His Own Eulogy

Image of the WeekEvery now and then I guess we all think realistically about that day when we will be victimized with what is life's final common denominator--that something we call death.

We all think about it and every now and then I think about my own death and I think about my own funeral. And I don't think about it in a morbid sense. And every now and then I ask myself what it is that I would want said and I leave the word to you this morning.

If any of you are around when I have to meet my day, I don't want a long funeral. And if you get somebody to deliver the eulogy tell him not to talk too long.  Every now and then I wonder what I want him to say.

Tell him not to mention that I have a Nobel Peace Prize--that isn't important. Tell not to mention that have 300 or 400 other awards--that's not important. Tell him not to mention where I went to school.

I'd like somebody to mention that day that Martin Luther King Jr. tried to give his life serving others. I'd like for somebody to say that day that Martin Luther King Jr. tried to love somebody.

I want you to say that day that I tried to be right on the war question. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try to feed the hungry. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try in my life to clothe the naked. I want you to say on that day that I did try in my life to visit those who were in prison. And I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity.

Yes, if you want to, say that I was a drum major. Say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness.
And all of the other shallow things will not matter.

I won't have any money to leave behind. But I just want to leave a committed life behind. And that is all I want to say. If I can help somebody as I pass along, if I can cheer somebody with a well song, if I can show somebody he's traveling wrong, then my living will not be in vain.

-- Martin Luther King, Jr. (at the request of his widow, these recorded words of Dr. King's last sermon were played at his funeral)

Add Your Reflection:

49 Previous Reflections:

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    On Apr 13, 2021 sheila Baker wrote:
    Does anyone know the statement Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., said that containing these words:
    When I die
    my life will begin
    for a billion years

    I can't find it anywhere.

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    On Mar 9, 2021 Nohelia wrote:
    Reading MLK's Eulogy has made me think about how life is short and we only have one lifeso we should cherish it and spend life on this earth trying to make it a better place for those who will come after us and not ruin it, This made me feel happy seeing that there are good people on earth who just want what's best foreveryone even if they're just strangers. I really appreciate how Martin doesn't want to be remembered for his awards and prizes but rather the thing he committed and did, I've learned that I would also like to write my own Eulogy before I die and leave people with myfeeling of my death on paper. I do wonder if he felt this way or why he decided to write his own Eulogy, In my Eulogy, I'm not sure what I would put; as I do not feel I have lived enough to write down good or deep things but as of now id write that I'm just happy I lived.

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    On Mar 9, 2021 Mariana Chibli wrote:
    After reading MLK's eulogy it made me think about how he didn't want anyone to focus on the awards he won, materialistic things, or his title, he just wanted people to focus on the things that made him, him. His fight that he fought for his people is what he wanted to be remembered for, he fought for justice and peace in humanity.

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    On Mar 9, 2021 Janiel wrote:
    As i read MartinLuther King's Eulogy i realized we all are gonna die eventfully,and some time in the days people think about there deaths .This made me feel regretful because there's so much more to life then rewards, fame and money, Mlk didn't want to be remembered by all the Nobel prizes he wanted to be remember by things he did for himselfand others . A question i have is did MLK have any regrets ?

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    On Mar 9, 2021 Mario Robles Santos wrote:
    This reading makes me think more of what I should be doing more and living life and not leaving this world withoutbeing somebody.

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    On Mar 9, 2021 nathalie wrote:
    reading MLK's eulogy made me think about how he has been a inspiration to a lot of people in many ways , he has made a big difference

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    On Mar 9, 2021 Jason wrote:
    my reflection is that i think that it is sort of confusing I know that it says that they tried and stuff which comes back to me as never give up but why did he end up giving up

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    On Mar 9, 2021 Lizet Gasca wrote:
    After reading MLK's eulogy makes me think about how to think about life and the possible ways someone can make other people think on their actions. If I had to about myself in the future I'll talk about every goal that I had planned and how I struggle to accomplish them, and how I didn't give up. At the same time, I would talk about being grateful with life for giving me the time to be in the world and learn about different things and how people could learn from me.

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    On Mar 9, 2021 Chris wrote:
    MLK wasn't rich he wasn't the smartest guy but he still found a way to make people listen to him and hopes of someone carrying on his legacy

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    On Mar 9, 2021 Charles wrote:
    Reading MLK'seulogy made me think that he did not care for the prizes he got because what was important to him is helping others and the people that supported him that made him stronger and the person that was there when MLK was writing his eulogy talked about how he was going to die and if there was a god up there.

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    On Mar 9, 2021 Alexis wrote:
    MLK'seulogy makes me think that he if he was still alive he could still be doing big changes

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    On Mar 9, 2021 Fil wrote:
    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a humble man who wanted to be judged for not what he had but for what he did. He wanted people to see each other for what they are as a person. He wanted to push us to accept those for not what they were on the soles of their feet or the clothes we wore but for who we are and what our souls wear.

