Our country has spent the past few days mourning the deaths of Aretha Frankin, The Queen of Soul, and Senator John McCain, the Maverick.
It is befitting during times of mourning that we ponder the inescapable question:
Do I have something to die for?
This year marks the 50-year anniversary of the assassination of preacher and civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Although this man is most known for his dream—the one he delivered to approximately 250,000 people, the dream that continues to live as a breathing document of hope today—the speech that best captures his life and ministry was given on the night before he was slain. It was titled “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” and in it he stated, “If a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.”
In his sermon “The Drum Major Instinct,” given at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, he told hearers the way he wanted to be remembered. He wanted people to know that he tried to give his life serving others, loving others, being right about the violence of war, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and visiting the imprisoned. Living an other-centered life is why his words still resonate with us 50 years later.
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