No Yardstick for Love

Story of the Day for Tuesday April 17, 2012

No Yardstick for Love

                 All day long my mouth will tell of your righteousness and salvation, though I don’t know its measure.

                                                                      Psalm 71:15   

 

Women are puzzling when they learn a baby has been born. They always want to know measurements, and excitedly pass on this information. “Did you hear Emily just had a baby girl? Six pounds, eight-and-a-half ounces, seventeen inches long!”

 

Guys are different. After they learn it’s a boy or a girl, they really don’t know what to say. “Um . . .Does it have a belly button?”

 

Women get excited about a newborn’s measurements, but the odd thing is that the actual measurements don’t matter. It’s not like a bass fishing derby — where the bigger the largemouth the better. Babies don’t win awards for their length or weight. It’s not a competition.

I believe a woman needs to measure a newborn because this is how she express her joy.

 

Love always wants to measure what can’t be measured. Lovers write poems claiming their love is deeper than the deepest ocean. So, what are they trying to say? That their love is more than 10.91 kilometers at the point where Mariana Trench lies due north of Papua, New Guinea? Not exactly.

 

Laying a newborn baby on a scale or imagining the depth of the ocean are imprecise means of calculating love, but how else do you measure the immeasurable?

 

A lot of important things, however, can be measured accurately. That’s why we monitor our blood pressure and periodically lift the car hood to check the dipstick. But we get into trouble when precise measurements are the only standards we accept as important.

 

Before his death from pancreatic cancer, Randy Pausch, in his book The Final Lecture, talks about his consulting work with Disney World. He asked Disney executives a pointed question: If a child walked into one of their stores with a broken salt and pepper shaker, would their policies allow their workers to replace it free of charge?

 

Not likely. You can easily calculate the cost of a salt and pepper shaker. Giving one away is a financial loss. Do that for a billion customers and it could put you out of business.

 

But Randy would tell the executives of the time, as a youngster, he went into a store at Disney World and bought a salt and pepper shaker for ten dollars. Afterward, he dropped his purchase and broke one of the shakers. He was heartbroken.

 

An adult noticed Randy’s tears and urged him to go back to the store and ask to have it replaced. The store worker cheerfully gave him a new one.

 

Did Disney World lose money doing that? By one way of measurement, yes. But Randy’s dad was so impressed when he heard of this act of kindness he started driving his students to Disney World in a twenty-one passenger bus from Maryland. Pausch says his dad spent over $100,000 at Disney World over the years.

Love can’t be calculated and recorded on a spreadsheet — and this is especially true of Jesus’ love for you. We will always struggle to describe it because there is no yardstick for a love beyond measure.

                                             (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)