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    On Mar 9, 2021 Melinda MacInnis wrote:
    I love his use of repetition: "Say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness." Powerful and true words.

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    On Mar 5, 2021 Evelyn wrote:
    Reading MLK's eulogy made me think that we worry too much about the little things and that we never know our life could end. One question that I have is why wasn't MLK scared knowing he was going to die? A lot of people would be scared knowing they are going to die except MLK. One thing I learned is that we should do everything and live life to the fullest with no regrets.

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    On Mar 5, 2021 Estefanny wrote:
    Reading Mlk'seulogy made me think and realize the worthof life and enjoy all moments.When I read this eulogy I feel like I have something to prove, I feel determined to bring a change in the world for the better. I appreciate the way he dedicated himself to others and made a change by putting so many thoughts into his letters. I learned how he didn't take money for granted it was about making a change and letting his life mark in motivation for others.One question I have is how was he able to do his own eulogy? If I had to write to myself in the future is appreciate everything and everyone you have because one day it can all be gone.

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    On Mar 5, 2021 Maria wrote:
    MLK did´t want to be remember as someone who won awards assomeone that won the Noble price.He wanted to be remember as someone who helped others, someone who tried to feed others,He wanted others to remember him as how he was and what he did to help others.

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    On Mar 5, 2021 Grae wrote:
    MLK's eulogy made me think that even though life is short remember what you have done for others and what you have contributed not only to yourselfbut to the world and those around you so that you may finally be at a time of peace when you pass. I feel kinda the same way in a sense but I know that I might never have that sense of peace now or when I pass but it's not for sure you know everything changes and life goes on but just remember the happy time of when you have lived.

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    On Mar 5, 2021 yahdira wrote:
    Reading MLK´s seulogymade me realize that there is more to life than worrying about one thing. people could have big goals and they are focusing on one thing.

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    On Mar 5, 2021 Jada Clayton wrote:
    Reading MLK'seulogy made me realize how we should cherish the moments we have here on earth. Also how our lives don't impact just ourselves but others around us. I find the eulogy powerful and inspiring because he didn't want it to be all about him but what he did for others and how he impacted them.

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    On Mar 5, 2021 Charone wrote:
    MLK's eulogy is inspiring. Life is short, enjoy it. We worry about little while we have bigger things to care about. He will be always be remembered for his good heart.he didn't want his funeral to be perfect, he just wanted everyone to know that everything he did was for us. One question I have is Did he see an angel who told him his time was almost up?

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    On Mar 5, 2021 Duval wrote:
    I think it's interesting that he says what not to talk about and in so doing HE talks about it. I think if he just focused on what he DID want to be said it would feel more genuine to me. He could have simply said, "don't talk about my awards" but he names the Nobel Peace Prize and that he received 300-400 other awards. Dr. King was a great writer and I think that here, his desire for rhetorical effect, undercuts the message I imagine I wanted to focus on.

    The reality that he knows that he is not leaving any money for his children is really sad.

    I often think about what I want to be said of me. Basically, I want it to be said that I did my best. I tried to leave the world better than I entered it.

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    On Mar 5, 2021 Jonathan wrote:
    MLK'seulogy made me think that life is short and you never know when it could end. Reading MLK's eulogy made me feel comforted in a way because he knew he was going to die and he wasn'tscared. I appreciate in his eulogy that he wanted his funeral and the speeches short he didn't want it to be long.I learned that he didn't leave materialistic things behind like money but instead he left his story and how he helped fight racial injustice. One question I have is how was he able to do his own eulogy. If I had to write to myself in the future is appreciate everything and everyone you have because one day it can all be gone.

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    On Mar 5, 2021 Manny wrote:
    Reading this eulogy made me think about what I will be known for when I'm gone and who will take on my legacy after me. When I read this eulogy I feel like I have something to prove, I feel determined to bring a change in the world for the better.

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    On Mar 5, 2021 yoselin Pervhez wrote:
    Reading MLK's eulogy made me think about how much life is more important than the little things we worry about. The eulogy made me feel kind of sad because he wrote this while still being alive i feel like he knew his time was coming. One thing I appreciate is that he never stopped fighting for others and always did what was right. If i had to write a eulogy I would say that I was grateful for the life that I had abd glad to been able to live a great life.

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    On Mar 5, 2021 elizabeth wrote:
    reading MLK's Eulogy made me think about life itself
    reading MLK'smade me feel proud of him but in the same time sad
    one thing I like about reading this Eulogy is how MLK mention how he helped people he wants to be remembered as a that
    one thing I learned from this reading is MLK thought about his own death

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    On Mar 5, 2021 Manny wrote:
    These are words that can heal a disturbed mind. I love how Dr. Martin Luther King Jr wanted to get acknowledge for the things he fought for rather than the achievementshe accomplished. Hopefully I will be remembered when I'm gone, but not for the schools I went to or the achievements I made but for everything that I fought for.

