Roger Alford

A woman went into labor at the lake and the baby was coming fast. Her husband began yelling frantically for a doctor. There just happened to be one fishing from a boat nearby. He motored to shore and delivered the baby boy.

“Oh, wouldn’t it be nice if we could weigh and measure him,” the new mom said.

“I have just what we need in my tackle box,” the doctor said, retrieving his fish scale and measuring tape. “Let’s see here; looks like he weighs 29 pounds and is 37 inches long.”

I sure laughed when Jack Sellards, a former Marine and Korean War veteran, told me that joke here while back. Jack, now 88 years old and retired, ran a television shop for many years in the town of Barbourville in southeastern Kentucky where he was known for his honesty and integrity.

Jack, who serves with the Christian organization Gideons International, knows that anglers have been known to exaggerate a bit about the fish they catch. Maybe that’s because their scales are off a bit?

The Bible gives us a stark warning about making sure our scales are accurate in a verse aimed at those who sell merchandise by weight, saying “a false balance is an abomination to the Lord: but a just weight is his delight” (Proverbs 11:1).

I preached a sermon not long ago about King Belshazzar, a prideful, self-indulgent fellow who considered himself a big, big man. He felt large and in charge. And then he was weighed on God’s scales and found out the truth about himself. You may remember from Daniel 5 that God wrote his conclusion on the wall. “Thou art weighed in the balances and art found wanting.”

In other words, Belshazzar didn’t measure up.

The truth is, none of us, in and of ourselves, can ever measure up on God’s scales. In fact, the Bible tells us “our righteousness is as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). That’s why it’s vital that we have Jesus in our hearts. When we step onto God’s scales with Jesus, we will always measure up.

Even here in the Bible belt, I am always running into people who are trying to balance their good deeds against the bad they’ve done in their lives to determine their standing with God.  Sometimes they even measure themselves against the fellow down the road, saying “I’m as good as he is.” Well, that’s simply not the way it works.

The Bible tells us, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

That’s what’s so amazing about grace. We’re not worthy of that grace and don’t deserve it. But, when we belong to Jesus, God measures us the way the fishing doctor measured that baby. With Jesus in our hearts, we’ll always measure up.

Roger Alford is pastor of South Fork Baptist Church. Reach him at 502-514-6857 or

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