“The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it is the same problem you had last year.”― John Foster Dulles, Former Secretary of State
The word MEASURE a noun and a verb. In action it means to ascertain the size, amount, or degree of (something) by using an instrument or device marked in standard units or by comparing it with an object of known size. We use measuring cups for food, tape measures for clothing, thermometers for our bodies, and odometers in our cars. We are constantly measuring: metrics and benchmarks at work, credit scores, balance sheets, polls, and social media likes and dislikes. The main unit of music is a measure. Yes, we collect data in the church. Do you ever get tired of measuring? It invites comparison. We evaluate how much or little, how successful or unsuccessful, etc. At times our measurements reflect what’s really going on…at other times they do not.
Some things that are hard to measure: the joy you feel when someone’s face lights up to see you, the value of your health, the time you had with a person who has passed or with whom you no longer share a relationship, the power of encouraging words, or the time you invested just being with someone when they’re hurting. Mother Teresa said, “Intense love does not measure, it just gives.”
A MEASURE as a noun is plan or course of action taken to achieve a particular purpose; or a means of assessing the degree, extent, or quality of something. Frederick Douglas wrote, “Find out just what any people will quietly submit to, and you have found the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them.” We are seeing this in the reaction of the voters of Tennessee to the ousting of State Legislators who exercised, alongside their constituents, the right to protest after a school shooting. Their outcry said they would not stand for that injustice, and that the right to protest the type of arms and who is safe to have them, is as constitutional as the right to bear them.
Paul, after begging the Church of Rome to present their bodies as living sacrifices to God and allowing His Word to change them toward His purposes, wrote, “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.” This Greek word metron is the basis for determining what is enough (or not enough), what is fair (or not fair). Metron is the controlling basis by which something is determined as acceptable or unacceptable – preeminently rooting to the Lord Himself, as His being is the only ultimate measure of truth. God is the arbiter of and authority on real truth. This is a good time to ask ourselves WHAT we are measuring, HOW we are measuring, WHY we are even measuring, and what or WHO is the standard for our measurements… It is the LORD and His Word.