On the 40th anniversary of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s death, we are reminded that there are two measures of human history, the scale of justice and the scale of peace, both anchored by the hand of God. We ask, “What does it take to balance them?” Prayerfully, by the time you finish reading this, you will begin to examine the roles of “justice” and “peace” in your life.
When we are “Dancing on the Scales of History” we must achieve balance. I enjoy dancing. I get lost in the music, and often lose sight of my partner. I am, at that time, dancing in spirit, unconcerned about what others think. Dancing also requires rhythm, timing, and sensitivity to music—abilities not inherited, but learned.
The scales of justice and peace have two cords to bind them. Peace’s scale is held together by honesty and integrity. Justice’s scale is bound by stewardship and spirituality. When these cords are broken, there is imbalance. Discord results. Where there is no justice, there will be no peace. Dr. King understood this counterbalance, and left us the legacy of his understanding. King knew that God held, in perfect balance, justice and peace of all the world’s peoples and their endeavors.
In II Samuel (6:14) we read, “Then David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod.” The scripture stresses that David, who came dancing into the city, was praising the Lord with all his might. David displayed his honesty and integrity.
When we are forthright about our wants and needs, and communicate them to God in honesty and with integrity, God renders unto us a special power. David told Michal, his wife, who scolded him for dancing in his linen underwear, “I will dance naked if it pleases the Lord.” David danced with inner peace, knowing himself ready to be king, and unconcerned of others opinions. To David, only the opinion of the Lord mattered.
The scale of Justice’s cords of stewardship and spirituality are evidenced in the New Testament “Parable of the Unjust Steward” related to us by Jesus. In Luke (16:8), “So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly, for the sons of this world are shrewd in their generation more than are the sons of light.” Stewardship, as a concept, often causes confusion. The steward, in this parable, had begun to think of himself as owner and controller of the master’s property. The landlord returned to find the “Unjust Steward” mismanaging the property and embezzling.
We are good stewards when we understand that we are managing, not controlling, God’s goods, realizing that all belongs to Him. We are merely stewards of earthly possessions. In the hands of God alone are the natural elements—fires and hurricanes that can quickly destroy the things we own.
When we consider the scale of economic justice, we clearly see the roles of stewardship and spirituality. Like Dr. King, we will come to see the connection between healthy spirituality and proper attitude toward money. Only with spiritual knowledge will we properly know how to use money in our hands.
God holds all the measures of our lives in His hands. He keeps justice and peace in balance. God’s shadow is deep and wide over our history. Today, God calls each of us to dance and sing upon our scales. Dr. King’s life demonstrated his ability, as a spiritual man, to “Dance on the Scales of History.” Dr. King’s legacy is one of joyfulness, of moving ever forward, balancing amidst the weighty measures of justice and peace.
The Rev. Dr. R. Joaquin Willis is pastor of the Church of the Open Door at 6001 NW 8th Ave., Miami. Contact the church at 305-759-0373 or email the pastor at firstname.lastname@example.org.