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?


  1. Amanda Silver

    You draw my attention since I’ve read the title… si I’ve read the post and I must say that I have always looked to get lessons from great people but I haven’t thought I will ever find a ‘blogging tutorial’ inspired from Martin Luther King Jr. Being original and available to work, work, work …are essential for your blog success

    1. Chadrack

      @Amanda Silver,

      That goes for me too. But as one who is always open to learn from the things around me, reading that speech simply opened my mind to the truths contained therein. I must say I’ve learned greatly from those words.

      Thanks for stopping by and posting your comment.

  2. Harleena Singh@Freelance Writer

    Great lessons Chadrack!

    I have read a little about Martin Luther King and have always loved the way he lead his life- truly inspirational.

    I loved the way you have picked up the beautiful lessons from his life and linked it to making money blogging!

    I do agree about being prepared and earning to learn it- I guess you really do need to work hard and earn your position in the blogosphere. Similarly, blogging should always be done with an aim to serve others or share content that would benefit others- rather than talk about yourself or your blog.

    Thanks for sharing these wonderful lessons, as they are great reminders too 🙂

    1. Chadrack

      @Harleena Singh,

      It’s really a great pleasure that you can connect with this. I’m really open to learning and so, whenever I read or listen to people like Rev. King, I always make sure I get something to keep. These lessons spoke to me and I couldn’t wait to share them with my friends.

      Thanks for the comment.

  3. Cat Alexandra @ Internet Marketing Success

    Hi Chadrack,

    I love this dose of tough love and common sense which seems to be so lacking in the modern world these days.

    Dr. King was a visionary and one who was never shy about helping humanity understand how and why we should rise to the occasion of self responsibility and good stewardship in how we interact with the world at large.

    I agree with you that in many pockets within the blogging community there is an abundance of unsubstantiated hype and empty promises by people who in many cases have no business acumen, let alone the professionalism to self-direct effectively…forget about “helping” anyone else!

    A great truth which is rejected by many (because it just “ain’t sexy”) is that our ability to earn is commensurate to the level which we have risen to in our own wisdom. – Not JUST education…see, wisdom requires of us to apply that education in real life or else it’s just theory. Theory is never indicative of bonafide results til it has been proven to work.

    One of these days I hope to see more wise-folk in the trenches working from the position of wisdom and applying that to assist the masses in viable means to create measurable successes.

    Great food for fodder, Chadrack, my first time reading from you and it has indeed been a pleasure!

    Highest regards,
    Cat Alexandra

    1. Chadrack

      @Cat Alexandra,

      Must say your comment is not only insightful but blends wonderfully with the theme of the discuss. I agree with you that wisdom is a neccesary ingredient for creating any substantial success online. As the holy scripture says, wisdom is the principal thing. Wisdom will open the flood gates of increase. Wisdom will direct your path so that you will not err. Wisdom will help you to effective be of help to others.

      It’s a pleasure to know that you have found my writing to be good fodder! 🙂

      1. Cat Alexandra @ Internet Marketing Success

        @Chadrack, I’m glad you enjoyed my comment. 🙂 I try to contribute to the conversation or at least say something valuable when I check out other people’s blogs like yours. It’s the least I can do when I want to show how much I appreciated the writing. – So essentially it’s a compliment to you!

        Thanks for the insightful response to my original comment, I’m hoping we can grow alongside one another and to also know one another better this year!

        Cheers from your new fried in Colorado!

        Cat 😉

        1. Chadrack

          @Cat Alexandra,

          I’m really glad to hear that. Connecting with other like-minded bloggers is one reason I run this blog. Though, I know many only want to drop a comment just because they want some link juice, it gives me pleasure whenever I come across those who really want to connect. Looking forward to a fruitful relationship.

  4. Divine @ Travel Wisconsin

    You get my attention. Making money online used to pretty much require you to have your own Web site, products to sell and some marketing savvy. But a new generation of dot-coms have arisen that will pay you for what you know and who you know without you having to be a web designer or a marketing genius.

    1. Chadrack


      I think there have always been programs that pay you for what you know and whom you know! It only bears down to what you are looking for. I’ve been online long enough to know that expecting to make money online without any commensurate input is nothing but a wild dream. Or do you have proof that this program is different?

  5. bjohn

    That sounds good about serving to the target audience but the real one from your learning then it becomes the real blogging. This can be a lesson for those who are really not able to get the success while blogging.

  6. Catwoman

    Such a great article! I really like your point on the actual meaning of the drum major instinct. I love the explanations of the biblical stories in the modern context. Thanks for sharing this inspiring text!

    1. Chadrack


      It’s really a good thing for me that you find this useful. Biblical stories always do apply to every age. They are the same yesterday, today and forever! If only we can apply them they will always be powerful in the results produced!

      Thanks for the comment.

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