One of these days, Matthew and I plan to build our last house. You know, the one out of which they will carry us feet first? That house. There are a lot of hopes and dreams built into the idea of that house. We want a place for family and friends to gather. A place where grandchildren will love to come and stay, and where our kids and friends want to come and hang out with us. The conversations we have about this house are fun. It’s fun to dream together.
Whenever I visit a house that has characteristics I admire, I take notes, I photograph, and I measure. Recently, I had the opportunity to stay in a lovely home. I sat in the large, open family room and decided, “I like the size of this room. I think this is about right.” So I got up and positioned my back against one wall and began walking heel to toe to the other side of the room, counting my steps as I went.
A friend saw me doing this and asked what I was up to. I told her, “I’m measuring.” When I got to the other side of the room I announced, “Thirty-five feet”.
My friend said, “This room is not thirty-five feet long.”
I said, “Yes it is. I just measured it. You sat there and watched me.” I pointed to my feet, wiggled my toes, and said, “I took thirty-five steps across this room, toe to heel. Thirty-five feet.” My friend was getting frustrated and I was amused.
“Stacey, if you go to design a house based on your measurement, you’ll end up with a room way bigger than you expected. Your foot is not twelve inches long!”
“So you are telling me that twelve inches is the only standard measurement of a foot? Are you telling me that I cannot simply change the standard because my feet are not twelve inches?”
“I’m telling you if you decide to ignore the standard, you’re going to end up with a messed up house one day.”
“I hate you.” She said.
My friend is right. There are lots of folks in society today that want to change the standard to fit their ideal, but the fact is, the standard does not change, even if we find we don’t fit it. I don’t know when twelve inches became a foot, but it’s been a standard that has been tried and true. (For my more thorough readers, a Google search revealed that it was established during the reign of Henry I, sometime around 1100) My foot is about eight inches. It’s a foot, but it’s not a foot. It’s not the standard. I like my foot. My feet have been good to me, but my feet are not a standard of measure for everyone.
I could start stomping my feet and insisting that everyone change the standard to equal my fabulous foot, but that would be unwise. Someone with more wisdom than me decided once upon a time that twelve inches would be the standard measurement of a foot, and it has made life orderly and safe. I like new things and I love innovation. I have a chicken cam, for crying out loud.
Innovation is wonderful as long as it does not involve changing the standards by which we are to live out our lives. Whether or not I choose to acknowledge twelve inches is a foot does not change the standard. We can choose to live outside biblical standards all day long, but it doesn’t make them not the standards we are to uphold. We cannot change those. We didn’t institute them. Someone with infinitely more wisdom than us came up with those.
God set forth a standard for healthy, successful societies. He set forth a standard for healthy, successful individual living, too. We can choose to deny that He set the standard, but it doesn’t change the fact that He did. We can decide to live outside those standards, but eventually we are going to end up with a messed up house.