What Can Martin Luther King Jnr. Teach You About Making Money Blogging?

Martin Luther King Jnr. teach me about making money blogging?

I’m sure that was one of the questions that went through your mind when you saw the title of this post. Actually this post is about some useful insights I got from reading one of the many powerful speeches by this great and inspiring civil rights activist. I employ you to read it carefully.

Remembering Martin Luther King, Jnr.

Specifically, Monday January 16 was the 2012 Martin Luther King, Jnr. day. celebrated yearly as a United States federal holiday the day is set aside to mark the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as an honor to this prominent voice in the  nonviolent activism in the civil rights movement.. Though King’s birthday is January 15, the first Monday of every January is observed as the King’s day.

To celebrate this year’s MLKJ day a new Martin Luther King Jnr. memorial was set up in Washington with an inscription carved in stone. But the inscription which read: “I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness” was criticized as not accurately reflecting the civil rights leader’s words.

Martin Luther King Jnr. Memorial Stone

Now, that quote was taken from a sermon now known as the “Drum Major Instinct,” preached by Rev. King in February 1968, just two months before he was assassinated. In that sermon, King explained how he would like to be remembered at his funeral. So it’s clear that this carved stone inscription was to respect the King’s wish.

However, my focus here is not just that quote but the greater message of the “Drum Major Instinct” sermon and what you can learn from it about making money blogging!

So what is the message of “Drum Major Instinct” sermon?

The “drum Major Instinct” sermon by Rev. King was based on the biblical story of Jesus and two of his disciples, John and his brother James. These two brothers, without regard of the feelings of the other disciples (they were twelve), approached Jesus one day and requested that they be given the most honorable positions in Jesus’ kingdom! This action was condemned by the other disciples as they took their actions as the highest form of selfishness.

In the “Drum Major Instinct” sermon, Rev. King cautioned that instead of joining to condemn these two disciples, we must realize that we all have this desire to always be first – a desire to be out front, a desire to lead the parade, a desire to be important, a desire to surpass others, a desire to achieve distinction – and that this desire is something that runs the whole gamut of life.

And so, King opined that instead of trying to give up what seems to be a negative, this drum major instinct should be used rightly:

“Yes, it’s a good instinct if you don’t distort it and pervert it. Don’t give it up. Keep feeling the need for being important. Keep feeling the need for being first. But I want you to be first in love. (Amen) I want you to be first in moral excellence. I want you to be first in generosity. That is what I want you to do.”

As a blogger, reading the full text of the “Drum Major Instinct” immediately give me 3 great lessons about making money blogging. Here are those lessons:

1. Harness The Drum Major Instinct And Be Yourself!

Hear Rev. King:

“There are some people who are influence peddlers. And in their attempt to deal with the drum major instinct, they have to try to identify with the so-called big-name people. And if you’re not careful, they will make you think they know somebody that they don’t really know… And the other thing is that it causes one to engage ultimately in activities that are merely used to get attention… And they just boast and boast and boast and that’s the person who has not harnessed the drum major instinct.”

I personally think this can be found so widely among bloggers wanting to make money online.  Many wanting to create an impressive appearance quote bogus monthly earnings for the whole world to read on their blogs. They write posts that seem to suggest they are already at the top. But a few months or years down the road, visit that blog and you will discover that the blogger has jumped ship, the blog has been deserted!

These are bloggers who have not really harnessed the power of the drum major instinct. They were taken in by the fake it until you make it maxim. But, why be a fake? Why appear to be what you are not?

So, do you want to be a drum major for blogging? Do you have “a desire to be out front, a desire to lead the parade, a desire to be important, a desire to surpass others, a desire to achieve distinction” as a blogger? Then be yourself. Don’t just fake it; you may not make it!

2. Be Prepared And Work To Earn It

To get to the top as a blogger is not something you get on a platter of gold! It is not something someone else can give to you. Unfortunately, many are looking for some “turnkey” blogging secret that will automatically make them superstar bloggers. What a mistake.

Superstar blogging status is earned and never received as a gift. You must prepare yourself by learning what you need to learn and apply what you have learned.

Paraphrasing Jesus, Martin Luther King Jr. said,

“Now brethren, I can’t give you greatness. And really, I can’t make you first.” You must earn it. True greatness comes not by favoritism, but by fitness. And the right hand and the left are not mine to give; they belong to those who are prepared.”

3. Be Ready To Serve

Service is one quality that is fast becoming extinct in our world of individualism. With everyone trying to become their own masters after experiencing the master/servant relationship of office politics, many have thrown away the idea of service.

To serve another you must have the interest of that person at heart. This is not different in blogging. To be a successful blogger you must have the interest of your target audience at heart and be ready to serve them. And so, if you want to be a drum major in blogging, go out there and become a servant. How do you do this? Rev. King put it this way:

“You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don’t have to know Einstein’s theory of relativity to serve. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love. And you can be that servant!”


Rev. King may have lived years before the internet but his insightful sermon the “Drum Major Instinct” speaks powerfully to us today as bloggers. If you will understand that making money blogging is not about presenting a false front but harnessing your inner desire to be successful by learning what it takes to succeed and then applying the principles you learned by using them to serve your target audience, success will come to you like bees to honey!

As usual I love to read and connect with you through your comments. Have you ever read or listened to the full message of the “Drum Major Instinct?” are there any other lessons you have learned from it? How about these insights highlighted here, do you think they can really make any one a better blogger?


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