An old story tells how a young child who ran into the living room and shouted out to his parents “Mummy, Daddy, guess what”. His parents enquired what was all the excitement was about. He proudly proclaimed “I am six feet tall!”. His parents were amazed especially as he was only just under three feet tall so they asked him “How do you know?” He responded by stating “I measured myself” (quite proud). To which his mother – being ever the practical one – asked “What did you use?”. The youngster produced a strip of paper he’d obviously covered in his childish scrawl, it had several marks which proclaimed it was two feet long, divided into his calculation of inches. Actually it was only about ten inches in length! “I made it myself”, he said looking even more proud. Too often we measure ourselves against our own expectations, some feel they do not measure up to what they feel they should be like. Others are full of their own self importance, feeling they have reached their full potential even if they haven’t.
Glancing up at a ruler in a holder just above my eyeline started me thinking about measuring up. One side of the ruler in measured off in Imperial measurements i.e. inches. Being a maths instrument purchased some years ago in the North East it rejoices with the words “aardfashioned units” just above the aforementioned units. On the other side of the ruler comes millimetres and centimetres which are labelled as “Them newfangled wans”. Either way the measurements are accurate and everyone will understand either one or the other or maybe even both.
How do we measure up when we think of who we are or what we do? How do we compare to others? Do we use our parents or grandparents as the ideal? Or maybe there is another for whom we might say “I wish I was more like …”? Often folk have seen their idol in a teacher from schooldays – personally I would loved to be more like our final year teacher in Junior school, Mr Priestley, tall, handsome, clever (oh well one out of three can’t be too bad)
If you want the ultimate one to measure up to you need go no further than Jesus Christ, the Son of God. To treat others as if they have true worth, to love them as much as we love ourselves, to do to others as we’d like them to act towards us. Speak out in love, help and support those who are somehow weaker and cannot protect themselves from those who would take advantage.
John Pugh (Rev) Wymeswold Methodist