The Measure of a Man


By David Akers

What is the value of a man? Some men make 10 dollars per hour, while other men make exponentially
more. Some have estimated that Bill Gates makes approximately $150,000 per hour. I’ve heard it said that it wouldn’t be worth his time or effort to reach down to pick up a hundred dollar bill from the floor. That seems somewhat extreme, but in the world we live today some define us by how much we make, our titles, gifting and abilities.

But God measures man in a much different way. What defines a man isn’t his physical strength or ability, neither is it his possessions. Jesus asked his disciples if they could put a price tag on their soul. “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” In a materialistic society, we have to be constantly reminded of what truly matters. It isn’t the value of a man’s home or vehicle that defines who he is. Man’s value is his eternal soul.

In the twelfth chapter of John, the woman broke her alabaster box, poured it out upon Jesus’ head, and caused the disciples great consternation. They asked, “To what purpose is this waste?” We find here a key component of what value means in this question. This extravagant act of worship was lost on the disciples because they didn’t understand the purpose. Satan seeks to cheapen our worth in Christ, causing us to sell out for so little. Judas was the ringleader of this questioning, and it wasn’t long after that he bargained for 30 pieces of silver. It is incomprehensible that the value put on the Son of God was the same as a wounded slave in the Old Testament (Exodus 21:32).

I have several old tools that were handed down to me from my father after his passing. I have yet to figure out the primary purpose and use of some of these tools. I have one plier-like tool that I think is used by those who work with horses. The primary purpose of this tool is lost on me, but it sure has come in handy around the house for pulling out old nails It occasionally is even used as a hammer. It has value to me, but only the one who knows why it was originally made can truly appreciate its real value.

We value one another to some degree. I am not very tall, but occasionally my wife uses my height for reaching things, or my incredible strength (ahem) for moving something. I do come in handy sometimes. However, only God knows my ultimate worth, because He created me. If I can grasp that understanding, I will never sell short who I am in this world.

David said, ‘What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?” (Psalm 8:4). We have to understand that we are not a commodity to God, rather, we are His purchased possession.

Several years ago a few items were auctioned off at what would be considered outrageous prices. A set of golf clubs sold for over one million dollars. An old bomber jacket sold for $629,000. A leather attache case sold for $32,500. These items on their own would be worth very little, but what made them so valuable? They all belonged to former president John F. Kennedy. It wasn’t what they were, but whose they were. And it isn’t who I am, but Whose I am. My value is calculated by ownership. Paul said, ‘We have this treasure in earthen vessels” (2 Corinthians 4:7).

In this month where we celebrate the fathers in our lives, I want them to understand their worth isn’t their hourly wage or the car they drive. The value of a man is measured in God’s for him. No one can take the place of the father who comes home faithfully every night to his family. No dollar value can determine the worth of the one we call “Dad.”

I read a story years ago about a father and his son who spent a whole day fishing together. They fished all day and returned home without a catch. Both recorded the events of the day in their journals. The father wrote, ‘Went fishing with my son today. Didn’t catch anything. A whole day wasted.” The son wrote, ‘Went fishing with my dad today. Didn’t catch anything. Best day of my life.” We should never underestimate the value of being there for our loved ones.

John tells us that the angel measured the New Jerusalem by the measurement of a man “And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel” (Revelation 21:17). I find it intriguing that Heaven is measured in the dimensions of humanity. This provides a powerful perspective of how God measures heavenly things.

I once read a story of a fire in a multi-story apartment complex. The fire truck’s ladder couldn’t reach all the way to the top floor’s window to save the people inside, so a brave fireman took charge and extended his body from the ladder to the window, spanning the gap. It was his body that became the measure of their salvation. Who can measure such things? God’s measure of value is what He has purposed for our lives. At the end of life, how will we measure up? What is the measure of a man? If you understand your purpose, you understand your value.
The above article, “The Measure of a Man,” is written by David Akers. The article was excerpted from Apostolic Witness Magazine – June 2014.

The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.