Thursday, May, 25, 2017 | 9:17 PM | by ledington
Focus Scripture: 2 Corinthians 10: 12 - 18
It is best to think of our topic this week as an extension of last week’s discussion. Measuring. It seems like such a simple thing. I remember when I was in elementary school, there was a debate going on regarding whether we (the United States of America) should continue to use what we think of as standard measure or switch to metric measurements. Of course, now we have many products listed in both measurement systems. How confusing (and likely disastrous … at least for me) if we had a cake recipe written so that half of it was in metric measurements and half in our standard measurement. Multiple authorities lead to multiple standards of measurement.
Someone in authority must set the standard. I know from personal experience what happens if I don’t follow someone else’s standards and don’t measure things properly. [or say, don’t get the ingredients right ... baking soda v. baking powder. Yeah – that didn’t work out so well.]
In this week’s lesson, Paul is talking about measuring spiritual endeavors and results (which is really dangerous). Once again – please be patient with me, ‘cause this may get personal. Do you remember a few years ago, we (as a church congregation) had a representative of the Gulf Coast District and the Florida Conference here to take us through the MAPS program? It is interesting to look back on that time and realize how much measuring was being done. Some of it helped, I truly believe that. Some of the measuring done by us; however, consequently impeded our personal spiritual progress.
What do I mean? Well, anytime that we sit and compare ourselves to any other congregation; honestly, we have taken our eyes off of Christ. During our conversation last week, the Wesley Quadrilateral was mentioned. If we are to do any measuring, it is here: Scripture, Tradition, Reason, and Experience. The first thing we must realize, however; is that we do not get to measure and commend ourselves. It is only the One in authority.
Now, a few years ago, the United Methodist Church established a set of metrics (this, by the way, is one of my least favorite words, but more on that later …) called Five Practices of Fruitful Living: Intentional Discipleship, Passionate Worship, Radical Hospitality, Salty Service and Extravagant Generosity. I have a problem attempting to quantify our faith … on our terms. In many ways, it offers opportunities for the Pharisee in us to flourish. We see numbers. We see what we do. It can become a fuel for pride. All of this comes with a cost – I believe it costs us a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. I am probably a little touchy on this topic due to some work-related issues involving metrics in my past (if we have time, we will discuss that in class – not in this forum.)
I particularly like the quotes by both Wiersbe and Wesley for this week. I know that today, I stand before my Lord and Savior (God is omnipresent and therefore, it is always today for I Am). Either I obey or I do not. He is the One who measures my heart, my actions, all that He has made me. His standard is the lone standard; mine does not matter. That is why it is my greatest hope that as we have been exposed to this Covenant group, that the work of the Holy Spirit would be evident. I believe that it has – to us. Now I pray that the work of the Holy Spirit in this group would be evident to our congregation, our neighbors and our families.
In the kitchen, the measurements that are used result in chemistry. Simple separate ingredients become transformed, by following the directions, into a single item. For instance, eggs, flour, sugar, baking powder (NOT baking soda), butter, vanilla and milk can result in a cake. I am not trying to say that God is going to turn us into a cake. No – but He will use His measurements to transform us into the Body of Christ.