Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Describes The Breadth Of Life

When you hear the question, “Are you living?” what is the first thing that comes to mind? Do you think about your current situation or more about where you want to be? The bigger question is, do you associate how you’re living with how well you love others? As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once asked, “What did you do for others?” 

In Dr. King’s sermon, The Three Dimensions Of A Complete Life, he describes the breadth of life being the concern for the welfare of others. For me, this is the most important of the dimensions he outlined. Many times, when we think of life, we think about the length of our lives, vacations, or items on our bucket list. But, are we really living if we don’t have a real concern for others? 

To add breadth to your life, you must let go of your individualistic mindset and take a moment to look at the world around you. During this same sermon, Dr. King used the parable from the Bible about the good Samaritan. Many of us have heard this story before, but if we look a little deeper, we might begin to question if we would have done the same thing as those who passed by the man without offering help. Of course, we like to think, if we saw someone on the street needing help, we would stop.

To add breadth to your life, you must let go of your individualistic mindset and take a moment to look at the world around you.

It’s easier to do something when the situation is right in front of you, like when seeing someone lying in the middle of the road. But there are important issues—like racial division or discrimination—that we may not see firsthand every day. But that doesn’t mean they’re not there, that they’re not serious issues that need our attention. As early as 1954, Dr. King referenced numerous racial issues, highlighting that they were on display publicly, visible on the road. What do you see today that divides us that you are tempted to just look away…and walk by?

Dr. King spent much of his life promoting unity and encouraging people to add breadth to their life, to consistently live outside of themselves and work to better humanity with a real love for their neighbor. Let’s continue to learn to do this, to let our choice to love and care for others be at the forefront of our minds, even when we don’t “see them” in front of us, lying on the road. 

So, my question is, are you living? Are you truly loving and showing concern for the people around you? It’s vital that we embody the spirit of unity and empathy that Dr. King believed in and advocated for. Let’s take inspiration from his example and enrich our lives by embracing the breadth of life he embodied and encouraged us to seek out.


  1. Ask yourself, “Am I living?” What comes to mind?
  2. Learn more about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and how he lived the breadth of life:
    Quicksands of Racial Injustice 
    MLK, The Man, The Myth, The Legend
    What Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Can Teach Us About A Complete Life
  3. Looking for ways to serve people? Check out Local Missions partners at Seacoast Campuses.