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Affluent Christian Investor | October 22, 2017

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Patience and Creativity

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr.

I ran across a quote by Martin Luther King Jr. a few years ago that impacted me deeply. Before I share that quote, however, I want to share a passage from Isaiah that people recite and even sing to me regularly (it was put to music years ago). It is their life philosophy and approach to missions, creativity, and taking action in general, and it reads like this in the NAS Version:

“He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who lacks might He increases power.
Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary” (Isaiah 40:30-31 emphasis added).


The key phrase in that passage for many is “those who wait on the Lord.” The implication is that if you are going to serve the Lord, you need to wait, sort of like you wait for a bus or taxi. There is only one problem with that philosophy. Everything else in that passage speaks about taking action, not waiting. It speaks of strength, flying, running and walking. Those who are waiting aren’t do any of those things, but the entire context of the passage is God giving strength to those who “wait.” I would propose that those who wait don’t need the strength; they need the patience.

The NIV for once is more accurate in its translation of the word “wait,” for the NIV states, “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.” Insert that phrase back into the longer quote above, and you will see there is a big difference between hoping and waiting. Most already have the waiting down pat. I want to be one who hopes as I run, fly, and walk, and I hope that we can run together toward our purpose and creativity.


And now for the quote from Martin Luther King’s speech “Beyond Vietnam,” delivered on April 4, 1967 in New York City. I will offer no commentary on his closing comments. I trust you to draw your own conclusions and make the necessary adjustments in your life and work to make adjustments for what he said:

We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity. The tide in the affairs of men does not remain at flood—it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is adamant to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words, “Too late.” There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect. Omar Khayyam is right: “The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on.”

I urge you to engage your “moving finger” this week and write (or whatever your creative expression is). Once you have written, it’s then time to move on—to your next creative project! Have a great week!


Originally published on The Monday Memo.

John Stanko was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and attended Duquesne University where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics in 1972 and 1974 respectively.

Since then, John has served as an administrator, teacher, consultant, author, and pastor in his professional career. He holds a second master’s degree in pastoral ministries, and earned his Doctor of Ministry from Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh in 2011.

John founded a personal and leadership development company, called PurposeQuest, in 2001 and today travels the world to speak, consult and inspire leaders and people everywhere. From 2001-2008, he spent six months a year in Africa and still enjoys visiting and working on that continent, while teaching for Geneva College’s Masters of Organizational Leadership and the Center for Urban Biblical Ministry in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Most recently, John founded Urban Press, a publishing service designed to tell stories of the city, from the city and to the city.


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