A Good Measure

A Good Measure

One of the greatest gifts that my Dad gave me was the desire to use my hands…  It was by watching him work, and his invitation to join him in building things that I learned to love building and creating.  Along with this desire, another great gift he gave me was the chance to learn from my mistakes.  More than once I uttered that famous phrase, “Darn, I cut it twice and it’s still too short!”  

Yes, sometimes I am a slow learner.

There is an essential rule in carpentry that takes a while to truly understand:  Be sure of your ruler/measurements.  Here is how I finally came to understand this…  I was building a fence… Numerous boards that all had to be cut to the same size.  It made sense to me that you simply took the previous board, used it to scribe my cutting line, and so on down the line.  Logically it made sense.  (Perhaps some of you might know where this is going?)

I measured my first board…  78 inches.  And I made my cut.  Off to a great start.

But there were a couple of rookie mistakes that I made…  My measurement was not exact… more like 77 15/16 (which really does not seem like much).  Plus, I did not use a square to draw my line, so it was a little angled.  Not by much, but just a tiny bit.  But then, I also cut on the left side of the line, thereby shortening my board by 1/8 inch (the width of the saw blade.)

After cutting, looking at the board, nothing seemed out of place, and so I laid it on the next board and traced my cut line and repeated the process.  Again, I cut on the left side… and the board became 1/8 inch shorter.  And so on, and so on…

In 8 boards, I had lost an inch.  But it was not clearly observable at first.  But once I started attaching the boards…  All was not well.

I learned that day several lessons:  Measure twice; cut once.  Use a square to make sure your cut is straight.  And most importantly… always use an original measurement!  To fail to do this leads to magnifying human error.

The same thing is true spiritually…

We need an original measurement (guideline?) that is trustworthy and true and to which we continually return!  That guideline is Scripture.  We cannot keep going back to our own interpretations of things and trusting those… because we end up like my fence:  on a steady trend downhill.  We must keep returning to the source of our wisdom and teaching.  This is why we keep going back and ready the Bible over and over again…  Don’t simply trust your memory.  Don’t simply trust what others have said.  Go back and read it again.  Check it against your life, your world, your hopes and fears.  And if there is a gap (a difference)… it’s not Scripture that has changed.

Some passages that have great meaning for us:

Psalm 25:4-5
Make me know Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation;
For You I wait all the day.

And Psalm 143:10
Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God;
Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.

God wants for us to have the best life; God desire is for us to live lives of wisdom.  And if we need it?  

James 1:5,But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

We should remember that Jesus promised to not leave us alone, but to send us the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, the one who would come alongside us (the Paraclete):

John 16:13
But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.

And we should recognize that the Holy Spirit does not speak His own words… but what He receives from God, the Father.  And Paul tells us that God’s Words, Scripture… ALL Scripture… is useful for teaching, guiding, correcting, equipping…

2 Tim 3:14- 4:5
But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus.  All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.  God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.
I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when he comes to set up his Kingdom:  Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.
For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear.  They will reject the truth and chase after myths.
But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.


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