I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!
Martin Luther King Jr.
To the Mountaintop
Topic: Courage, Integrity, & Purpose
“Let us develop a kind of dangerous unselfishness. One day a man came to Jesus, and he wanted to raise some questions about some vital matters of life. At points he wanted to trick Jesus, and show him that he knew a little more than Jesus knew and throw him off base….
Now that question could have easily ended up in a philosophical and theological debate. But Jesus immediately pulled that question from mid-air, and placed it on a dangerous curve between Jerusalem and Jericho. And he talked about a certain man, who fell among thieves. You remember that a Levite and a priest passed by on the other side. They didn’t stop to help him. And finally a man of another race came by. He got down from his beast, decided not to be compassionate by proxy. But he got down with him, administered first aid, and helped the man in need. Jesus ended up saying, this was the good man, this was the great man, because he had the capacity to project the “I” into the “thou,” and to be concerned about his brother….
And so the first question that the priest asked — the first question that the Levite asked was, “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” But then the Good Samaritan came by. And he reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”
That’s the question before you tonight. Not, “If I stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to my job. Not, “If I stop to help the sanitation workers what will happen to all of the hours that I usually spend in my office every day and every week as a pastor?” The question is not, “If I stop to help this man in need, what will happen to me?” The question is, “If I do not stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to them?” That’s the question.
Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation. And I want to thank God, once more, for allowing me to be here with you….
Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land! And so I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man! Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!”
Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia, as Michael Luther King Jr., but later changed his name to Martin. He came from a family of pastors, with his grandfather and father both serving as pastors at the Ebenezer Baptist Church. Martin Luther King Jr. attended segregated public schools and graduated from high school at the age of fifteen. He went on to earn his B.A. degree in 1948 from Morehouse College, where his father and grandfather had also graduated.
After completing three years of theological study at Crozer Theological Seminary, where he was elected president of a predominantly white senior class, King received his B.D. degree in 1951. He then pursued graduate studies at Boston University, where he met and married Coretta Scott. King completed his doctorate in 1955 and had two sons and two daughters with Coretta. Throughout his life, Martin Luther King Jr. played a crucial role in the civil rights movement, advocating for racial equality and justice through nonviolent means. His leadership and inspiring speeches, such as his famous "I Have a Dream" speech, made him a prominent figure in the fight against segregation and discrimination. In 1964, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to promote peaceful change and equality for African Americans. Tragically, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968, but his legacy as a champion of civil rights continues to inspire people around the world.
I've Been to the Mountain Top
King, Martin Luther. “‘I've Been to the Mountaintop.’” King Encyclopedia | The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, The King Institute, Stanford, 3 Apr. 1968, kinginstitute.stanford.edu/encyclopedia/ive-been-mountaintop.
Martin Luther King Jr.
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