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Rodney King and your life mission

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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Rodney King smiles during a discussion for his memoir The Riot Within: My Journey from Rebellion to Redemption at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on the campus of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles in this April 21, 2012 file photo (Credit: Reuters/Danny Moloshok)

The death of Rodney King has made national headlines. I remember watching the riots in Los Angeles 20 years ago, after the police officers who were videotaped beating him were acquitted. King pled for peace with the now-famous question, “Can we all get along?” He wrote a book for the 20th anniversary of the riots called “The Riot Within.” According to The Los Angeles Times, he was still “deeply haunted by the past and the expectations of him. He said he suffered nightmares and flashbacks from the beating, that he smoked marijuana and drank.”

His former attorney said King had yet to “realize his importance.” Milton C. Grimes, the Los Angeles lawyer who represented him, explained: “I always was hoping he would be able to tap into the power of the circumstances that he had been thrown into. I always saw a potential in him that had not been actualized. It really is sad. In his heart, he’s a good person, but he just hadn’t found his way.” Now he’s dead at the age of 47.

Rodney King is not the first or last person to struggle in finding his life mission. Most of us wonder if we’re doing what we should be doing with what we’ve been given. My greatest personal fear is that when I stand before the Lord one day I’ll hear him say, “You missed my purpose for you.” King’s untimely death reminds us that we have only today to be ready for that day.

Here’s the good news: our Father wants us to know his will even more than we do. If I’m willing to go anywhere and do anything he asks, I’ll know what he intends me to do with this day. No one in the Bible gets a five-year plan, but everyone in Scripture who makes God their King and lives every day for his Kingdom is given all the direction they need.

There’s a divine-human partnership at work here. Proverbs 16:9 notes: “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” When Moses was given the Ten Commandments, he was told to “chisel out two stone tablets” and “make a wooden chest,” then “the Lord wrote on these tablets” his word for us (Deuteronomy 10:2, 4).

Our minutes determine our hours, which determine our days, which determine our lives. Is this minute surrendered to your King?