To have a list of “favorite quotes” is fairly common. If you need proof, sign up for any social network-type site and you’ll soon find all the sites have a section for this type of list. A quick search for “book of quotes” on Amazon.com returned 7,622 results. Why are quotes famous? Why are simple statements from random sources popular?
1. Because someone has stated an observation or feeling that we’ve observed or felt, too, but couldn’t find the accurate words to express.
2. We want to be inspired. We want to laugh. We want to know that we’re not alone in our feelings of happiness, joy, anger, curiousity, or hunger for life’s meaning.
So we cling to the quotes we relate to, the ones we wished we thought of ourselves. Quotes that draw their arms around us as if to say, “It’s ok to feel this way.” Quotes like the one listed above are hard to hear, though. It’s quite counter-cultural to say anything about money not satisfying. Especially when the person who said it was one of the most prolific football players in recent history. After chasing the things success brought him, Deion Sanders realized it was all meaningless in the end. I wonder if he was reading the Bible at all…Ecclesiastes, maybe?
“Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.”
The very next chapter of Ecclesiastes includes text that has been used in music and movies for decades. The Byrds made this song famous:
I challenge you to search around and find quotes you can relate to. Find something that inspires you and hold tight to it. Memorize the words and recall them when no other words can quite grasp what you’re experiencing. And for a second challenge, come up with your own quotes. You’re an original and every generation needs someone who’s not afraid to speak their mind and pour out the emotions in their heart. One day, many years from now, you may be the person other people are quoting.
“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 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.”
The very next day, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. saw more than just the Lord’s glory, he saw the Lord himself.
“He that but looketh on a plate of ham and eggs to lust after it hath already committed breakfast with it in his heart.” (C.S. Lewis)