Ram Truck Uses a Talk by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in a Super Bowl Commercial

As many of you know, on Sunday 2/4/2018, the Super Bowl LII was played. For the first time, I watched an entire Super Bowl game, not just the halftime performance as was my custom. I was cheering for the underdogs, the eagles, and they won!

My most memorable moment of the event wasn’t the half-time performance. It was when Ram Trucks used a talk by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in a commercial.

On February 4, 1968, Dr. King said the following, which Ram Trucks used as the voice over for their commercial:

“If you want to be important — wonderful. If you want to be recognized —wonderful. If you want to be great — wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. That’s a new definition of greatness. By giving that definition of greatness, it means that everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. 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.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. King wasn’t the original author of the idea of greatness defined in terms of service to humankind. He as quoting another freedom fighter, another transformational leader who had lived over two thousand years before Dr. King. He was expounding on a life principle that Jesus of Nazareth taught his disciples.

One day, two of Jesus’ disciples, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him and as “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.

“What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”

These two disciples of Jesus were asking him to make them great. In essence to give them greatness.

Jesus proceeded to gently reply to them:

“You don’t know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”

“We can,” they replied, without missing a beat.

Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”

When the other ten of Jesus’ disciples heard that about what had happened and became indignant with James and John, that’s when Jesus called them together and taught them what Dr. King called a new definition of greatness.

Jesus called all his twelve disciples together and told them, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

That is where Dr. King got his amazing definition of greatness.

Service equals greatness.