Martin Luther King’s three dimensions of a complete life- The Length, Breadth and Height of life!
Life itself must be complete, it must be three dimensional. Many centuries ago, there was a man by the name of John, he was imprisoned and banished to the lonely Island of Patmos. When you are in prison, you are deprived of your freedom, but the freedom to think and spend time with your thoughts.
John looked up into heaven and he saw a new heaven and a new earth. This is the length, breadth, and height of life. Life as it should be and life at its best is a life that is complete on all of these three sides. There are three dimensions to any complete life- Length, breadth, and height of life.
The length of life as we shall use it here is the inward concern for one’s own welfare; it is that inward concern that pushes a man to achieve his own goals and ambitions. The breadth of life as we shall use it here is the outward concern for the welfare of others and the height of life is the upward reach for God. We have to have all three of these to have a complete life. The length of life is where we are concerned with developing our inner power, in a sense this is the selfish dimension of life, there is such a thing as rational and healthy self-interest, loving yourself before you can love others adequately. You have to love yourself.
The length of life means that you must love yourself and part of loving yourself means you must respect yourself. We must pray every day and ask God to help us accept ourselves and that means everything, so many people are ashamed of their color, their body, looks, their minds but we must learn to accept ourselves and say to God, Lord help me to accept myself.
The breadth of life is when you are concerned about others, what would happen to humanity if we do not stop to help, are you willing to take a risk for humanity? God needs men and women who will ask what will happen to humanity if I don’t help. What will happen to the reformation of the church if I don’t participate, what will happen to my city if I don’t vote, what will happen to the sick if I don’t visit, what will happen to babies and children that are raped if I don’t advocate for laws and push to persecute those that violate these children. This is how God judges people in the final analysis.
O there will be a day, the question will not be how many awards did you get in life, it will not be how popular you were in your social setting, the question will not be how many degrees you were able to get, the question will not be whether you are a Ph.D. or a No D, the question will not be whether you went to more house or no house, the question that day will not be how beautiful is your house was or how much money you accumulated in your bank account or in stocks and bonds, the question that day will not be what type of automobile you drove in your lifetime, but the question that day will be what did you do for others.
The master will say I was hungry and you did not feed me, I was naked and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not visit me, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was homeless and you gave me no bed. Whenever we fail to do these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me- you failed to do it to me. What did you do for others? This is the breadth of life. There is nothing greater than doing something for others. Jesus said he who is greatest among you must be a servant. I want to be a servant, a witness for my Lord and in doing something for others.
If life is to be complete, we must move beyond our self-interest, we must move beyond humanity and reach up, way up to the God of the universe whose purpose changes not. Reach out and find the height of life. I know him because he is the lily of the valley, the bright and morning star, he is the rose of Sharon, he is the battle ax in the time of battle, he is my everything, he is the friend of the friendless, husband to the widow. Love yourself, that’s the length of life, Love your neighbor as you love yourself because you are commanded to do that and that is the breadth of life, and then love your God will all your heart, your soul, your strength and your mind that is the length of life. We need to get all these three together to live a complete life on this planet.