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    On Mar 5, 2021 Amia Shelton wrote:
    Reading MLK's eulogyis inspiring because he was only focused on letting people know his dream and for people to continue fighting for their livesand rights. He didn't care about people knowing his accomplishments or how smart he was

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    On Mar 5, 2021 Jesus wrote:
    This makes me really think about life because if he was writing to himself for when he passed away he had to have had a mentalitythat was very different. Something that I learned from this Eulogy is that Martin Luther King was always thinking about the future and what was next to come. If I were to write to myself in the future I would want to tell myself not forget the people that helped you and to help as many people as possible because that is how you turn into the bigger person in life.

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    On Mar 5, 2021 Zion wrote:
    If I had to write to myself in the future I would say, be careful and cautious at all times because you never know who you can really trust.
    Reading MLK'sEulogy made me think about life itself and what people really have the power to do.
    Reading MLK's Eulogy makes me feel passionate and uplifted because the things MLK did in his lifetime.
    One thing I like/appreciate about reading his Eulogy is the fact that he wanted to share all the good deeds he did.

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    On Mar 5, 2021 Shakari wrote:
    Reading MLK´s eulogy made me think about life and how we spend our time on this earth and we have to be grateful for and take advantage of our time here. It made me feel inspired like I need to take more advantage of the time I have on earth. I like how MLK didn'twant them to mention the big accomplishments he had like the Nobel peace prize because he felt like it wasn't important. One thing I learned from reading this eulogy was we need to recognize the opportunities we have before we don't have them anymore. If I had to write to myself in the future I would say ¨ I hope you are doing good for yourself, living wealthy and having fun¨.

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    On Mar 5, 2021 Andres S. wrote:
    Mks' eulogy makes me understand what he wanted to live for and be remembered by. This makes me feel shocked because he knew about his death so he wrote this to let people know how to remember him. I like what he wants to leave behind and am glad that his dream came true. I learned MLK did not want to be known for his accomplishments but wanted to be remembered for how committedhe was to his vision. I wonder how he felt the day before his inevitable death. I wonder if he tried to write many things to his close ones and I wonder if he let his family know about his death at all. If I were in his shoes, I would want to leave behind so many things for people to read about my thought process before my death and I know for sure it would have many things to put smiles on my close ones.

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    On Mar 5, 2021 Ximena wrote:
    I wish he was here to make a bigger difference, he will be missed.

    1 reply: Ximena | Post Your Reply
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    On Mar 5, 2021 Jesus wrote:
    Martin Luther King Jr.was a man for the people and he wanted to be remembered by how he was as a person and not by the awards that he won. Also, he knew his time was going to come so he wrote to himself and that has a lot to say about his thought process.

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    On Mar 5, 2021 KYRA G WRIGHT wrote:
    These are the words of a very loving and humble man. I am humbled by his love for humanity and hope to leave behind a legacy of helping and caring for people as well.

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    On Feb 15, 2019 TOOCHIE wrote:
    MARTIN WAS A GOOD PERSON

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    On Apr 20, 2018 kaka wrote:

    wow


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    On Jun 28, 2017 Colleen Thomas White wrote:

     Martin preached his funeral, at his appointed time. God directed his path, his action his every good work. When he took on God's vision to slowly bring mankind out of the troubled days , post past slavery ninety  seventy years after jubilee.  It was appointed to him decades before his creation, to take those entrapped in the bitter past tense of oppression,, into the new multicultural society we presently live in. God always send his people away out of bondage, and  true leaders. It's not important  how long they live, but that God's service was magnified through his chosen earthly journey. We to must find our purpose, and build on the many models of peace and prosperity that was meant to be spread equally,  "SIT DOWN SERVANT, AND REST A LITTLE WHILE"   


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    On Jan 18, 2016 Nicki Dayley wrote:

     Just beautiful...this is all that one could hope to do in life. Martin Luther King has been an inspiration to me in my whole life!


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    On Jan 18, 2016 Andrea Folkes wrote:

     This is deep but real...Dr. King did not feel that what he did on this earth should be compare to that of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is certainly food for thought!!


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    On Nov 26, 2014 mick wrote:

     this transcript does not include Dr. King final sentences.  It concludes as follows: "if I can do my duty as a Christian.  If I can bring salvation to a world once robbed.  If I can spread the message as the Master taught, then my living will not be in vain.  

     
    Yes, Jesus, I want to be on your right or your left side, not for any selfish reasons.  I want to be on you right or on your left side, not in terms of some political kingdom or ambition.  I just want to be there in love and in justice and in truth and in commitment to others so that we can make of this old world a new world."

    The full audio of the sermon can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBiFnDuCJIU 

    2 replies: Jim, Chris | Post Your Reply
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    On Jun 24, 2008 Adam wrote:
    Truly, this man was after God's own heart.

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    On Apr 4, 2008 my husband wrote:
    this man was a "real" christian honey

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    On Apr 4, 2008 donna wrote:
    an awesome speech

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    On Apr 4, 2008 fran wrote:
    this speech will bring you to tears

    2 replies: Cheryl, Cheryl | Post Your Reply

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