People are crazy. I stood in a crowd sandwiched together so closely conversations didn’t have boundaries which meant I could eavesdrop without guilt. The man and woman behind me were discussing her dilemma about buying a cat. She had found a breeder but you had to put down $500 to reserve a kitten—and even then you weren’t sure if you were going to get a good one! Her sympathetic companion offered up a less than stellar solution, yet one he was proud of: Why didn’t she just call around and then tell them for $1,200 she could get the exact same cat somewhere else? In my opinion, making a down payment on a cat would be crazy…and $1,200 well, that’s just plumb crazy!
I tried not to judge them but was unsuccessful. Admittedly, I have not always made the most intelligent choices either. There was the time in the mid-70’s sister Cindy and I were going to get rich off homemade pet rocks…and once cousin Brenda and I rode the flooded Holly River rapids in tractor tire inner tubes and tube tops… and last year I unknowingly bought my own sweater that I had worn into the Goodwill store. Those three instances just begin to scratch the surface, but recognizing one’s shortcomings is the first step in overcoming them. I need an alarm to go off when the peculiar-meter waivers too close to the “plumb crazy” mark.
It’s no surprise we use that phrase often in our family. It’s crazy a few levels past silly. The word “plumb” means spot-on, complete or perfect as in “plumb line”, which is a device stone masons and carpenters use. It’s a lead weight hanging from a string to give them exact measurements when building a wall. I asked a skilled builder why use an ancient tool such as a plumb line instead of a modern bubble level and he said because gravity working with a plumb line would always be perfect and didn’t need calibration adjustments.
Can you imagine a guide that never needs adjustments and is always perfect? I need to get one of those! And then I realized that I already have one—the Bible. Humor me a minute. If the Bible is our Divine plumb line, we can hold it up to ourselves and see if we are in line with how God wants us to live. When Cindy and I were kids carrying on too much and it was time to get serious, Mom would tell us to “straighten up!” Sometimes she gave voice to the plumb line.
We’ve all seen old neglected barns of past generations that begin to lean. Sometimes it might be easier to knock it over and rebuild, but often they can be restored to their original purpose. Just like those unsafe leaning walls, we can be in danger of hurting those around us when we ignore the Plumb Line, but can be restored with some effort.
Most people are familiar with the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy. It leans almost 14 feet off plumb. Buildings often lean due to problems with foundations that do not go deep enough or are poorly constructed to cut costs, coupled with unstable shifting ground. I believe the Bible gives us perfect instruction on building a strong foundation to withstand when the world shakes. “So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed. I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line…” (Isaiah 28: 16-17)
We as a society are all in a twist trying to maintain balance, but the real question is: How do we measure up vertically with the Plumb Line? Do we have a good foundation with a “precious cornerstone”? If I’m getting this straight, to reject the Cornerstone would be…plumb crazy!
Janet Cowger- Fliegel