"Describe how to determine the height of a skyscraper with a barometer."
One student replied: "Tie a long piece of string to the neck of the barometer, then lower the barometer from the roof of the skyscraper to the ground. The length of the string plus the length of the barometer will equal the height of the building."
This highly original answer so incensed the examiner that the student was failed immediately.
He appealed on the grounds that his answer was indisputably correct, and the university appointed an independent arbiter to decide the case. The arbiter judged that the answer was indeed correct, but did not display any noticeable knowledge of physics.
To resolve the problem it was decided to call the student in and allow him six minutes in which to provide a verbal answer which showed at least a minimal familiarity with the basic principles of physics.
For five minutes the student sat in silence, forehead creased in thought. The arbiter reminded him that time was running out, to which the student replied that he had several extremely relevant answers, but couldn't make up his mind which to use.
On being advised to hurry up the student replied as follows:
"First, you could take the barometer up to the roof of the skyscraper, drop it over the edge, and measure the time it takes to reach the ground. The height of the building can then be worked out from the formula H = 0.5g * t-squared. But bad luck on the barometer.
"Or if the sun is shining you could measure the height of the barometer, then set it on end and measure the length of its shadow. Then you measure the length of the skyscraper's shadow, and thereafter it is simple matter of proportional arithmetic to work out the height of the skyscraper.
"But if you wanted to be highly scientific about it, you could tie a short piece of string to the barometer and swing it like a pendulum, first at ground level and then on the roof of the skyscraper. The height is worked out by the difference in the gravitational restoring force T = 2 pi sq root(l/g).
To the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ!"Or if the skyscraper has an outside emergency staircase, it would be easier to walk up it and mark off the height of the skyscraper in barometer lengths, then add them up.
"If you merely wanted to be boring and orthodox about it, of course, you could use the barometer to measure the air pressure on the roof of the skyscraper and on the ground, and convert the difference in millibars into feet to give the height of the building.
"But since we are constantly being exhorted to exercise independence of mind and apply scientific methods, undoubtedly the best way would be to knock on the janitor's door and say to him 'If you would like a nice new barometer, I will give you this one if you tell me the height of this building'."
It Just goes to show that there can be many different ways to measure the height of a building. However, suppose you wanted to measure something a little more abstract — your Christianity, for example. How would you go about doing that?
Some folks simply look around at everyone else and see how their lives compare. "Well, I'm not as immoral as most of the people I know." Others say, "I'm certainly better than the hypocrites that go to church down there."
Paul said, though, "For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise." (2 Corinthians 10:12)
They're not wise because we have to measure ourselves using a higher standard. The standard we must use is nothing less than the life of Jesus Christ. As Paul explained it, we're not done "... till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." (Ephesians 4:11-13)
Using God's Word as our guide, we all see just how far we have yet to grow. I encourage you to take measure of your life today as you strive to grow in Christ.