My daughter is in first grade this year, so we’ve been learning the basics of math. Addition means you are getting more. Subtraction means you’re taking something away, so are left with less. The rules are concrete and constant. Addition always means more; subtraction always means less.
In God’s math equations, though, the traditional rules don’t always apply.
I’ve been thinking about the traditional Lenten observance of sacrifice and discipline. I talked in my last post how I’ve been taking on a discipline for Lent the past few years, rather than giving up something. Yet, as I’ve thought through it, either way, you’re giving up something AND adding something else.
If I decide to fast during Lent – give up chocolates, stop drinking coffee (gasp!), give up meat on Fridays – I’m taking away something I like. Yet, I’m also taking on a new discipline, maybe even getting some other benefits like losing weight. Subtracting, yet adding.
If I decide to take on a new discipline – observing Sabbath, carving out more time for prayer, digging into a Bible study – I’m adding something new to my schedule or increasing my knowledge, yet also taking something away, like sleep or TV time, in order to make room for the new discipline. Adding, yet subtracting.
This year, I’m feeling called to take on a focused discipline of prayer (adding), yet also called to focus on praying for others instead of my own needs (subtracting). It seems a lot to ask – to both add and subtract in some significant ways. It might be a burden if the math rules applied, effectively netting these activities to zero. However, in God’s equation, I know the result will be multiplied.
Somehow God can make A – B = A * B * X
I know if I’m obedient to this call and faithfully add and subtract, God will amplify (multiple) my faith. I’ll grow in ways I can’t imagine now. I’ll find this process of adding and subtracting to not be a burden, but instead a blessing.
New habits minus sacrifice equals faith multiplied.
So, what math is God working in your life?