I grew up under Communist Albania, where children believed they were the happiest in the world, but had never seen the world.
To be honest, I was happy. Even though we did not have many toys or clothes, we had a lot of friends as we played most of the times outdoors, in the nature.
I developed a love for arts, probably because we were forbidden to watch Hollywood, thus we were served with opera, ballet, classical music and classic films like “Le miserable” or ” Mozart”
I liked to read. I liked to paint. We did not have the fancy coloring that our kids have now. I would draw with white chokes, outside or with a stick in a ground. My friends told me that I was talented. I think I did well. At least I really enjoyed it.
My cousin, who lived right on the next building, loved to draw too. She started to go to the city painting club. One day I decided to join her with the purpose to join the club. The Pioneer’s House, this is how we called them in Communism, was cold and grey, kind of ugly. The painting class was in a big, not so nice room. There were about 20 students there and me. The teacher, a man at his 40’s, who looked like life had beaten him, with fuzzy curly hair, put in front of us two objects, told the students that they had 2 hours to work on them, and then left to enjoy his cigarette.
Nice start. The object was a white clay Hellenic ornament. As soon as the teacher left, I started my work. And after 20 minutes I was done. I looked around the classroom and everybody else but me, was still working. To my surprise they were not even close to finishing. I felt so proud of myself! To my greater surprise they had made a big rectangle and divided it in parts. I saw them stretching their arms, with their pencil up, eye blinking, measuring something and then drawing on their rectangle.
My cousin had a look on me and gave me that cheating smile. I gathered myself, stretched my arm, pencil up and tight in my hand, eye blinking, and then.. What do I do with that?
Later on, I realized that they were measuring the object in order to draw a faithful model of it. I was drawing a shadow model, something that looked very similar, at least to my opinion the shape looked the same, but the teacher and all of them would say that was not faithful to the model, it was not the exact thing. My other new friends had learned special techniques to achieve with excellence what was asked of them.
That day I learned that painting was science, and painting was hard work. It needed commitment and discipline. You could not ignore certain techniques if you wanted to succeed. And measurements were highly important. That day I decided to quit without starting! I considered myself as a free spirit artist, who could not be bound in rules less more in measuring techniques like arm stretched, pencil up and tight in the fist and eyes blinked! You know now that I never became a professional painter.
But that was my first experience or introduction with measurements.
I could go on with examples of how Communism helped me to hate measurements and what a struggle was for me as a young staff to fill stats. God is not bound in statistics. We could not measure His work. His Spirit worked according to His will, like the wind that Jesus mentioned to Nicodemus. I never forget that passage, as I came to Christ through the first 3 chapters of John. Another reasons I did not like statistics was that deep inside I was hurt. Because of my misunderstanding about the importance of measurements I felt like my leaders did not care about me, but numbers, results. Thus I would fill stats for them, not for myself. And I never liked that even though it made me feel good when I had high numbers to report.
One thing that I love about our walk with God is how he transforms us. He transforms our thinking and equip us with skills, so that we can faithfully accomplish the task that He has called us to do. In this process, to my surprise, I have come to love and appreciate measurements. Yes, it is true 🙂
They tell me the condition of my sheep. The bible tells us to know the condition of our sheep.
“Know well the condition of your flocks, and pay attention to your herds” Proverbs 27:23
They help me analyze the situation better and help me get a clear picture and understanding of where my time and efforts are spent and if they are giving results.
If I pay close attention to numbers, they tell me which tool is more effective in reaching others.
As a career consultant, when I read a client’s report, numbers are very important to me. I just cannot ignore numbers and metrics. And they make a difference in how to read the report and the kind of advice you give to your client. You can light his path or totally build up a big confusion and mislead him in another direction.
And I believe measurements are biblical. God gave clear measurements to Moses to build the temple, and He equipped him and the workers He called, through His Holy Spirit with the knowledge and skills they needed to accomplish what was required of them. Moses built the temple exactly as it was asked him. Why? Because he built by respecting those measurements. He didn’t just build a tent, a table, an ark according etc. He measured all the time and consulted the model that God gave him and accomplished everything with the exact given measures. He indeed succeeded and the Bible records that.
“Moses inspected the work and saw that they had done it just as the Lord had commanded. So Moses blessed them” Eksodus 39:43
We too, like Moses, are called to God’s work in building His body, which is not a physical building but a spiritual one. We believe that our specific task that He has entrusted us is building churches that will multiply. Do we have to measure and can we measure what we are building? How do we measure it? If so, what do we need to measure in order to make sure that we are building the right thing and are not wasting our time, money and energy?
What do we need to do today in order to make sure that we are on the right track and are not wasting time, energy, human and financial resources in the wrong direction?