Measuring Sticks, p.1Sandra Householder
I would like to tell you a story. Most of it isn’t true. Even still, I hope this story will stick in your mind long after I’m done telling it to you. It’s possible, that some of you may take issue with parts of my story—all I ask, is that when I’m done you don’t beat me with a stick.
After all, as I have said, most of this story isn’t true—it’s make believe, and in my mind it is in a rough format of a playwright. So, thank you for listening and reading this tale. Shall we now enter into the theatre of our minds.
You might call this play, “Measuring Sticks.”
ACT I, SCENE I
Lisa Scales The Productive Capital City Called “Exacta”
Lisa learns Exacta is a proud city with proud people. They despise the ruler of heaven and earth. The people are happy to make up their own rules! It’s really a strange site. Lisa notices that nearly everyone carries a measuring stick, young and old. Some sticks are big, some are tall, some are actually quite small. Strange. Lisa’s father told her she never needed to carry a stick—but there were starter sticks everywhere for sale! For the most vile among the people of Exacta were those who choose not to carry a stick!
ACT I, SCENE 2
Lisa Decides To Buy One Of Those Starter Sticks
Lisa buys a starter stick! In the process, she meets Zoe and discovers how to use the stick. Zoe explains, "Lisa all you have to do really is, you have to work at it, and that will make it grow!" Lisa tries it out. She notices that when she prays for thirty minutes her stick grew, and when she gives to the poor, WOW, it even grew by a foot! Every bible study she attends it even grows some more--this was exciting!
So Lisa began measuring all her work. But, you know it became quite taxing and very tiring because the stick, well it could grow and it could shrink! So she tries harder! In the process of measuring and measuring, and subtracting and measuring and adding and subtracting and calculating and summarizing--she finds she no longer has time for friends and even rest.
Zoe drops by. Comforts Lisa. Zoe can see she is discouraged.
Zoe tells her, "Hey Lisa, you don’t have to work that hard. Let me tell you some of the secrets for growing your stick. All you have to do is tell other people how to measure their stick." Laughing she says, "How to measure their work!"
"Working in front of others makes the stick even thicken and heavier, you know more impressive, something to be proud of." Zoe explains, "You know the stick grows and it, well it shrinks. Yep it shrinks, but it shrinks according to how you perceive yourself, or how others perceive you. The short cut Lisa is really to just focus, focus, on how others perceive you."
ACT I, SCENE 3
The Lifestyle Of The Exactas With Measuring Sticks
Lisa noticed that people at work, well they greet each other with their sticks. They talk about how they got their sticks to grow, but some were not that motivated, and actually greatly depressed. Others looked down on them, telling them that they really should measure up! For the most vile among them is the people who choose not to carry a stick!
The temple of worship was always a sticky situation. Lisa noticed that when the people gathered, these people beat each other with their sticks. Often people got poked in the eye by someone else’s bigger stick! Lisa decided to weigh it out. Decides her father was right, she let go of her stick because what she saw made her sick.
ACT II, SCENE 4
Zoe Becomes Burdened By Her Stick
"It is so heavy! I don’t think I can carry it any more!" Zoe cries.
“Just let it go." Lisa suggests.
Zoe refuses, "No! After all, I’ve worked so hard for it! I think it’s gonna kill me!"
ACT II, SCENE 5
Lisa Remembers The Story Of Her Father Jesus
Looking at Zoe compassionately, Lisa remembers the story of her father Jesus. Lisa shares with Zoe how Jesus carried God’s measuring stick. It was huge! No man could carry it.
"Zoe," Lisa says, "Did you know Jesus came to stick out?"
"He carried God’s stick, even while others beat him with their sticks! He was nailed to a cross. A pile of other people’s very thick sticks. Jesus did indeed stick it out by bearing that cross—but you know, " pausing she mustered, "It killed him. Just like it will kill you."
One could say, His very act was a gift, and that he paid the measure in full! Yet God raised him from the dead, and God gave Jesus his kingdom and renewed all his strength, as a reward for being the only person who could ever carry the weight of God’s measuring stick. Not only that, but God promised because he was being beaten and nailed to other people’s sticks, every kind imaginable--that no one should or needs to carry around a stick anymore," shared Lisa.
With a joyful laugh Lisa said, "Jesus surpassed them all! All men need to do now, is accept the finished work of Jesus. "
ACT II, SCENE 6
Lisa Invites Zoe To Live A Life Without A Measuring Stick
"Zoe how would you like to never measure again?" says Lisa.
