UnCommon Metrics #1
How’s it going? How many times have you been asked that question — not counting the times it functions as a greeting — about your life, your business, perhaps even your church. Whenever I gather with a group of pastors, “How’s it going?” usually refers to church. How is your church doing?
The question behind the question is simply, “Are you successful?” Our answer gives shape to our metrics. For those unfamiliar with the term, a metric is nothing more than a standard of measurement used to evaluate your success in a particular area. There are many common metrics. Temperature is a common health metric. Amount of debt is a common financial metric. Miles per gallon is a common metric used to rate cars. In a church two of the most common metrics are nickels and noses. How many are coming and how much are they giving?
But followers of Christ are supposed to be uncommon, right? If uncommon is our call, then wouldn’t it follow that our metrics would be uncommon? For the next few blog posts, I want to look at some possibly uncommon metrics. They could apply to the “church,” but I’m really pondering metrics on the personal, individual side.
My first metric comes from the book of Haggai. Old book found in the Old Testament. Haggai was part of our LifeJournal reading last week. Lynn brought it to my attention. You should read it, it’s only two chapters, but they contain an uncommon metric.
Have you ever felt like you were working your butt off but never really getting anywhere? Here is how Haggai put it, ”
Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways.6 You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”
Wow. I’ve felt that. I’ve asked God on more than one occasion, “God we worked so hard, why did we gain so little?” God continues the conversation with his people,
“You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the Lord Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house.
There is a metric in there, did you see it? My house remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house. Now please don’t hear what I’m not saying — come fulfill my dreams for Calvary and God will bless everything else that you are doing — that’s not the metric, not what I’m saying. But…there is a measurable principle here.
It has to do with priorities and passion and it’s a metric for all those of us who feel like we are burning the candle at both ends with little gain in the middle. There is a labor blessing that comes in those communities where God’s house is prioritized with passion. So the metric would be how much of my resources, my heart am I investing in God’s house (or whatever is on God’s heart)?
I wonder if the metric could be reworded to be a bit reversed. Something like “Do I still have something left to give?” or “How much do I have left to give?”
If the answer is “I have nothing left to give” then we can say we have success.
We could also make it a bit more psychological by saying “How much am I keeping from God?”