I watched as two little boys stood back to back in the gym measuring to try to prove who was the taller of the two. Not too many feet away, two little girls were comparing the colors and number of styles of rubber band bracelets they had.
Is there a standard for rubber band bracelets? I thought this was supposed to simply be a fun activity. Is there really a good, better, best?
It seems as if we are all caught up in measuring something, someone, or ourselves.
It starts early in life as children. It comes down to biggest, best, or most sorts of things. It might look harmless enough, but it begins to set a grid in place, a filter, that lingers well into adulthood and causes us to continue to measure.
To measure means to compare, to determine a better or best, a worse or worst.
I am not suggesting it is all bad. When I go to the grocery store, I hand select the apples, bananas, grapes, and other produce to assure I get the “best” of what is offered for the “best” price.
I confess that beyond the color or style of a chair or couch, I am asking about the “best” fabric that will stand up under wear or repel stains when I am buying a piece of furniture. I want it to last and I want my money to go as far as possible.
Other comparisons become more problematic. It can be easy to look at who has the newest car or house, who has the nicest office, who gets the most exotic vacations, and on and on.
Those sorts of comparisons provide fertile ground for jealousy, envy, and aggressive zealousness that sets aside solid values for people, practices, and principles. It divides families, friends, neighbors, and nations.
A great deal of energy can go into all of these pursuits, but what impact does it have on our soul?
Sadly, these sorts of comparisons can creep into our spiritual lives and organizations as well.
What impact does it have on eternity?
I think we really know that Jesus measures differently.
Jesus looks at the content of our heart, not the size of our bank account. Jesus looks at the quality of our character, not the titles or positions we hold.
Jesus’s choices are a paradox to us. He chooses those that others skip over or reject. He honors small people and small things. He recognizes those who are humble and don’t speak of their achievements if they have them versus those who give Him lists of what they have done hoping to impress Him.
Each day I have a choice to make. What will I do with the time that has been allotted to me? The challenge for me is to put on His lenses to determine that.
Yesterday I had no grand plans, no appointments to keep, and no errands to run. Even as a retiree those days are not as common as you might think. Was I going to measure my day by some level of what is considered productivity? (That is always a big temptation if you have been raised with a strong work ethic as I was.)
The truth is there were many things I could do and perhaps should do and some of those did get tackled. I still deal with the question in my head at the end of the day that asks, “what did you accomplish today”.
The best thing the Lord showed me through His lenses was that it was simply a day I was available, available for His use as needed.
When my schedule is full for the day, I am not so available for anything else that might come up. I can’t be on standby for anyone or anything very easily. I also cannot “bank” resources to replenish my own heart and soul that I may need later or that He might want to use later.
On this “standby” day I received several emails about significant prayer needs and I had time to not only pray, but also to send a handwritten note to encourage the persons. I also had time to listen to a friend without needing to interrupt her to go running off somewhere. My heart and soul were filled up with an extended quiet time and finishing a book that enriched my reflections.
The measure that matters is what matters to Him. That is what will impact eternity.