Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love, 1963

US black civil rights leader & clergyman (1929 – 1968)

It has been an interesting year. It has been another learning year.

A dear friend sent me that quote by the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. set out above, and ever since it has floated hauntingly around in my thoughts. It’s still there as I sit here this morning to share a moment with you.

I’m old enough to realize that nothing of the things that occur in life should surprise me; yet old enough to believe that at some level I have probably seen it all and that nothing any more should surprise me. Not so this past year, and probably not a reasonable position to maintain any year.

It’s been an interesting last year, and coupled with reflections on those words by Dr. King, even more so in light of the human nature displayed both within the secular and sacred.

It’s been a year of manuscripts and deadlines, new opportunities disguised as challenges, life-changing moments in the lives of individuals of which God has allowed me to be a part, growing in grace, helping family and friends, and the revelation of personalities and character traits within acquaintances—both new and former—previously not seen. It has been a year of courage and extraordinary achievement in the littlest and least of those among us.

It has been an interesting year. It has been another learning year.

It’s interesting that the noted and wise writer of the books of Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs, and contributing writer of Proverbs, Solomon, spent his entire life amongst riches beyond measure, reached the pinnacle of worldly fame and success, having anything he desired, whether stuff, comforts and satisfaction beyond our wildest imaginations. And yet when he got to the end of his life, having tried it all, he called it all “vanity” and “meaningless.”

Although in part a good man, Solomon sinned against God with, among other things, the wives he took and in allowing his wisdom to be used for worldly rather than heavenly means. His character was tested, he came up short and at the end of his life realized his failings when he said:

I have seen everything under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and striving after wind.”

Ecclesiastes 1: 14 (ESV)

And then ended with these words:

Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”

Ecclesiastes 12: 13 (ESV)

But even though he recognized his shortcomings and spoke of the whole duty of man, nowhere do we see words of repentance or sorrow for his sinfulness.

Similarly, it has been a year, in many circles, where too many of whom better was expected, fell below where they claimed to live and wanted others to believe was true. A year where character has been tested and challenged, and come up woefully short—to the detriment of the reputation of those themselves, and the detriment of those who relied on something better from them. It happens.

Yet, joyfully, it’s been one of those years where I have seen the character in family and friends, and others tested, and shine forth like the rising sun on a clear crisp winter’s day. A year where God’s light shined through them and so many others majestically and in moments where it was least expected—and to the benefit of so many around them. Thankfully, it happens.

It has been an interesting year.

It has been another learning year.

And, it has been a very good year.

That’s God at work through it all—thank you Lord, thank you.

In His Name—Scott

Copyright 2013. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.