Monday, June 25, 2007

A Man's Measure?

Once I read in a newspaper, of an incident about a lady and a government official.

Exactly who, I can’t recall, but it goes this way:


“I always see you on TV when I’m watching the news.”

“I thought you were much taller than in person.”


To which the official said,


“Lady, in my place, we don’t measure a man from the neck down, but from the neck up.”


Although is many sense that is true, like in the case of Carlos Romulo who was belittled,

“ You are small like your country,” by some braggart from the West, to which he retorted back

with the same sense, there is another measure to which I would subject a person, male or female.


The measure of the heart.


Intelligence can drive you nuts.


Wealth can drive you wicked and greedy.


Influence can make you oppressive and tyrannical.


Poverty can cause you to steal.


Hatred can turn you into an inconsiderate legalist.


Position gives you an opportunity to step on others.


The list is endless.


Even the apostle Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, made it very clear, what makes sense.


None of the above. What makes sense is love. Self-sacrificing love.

You do something bad, naturally that is devoid of love.

You do something good, and it is with some hidden motive, it amounts to nothing.

You do something good, and it is to be noticed, you’ve had your reward.


Paul would have summed it all up, when he said, “…if I give my body to be burned…

and have not love, it is nothing.”


It is very easy to fall into the trap of anything that seems fulfilling and satisfying,

meeting all the human needs of pride, position, glory and fame. Only to realize sooner or later,

that you are alone at your throne, with none to share with your achievements – if that is what

you can call them. So beware.


Which is why Christ hit the nail right at the head when he told the rich young ruler:

“Sell all you have, and give to the poor, take up your cross, and come, follow Me.”


Actually, we may say that we have a grip on riches, but it is riches that has gripped us.

Usually, we hold on to something for survival, only to realize, in the end,

that we are the one gripped and choked.


It can’t be over-emphasized. We can’t bring with us our riches when we die.

Our achievements will be easily forgotten. Monuments we erect can be easily replaced.

Structures we build can be ravaged by fire.


But not when it is written on men’s hearts. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow may have

put it together in a way so simple, yet profound:



The Arrow and the Song


I shot an arrow into the air,

It fell to earth, I knew not where;

For so swiftly it flew, the sight,

Could not follow it in its flight.


I breathed a song into the air,

It fell to earth, I knew not where;

For who has sight so keen and strong,

That it can follow the flight of song?


Long, long afterwards, in an oak,

I found the arrow, still unbroke;

And the song, from beginning to end,

I found again in the heart of a friend.



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