Observations on Life, Faith, Media & Technology

What’s Your Dream?

Do you have a dream?  What is it that motivates you to do what you do?

In 1867, D.L. Moody took a trip to England.  During that trip, Moody sat in a park talking with an evangelist named Henry Varley.  Varley looked at Moody and said, “The world has yet to see what God will do with and for and through and in and by the man who is fully consecrated to Him.” Those words ignited a fire in Moody’s soul.  He went on to become one of the greatest evangelists and soul winners in the history of the church.

WhatsyourdreamA young divinity student named Martin read the works of Mahatma Gandhi.  He was impressed by Gandhi’s commitment to non-violent social change, and with the results his work wrought in colonial India.  Martin Luther King, Jr. took that philosophy of non-violence and incorporated it into his deeply held Christian convictions of justice and equality.  He became the driving force behind the greatest cultural shift in the history of the United States.

In the early 1900s, motivational author Orison Swett Marden said, “All men who have achieved great things have been great dreamers.”

What’s your dream?

Today we honor the legacy of Dr. King, whose words and actions embodied the hopes and aspirations of the American Civil Rights Movement.  He was already a living legend in April, 1968 when he was tragically gunned down in Memphis.  His influence only increased in death as in a very real sense he became a martyr to the cause of justice for African Americans.  The words of his final speech to striking Memphis sanitation workers became prophetic, as he said, “I may not get there with you, but we as a people will get to the promised land.”  24 hours later, he was dead.

Dr. King’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech is undoubtedly one of the most effective and important addresses in our nation’s history.  It is unique in that it is a deeply personal statement of a very public figure.  If you read the complete text of the address, he begins by giving an overview of the problem – that the promise of freedom in the Emancipation Proclamation has not yet been realized by blacks in America.  But King sounded a positive note, saying he was confident the situation could and would be changed. He urged his listeners to not “wallow in the valley of despair” because despite the present difficulties, he still had a dream.

Reading through the speech again today, I was struck by the personal passion of the man, and how his dream was the singular focus of his efforts, the passion that motivated and drove him. I was compelled to ask myself, ‘what is your dream?’  What is it that fuels my passion?  What motivates me to do what I do?  And perhaps more importantly, are the things that I am doing helping to accomplish my dreams?  Am I, to paraphrase Thoreau, moving confidently in the direction of my dreams?

God does great things through people who dream big dreams. He wants to use you and me to impact our world, to right wrongs, to bring about great change, to bring people into His Kingdom.  But first, we must allow Him to instill in us a dream that sets our souls on fire.

What’s your dream?  

Read the full text of Dr. King’s speech here in a PDF from the National Archives.

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