We live in a world of metrics that is obsessed with measuring progress in almost every area of life. The business world has created an entire glossary of terms for measuring CPM (Corporate Performance Management). Every business needs to know its ROI (Return on Investment), Churn Rate (the measure of customer or employee attrition over a specified time) EBITDA. (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization), to name a few.
Students and educators are all too familiar with TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills). Past curriculum has focused on TAKS that determined the future for both students and schools. The Texas Education Agency is now phasing in End of Course (EOC) assessments and STAAR (Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness) to measure achievement.
Sports is enamored with metrics. Athletes compete not only against each other, but against all the records of the past. When Rory Mcllroy set a new 72 hole record for the U.S. Open he was competing against Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and all those who played before him. PGA players are rated by average score, percentage of fairways hit, greens in regulation, average putts per round. Baseball is synonymous with statistics: batting average, runs batted in, on base percentages, earned run averages.
We have created metrics for area of life. If measurements are so important, it might be good to know God’s metrics. How does God measure success or failure?
Most of us assume that God’s measurements are limited to religion: church attendance, offerings, budgets, building, religious ceremonies and service. Surprisingly, according to the Bible these things are not God’s primary measurement.
The prophets taught that God could care less about religious ceremonies. In Amos, God says, “I hate, I reject your festivals, nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer up to Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them; and I will not even look at the peace offerings of your fatlings. Take away from Me the noise of your songs; I will not even listen to the sound of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters And righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”
In Isaiah, God says, “Incense is an abomination to Me. … I hate your new moon festivals and your appointed feasts, They have become a burden to Me; I am weary of bearing them. So when you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you; Yes, even though you multiply prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are covered with blood. Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.”
When Jesus confronted the religious leaders of his day, he reproved them for focusing on religious disciplines while omitting the “weightier matters of the law.” He challenged his followers saying, “I was hungry and you fed me, in prison and you visited me, thirsty and you gave me to drink … in that you have done it to the least of these, you have done it to me.”
So, how well are we measuring up by God’s standard of measurement?