How do you measure a life? As a boy, I loved the measurement defined by the marks on the doorpost. I grew quickly, I was within an inch of my present height in 8th grade. So, I could see my progress over the months. I caught up to my mother’s height in grade school and passed her by grade six. Those marks were my proof of progress. They were exciting. Report cards were sometimes called progress reports, but they were not capturing my imagination yet.
After height was settled, I did drift to the marking of titles. Freshmen, sophomore, employee, husband, and then father passed my next several years. Then scholastic degree and career seemed to take my measure. But were any of these the real measure of a life?
There are certainly less specific measuring devices. Patton famously said, “You don’t measure a man by the height to which he climbs, but by how high he bounces when he falls.” That sounds metaphorically and actually painful, but I get it.
In the days before real standardization of measures, builders found the need to set standards for a given job site. The lead builder would take a stick and mark it with “his” measurements. His thumb would be the inch, marks on the stick would declare the foot, the yard, and so forth. A copy of that stick would be hung on the wall as the standard for that job.
Do I get to choose my own standard? If I measure myself beside my wife, I’m tall. If I compare myself to most men, I’m average. On the floor of an NBA game, I would be tiny.
As a Christian, I am encouraged to measure up to The Jesus Standard. Talk about feeling insignificant. Try setting your life up next to the Son of God. His life actually reset the measurement of time back to one.
But what if measuring by the Jesus ruler is the only worthwhile standard. Not setting the standard by His perfect and miraculous life accomplishments, but by His motivations. Measuring my life by someone else’s accomplishments is a trap.
Instead, choose to measure by Jesus’ “why?” Not the life of perfection and miraculous actions, but the reason for that life. Why speaks of motivation. Jesus came to earth to rescue mankind from the degrading, destructive life that sin forced upon us. He did miraculous healing things to illustrate it, but always seemed motivated by the kind of love that seeks to save.
A life like this sets a heading for the next action, not the next place. No matter where you are in your historical record, ‘why’ is the guide. You can sail on the breeze of the Spirit because your journey finds purpose in the call, not the location. In the living and loving not the landing. Following Jesus is choosing the crazy idea of living as He lived.
People who know Jesus carry His purpose along. They met Jesus and picked up a bit of His “why” and now they drop it off like eternal crumbs that mark a path a traveler might follow.
That is the measure of a life. A life that leaves a path worth following to the eternal.
I know that is a huge goal, but did you want to give your life to a small one?
Grace – You can always get there from here.