North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose

    It wasn’t until November 1983 President Ronald Reagan signed a bill making Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a federal holiday. I can remember growing up reading about him in history books and news articles. In one sermon given by MLK, he states: “Before I was a civil rights leader, I was a preacher of the Gospel. This was my first calling and it still remains my greatest commitment. You know, actually all that I do in civil rights I do because I consider it a part of my ministry. I have no other ambitions in life but to achieve excellence in the Christian ministry. I don’t plan to run for any political office. I don’t plan to do anything but remain a preacher. And what I’m doing in this struggle, along with many others, grows out of my feeling that the preacher must be concerned about the whole man.”    In his famous 1963 speech, “I Have a Dream”, he states: “I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.”

    When I was a teenager, I could understand what he stood for, and I grew to respect him, his life, his ideas, and influence. It wasn’t till my adult life I fully realized the impact of his life. I worked almost 15 years in the Florida Department of Corrections. I was a teacher and coordinated recreation, wellness, and vocational programs for the management of inmates. On one occasion I was reviewing various DVDs to show my student-inmates during Black History Month. The institutional library had approved DVDs that contained several speeches given by MLK. As I sat there and listened, I was captivated by the power and passion in which he spoke. He was one of the greatest orators of his time. His motivational speeches were enough to make anyone, with a heart for people, want to go out and try to make the world a better place. Much of his speech content centered around loving your neighbor as yourself, loving God above all, and loving your enemies, praying for them, and blessing them. His thoughts of non-violence were based on the courageous injunction to turn the other cheek. He promoted God’s love. If we would all gain a touch of that kind of passion, the world would be a better place.

    So, how can we, as a compassionate people, utilize God’s L-O-V-E?

    First, we must LOOK for the best in others. Romans 10:13 says, “Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law”. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone has faults. But, if you look long enough, you will discover there is also good in everyone. We usually find what we are looking for in people—good or bad. People who look for the worst, search for faults; many times build themselves up by tearing others down. Love is a positive attitude. It reaches for the highest and the best.

    Secondly, we must OFFER Christ’s love to others. Love for others gives the assurance that he or she belongs to God and has eternal life. The Bible says, “Love one another” (Romans 13:8). Love is more than saying, “I love you”. True love is expressed in deeds and in truth.

    Thirdly, we must VISUALIZE what Christ can do for others. Dr. King saw the possibilities, hope, and help for all people through Christ, regardless of skin color. And so should we. Expressing true love shows, by Christ’s power, every person can be a blessing. The love that is contained within our hearts act on possibilities. Step by step through prayer, faith, good deeds, and witnessing, God’s love is shared through us all.

    Finally, we must EXEMPLIFY the Spirit of Christ to others. To be Christ-like we are to manifest his Spirit every day. Christ was kind, compassionate, and understanding. The marching orders of the Christian is to: “Love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honoring each other”.

    We honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. each year, on the third Monday in January. Even greater, let us practice his vision of a “beloved community” every day. In so doing, we will be honoring what Christ told us to do—”Let us love one another”.  

• This bi-weekly column is written by Matthew Dobson. He’s a Public Health Services Manager for the Florida Department of Health, former U.S. Army Reserve Chaplain, and the Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in the New York, Florida community. His “Living With Purpose” Book series can be found and purchased on www. You can contact him by email:

Posted by on Jan 17 2021. Filed under Church News, Churches, Living With Purpose, Local, Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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