In U.S. history, few speeches have so deeply impacted the listeners' lives than that of former civil rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. His speech "I Have A Dream" resonated with the voices of the oppressed among the African-American communities and those who agree that racial segregation must end during the height of the civil rights movement and beyond.
Christian leaders throughout the nation are honoring King who was assassinated for his fight against the injustices, but more importantly advocated the biblical principles that all men are created in the "Image of God" and should be judged not by the colors of their skins but by the contents of their characters.
Pastor Rick Warren, senior pastor and founder of megachurch Saddleback Church and Purpose-Driven movement, recounted being the first white preacher to preach at the same pulpit where King preached from at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. He said it was "one of the greatest privileges" of his life to be invited as a speaker during the 40th Anniversary of Dr. King's death.
Then, Warren reminded, "People forget that, first and foremost, Martin Luther King was a PASTOR, He was not a politician. He was a Baptist minister of the Gospel, and a pastor of a local church. Everything he did to promote freedom, justice, and racial equality flowed out of his understanding of God's Word. I have read hundreds of his sermons and they are rich biblical content."
Moreover, the New York Times best-selling author of "Purpose-Driven Life" said that King, along with Rev. Billy Graham and Mother Teresa, deeply influenced him as he was a young man.
In honor of Pastor Martin Luther King on this MLK holiday, Warren list his 10 favorite quotes "from a man who was model to many other pastors":
1. "The purpose of life is not to be happy, nor to achieve pleasure nor avoid pain, but to do the will of God, come what may."
2. "I just want to do God's will."
3. "When I took up the cross I recognized it's meaning. The cross is something that you bear, and ultimately, that you die on."
4. "The early Christians rejoiced when they were deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the Church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society."
5. "I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear."
6. "The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict."
7. "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
8. "Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude."
9. "The gospel at its best deals with the whole man, not only his soul but his body, not only his spiritual well-being, but his material well being as well."
10. "Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step."