News & Events
It All Adds Up
- September 21, 2015
- Posted by: LSEM
- Category: Devotions
I dislike math.
Numbers, numbers and more numbers. Now don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that math isn’t important – I just don’t like it. And with good reason! (I think) My experiences with math have often led to problems. In fact, I have stumbled upon an anonymous quote that really sums up my feelings:
“My life is all math. I am trying to add to my income, subtract from my weight, divide my time and avoid multiplying my problems.”
Ok, so this is not the greatest, most revealing confession I have ever made. I have never been a fan of the subject. History provided great stories about amazing people and interesting events. Language Arts had rules, but there was also a tremendous opportunity for creativity and imagination.
Then there’s math. Cold, calculating math. You start off adding and subtracting but then they throw in multiplication and division. Once you understand that, they break the numbers in smaller pieces of numbers with decimals or stretch them into giant numbers through exponents. And once they have you filled with all of these numbers, somebody tosses in a bunch of letters into the mix just to make things interesting. Proof that even math knows it needs something to break up the monotony.
At the risk of taking this too far, allow me to say that my dislike of math is not shared by everyone. Mathematicians will tell you how they enjoy the challenge of solving problems and writing equations. They marvel at the consistency of the patterns. The very nature of math is based on accuracy. Two plus two must always be four, unlike I before E except after C. So math offers a level of precision that the rest of the world simply doesn’t have.
Math doesn’t provide the student with alternate answers. You may discover different ways to calculate the problem but the answer does not vary. There is one right answer to the problem and everything else will be considered wrong. That may sound harsh, but it’s absolutely necessary. If you use a four foot post to hold up a six foot roof, you will have a problem. Pay your mortgage company only half of what you owe them and over time you won’t have a house (on the bright side, you won’t need to worry about that sagging roof anymore). Bottom line: when it comes to solutions in math there is only one.
This idea is not limited to math. Consider Jesus’ words in John 14:6. “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Not a lot of wiggle room there. Little opportunity for creativity. By His life, death and resurrection, Jesus did for all of us what could be done by none of us and in so doing, gave us eternal life. There is precisely one answer when it comes to our sin problem. And thankfully, as Ephesians 2:8-9 reminds us, the problem is a simple one. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”
We may live in a complex world, filled with multiple options and confusing decisions. But thanks be to God for providing us with the ultimate solution in a way that adds up.
Devotion by Richard Schumacher
LSEM Director of Programs & Services