgomery segregation laws unconstitutional.



King didn’t let the size of his office determine the breadth of his influence. Neither should you let your influence be determined by your circumstances. Far too often, we get it backwards. What if King let the size of his office dictate the scope of his impact?


Four Questions to Ask Yourself:

  1. Am I waiting for someone else to lead when I know what needs to be done?
  2. Am I following, supporting, and encouraging the leaders in my life?
  3. Have I mistaken circumstances as more important influential factors than my decisions?
  4. Am I distracted by lessor things than what matters most?

King-Sized Impact, 1954-1960: Dr. King’s only time as a Senior Pastor was served at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church (now Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church).

MLK Jr. served as co-pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia, with his father. He served from 1960 until his assassination in 1968.

The same pulpit from which Dr. King preached from 1960-1968, at Ebenezer Baptist Church. Our trip became a turning point in my life.


Your family needs you. So does your neighborhood, your church, and your nation. Don’t let your circumstances dictate the size of your impact. Commit yourself to be an agent of positive change. You’ll end up influencing your circumstances, and the people around you, rather than your circumstances limiting you.



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Michael Anthony, CourageMatters.comA Call For Courage, Michael Anthony I'm a husband, father, inspirational speaker, podcaster, blogger, and Lead Pastor of Genesis Church, in York, Pennsylvania, where I live among farm animals and snack foods. I'm the author of A Call for Courage: Living With Power, Truth and Love In An Age of Intolerance and Fear (Thomas Nelson Publishers), and the soon to be released Courageous Life™ Motivational Planner. Both are available wherever books are sold. Send speaking, interview, and guest appearance inquiries to info@couragematters.com. , or click here and do your thing. For keynote speaking, interview and guest appearance inquiries, contact info@couragematters.com.
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