A New Way of Measuring

A New Way of Measuring

“So the last will be first, and the first will be last” (Matt. 20:16).

According to the official rules of Major League Baseball, the closest that an outfield fence can be to home plate is around 320 feet. The closest that center field can be from home plate is around 400 feet. These are the bare minimums, and since nothing more is said about these dimensions, it is uncommon to find two professional baseball parks with the exact same dimensions.

Arguments have been made throughout the history of baseball that certain players would have hit more home runs if they had played a majority of their games in parks with smaller dimensions. There are also arguments that some good pitchers could have been great pitchers in parks that were bigger. Statisticians, players, and fans watch the games closely, recognizing that a sport that does not always have consistent dimensions and ways of measuring can never be an exact science.

Differing standards and measurements are common outside of baseball, too.

In our lives, we are confronted with a myriad of voices that tell us the definition of “success” or “beauty” or “goodness.” Though these measurements vary depending upon the voice, the overall idea often balances out to something like this: be bigger, richer, faster, smarter, and more attractive, then you’ll be great! Or, in the words of a bumper sticker, “He who finishes with the most toys wins!”

Jesus comes proclaiming the Kingdom of God—God’s new way of doing things. In the process, Jesus completely redefines what it means to be good, to be great, to be successful, and to find meaning. According to Jesus, it is those who are not afraid to be “last” or “least” in the world’s eyes whom the Father blesses and calls “first” and “great.” Those who, instead of being good in their own eyes, allow God by His Spirit to teach them what is “good” will be acknowledged as righteous or holy.

Those who humble themselves become exalted. Those who seek God’s way first—even above their own—receive life to the full (John 10:10). Those who find their identity in Christ truly discover who they are and who they are created to be.

This week, let God’s ways of measuring define us. Let us live our lives in such a way that those around us sense a new set of values. Perhaps they too will find a new way to live—the ONLY way to really live!

Prayer for the week:

O God, seeing as there is in Christ Jesus an infinite fullness of all that we can want or desire: May we all receive from Him, grace upon grace; grace to pardon our sins and subdue our iniquities; to justify our persons and to sanctify our souls; and to complete that holy change, that renewal of our hearts, which will enable us to be transformed into the blessed image in which You created us. O make us all acceptable to be partakers of the inheritance of Your saints in light. Amen. (John Wesley)

Charles W. Christian is managing editor of Holiness Today.

Written for Coffee Break with Holiness Today.