Laughing, Zoe eagerly says, "Yes!" And nearly collapses upon dropping her stick.
"Rest my friend," Lisa says, "And be one of the truly wise among the people of Exacta, no longer carry a stick!
Instead, experience the measure of God’s love. Experience the measure of God’s grace. Experience the measure of God’s compassion. Experience the measure of God’s forgiveness. Experience the measure of God’s providence. Experience the measure of God’s hearing to the praying heart. Experience the measure of God’s workmanship as He transforms you into His likeness. Above all, experience the measure of God’s joy and liberty in living without a measuring stick!
Zoe Jesus is god! You and I will never be able to measure God 'for He is the ruler of heaven and earth and his spirit is without measure'!” shares Lisa.
ACT II, SCENE 7
Lisa Returns To Salem
While Lisa is on her way to visit her Aunt Louise, a beautiful Godly woman, Aunt Louise is busy doing household chores. Aunt Louise goes to her mailbox to pick up the mail, and as she is walking back into the house, she notices a nice package. It looks like a gift. Aunt Louise reads that it is from Exacta, she says to herself, "I don’t know anyone from Exacta?"
She opens the junk mail, and inside it reads: Free Sample of one of our specialty starter sticks, “your own Parenting Stick, watch it grow!” Aunt Louise chuckles to herself, and thinks, really if one were to carry a stick, this is the one people should be carrying around.
Then, she places the stick in her back pocket. She places the stick in her back pocket because her heart deceived her.
Lisa bursts into the front door, and tells Aunt Louise all about her trip to Exacta and everything that happened to her and Zoe.
Aunt Louise, a very good listener, smiles and says to Lisa, "What a great story. Well done! I have raised four pastors and two missionary kids." Laughing, she says, "I know not to carry a stick!”
But as soon as she finished speaking, the stick in her back pocket grew a foot above her head!
Lisa looks to audience, and scratches her head…
# # #
BIBLE STUDY DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Q1. What does the stick represent to you? A religious spirit, sin, or the law?
Q2. In what ways do you measure yourself, and others? Circle any that apply: good deeds, appearance, intellect, faith, beauty, status, fashion, exercise, employment, health, parenting, money, being strong, purity, volunteering, house management. Other? Share.
Q3. Do you ever feel that others look down on you, treat you as being vile for not having a stick?
Q4. What lesson may God be giving you?
Q6. Does anyone relate to Zoe?
Q7. Who wants to let go of their stick(s)?
SCRIPTURES TO STUDY
First, let’s be clear, this isn’t about “faith without works is dead." It is a matter of the heart. God measures the heart, behind the deeds. Let’s go over some helpful scriptures.
Q1. We will start in one of the books of wisdom, read the following: Proverbs 20:10. What word describes how God feels about corrupt measurements?
Q2. What did Jesus say about measuring others? Read the following accounts: Mathew 7:2, Mark 4:24, Luke 6:37. Do you consider how little you know before evaluating others? Circle one: rarely, often, sometimes, always. Do you really want others to measure you the way you measure them? Check yes or no.
Relax, you could share the experience you have with the measure of God’s grace and love. If you did, would you want others to measure you the same way? Check yes or no. Read mark 4:25 again!
Q3. Great works of God are beyond measure! Let’s read the following accounts: Mark 7:31-37, Mark 6:45-51, Mark 10:17-31. What do all the accounts have in common? Have you ever been amazed at the work of God? If so, briefly explain or make note of it.
Q4. Let’s read John the Baptist’s testimony of Jesus. Read John 3:28-36. How did John the Baptist describe Jesus, the measure of his spirit?
Q5. What did Jesus say about himself? Read John 3:14-21. Sandwiched between one of the most famous scriptures, John 3:16, is more treasure! How did Jesus liken himself to Moses in this passage? Read Numbers 21:8. What did Jesus say about work (after John 3:16)?
Jesus describes himself as the Vine, the Tree of Life, in other words the Big Stick! He invites us to be a part of Him, as branches, little sticks, i.e. “little Christs." He loving declares to us, “Apart from me, you can do nothing!” Believe it and stick to Him!
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Sandra Householder is a business owner, established public relations practitioner and a busy volunteer in the Palm Springs Desert Resorts area. Sandra has led many bible studies, written her own unique studies, and is actively involved at Church 212 in Bermuda Dunes. As a novice writer, Sandra enjoys following her spiritual prompts to write the things that come to her mind. Among the best things in life, Sandra enjoys being a mother, wife and the caretaker of three furry friends!
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