Brixham – Babbacombe (12.8 miles)
Distance from Minehead – 500.3 miles / Distance to Poole –131 miles
Today I found myself in a state of confusion. All the way along, from Minehead all the way around to Torquay, the signposts have been in miles. So many miles to this place, even more to that place. It has become quite an obsession to count down the miles as a day’s walking progresses. I have come to know pretty well, how far a mile is, and can now guess fairly accurately how far I’ve come when there is an absence of signposts with distances on them (this is not taking into account the occasions when the miles actually increase according to the signposts!). However for the section today around Torquay the miles had miraculously turned into kilometres!
I couldn’t believe my eyes! Why would they now start measuring the distances in a completely different format? I was going to have to start again and learn how far a km was to walk. I was also going to have to do some maths in order to equate this new distance with the old mileage system I was used to. Oh boy, I was too tired for all these sums and equations. Luckily for me (and all the other lovers of the imperial mile) by the time I reached Babbacombe the signs were back to miles. It seemed it was only a minor blip.
But it got me thinking about how we measure things. I don’t mean tangible things like distance or volume, but how we measure things like value and worth. When I look around at the world I would say that we measure value and worth by the level of fame or celebrity, the amount of money in your bank account, or perhaps to be more accurate, the perceived level of money in your bank account. Your success at work – job title, company perks and pay packet, also plays a large part in defining your value in society, along perhaps with social standing. Yet when we hear Jesus speak he turns all our ideas of worth and value on their head. Blessed are the meek, the merciful, the peacemakers, none of which make it onto the Heat Magazine’s top ten, The Times’ rich list or Hello’s rating system. Can you imagine someone doing a spread on the world’s most eligible peacemakers or the best dressed merciful?!
The thing is that when we are using different systems to measure the same thing then confusion will occur. People will be mislead and problems will arise. Measuring milk in pints or litres; measuring temperature in Fahrenheit or Celsius; measuring cake ingredients in ounces or grams; measuring coast path in miles or kilometres! So how do you measure worth? When we try and use both the secular units of worth when trying to live as Christians then things are going to get confused and people will be mislead and problems will occur. Therefore we have the challenge of bucking the trend of society and ignoring the indicators of worth that are being thrown at us, whilst instead looking out for the real values of worth – love, compassion, mercy, righteousness, justice, truth, loyalty, kindness, joy, encouragement and so on. This is no mean feat but at the end of the day I would rather be judged by the king of kings than the editorial panel of trashy magazines!