November 3, 2004

God and Math

Some might read that title and start imagining complex systems of equations and such, but that is not what I am going to talk about.

There is a little speech that I have prepared, and I give it to my students every chance I get. I know that some of them get sick of it, but I give it anyway. It is a lesson that I truly believe has great value if they can grasp ahold of what I am saying. And I know that it is my cue to begin my speech when I hear something like this, "... oh man, when are we ever gonna use this?!?"

And my response to this age-old question is, "You might never use this again."

I know, I know. Newton, Gauss, Euclid, Pythagoras, and several other historic mathematicians just rolled over in their graves.

But I don't stop there. What I am teaching goes beyond the math. The reality is that I am doing my best to help them be spiritual people.

Let me explain...

It is easy to say with your mouth that you are a Christian. Anyone can do that. Words are easy. I am sure that there are plenty of people at you friendly neighborhood insane asylum, that walk around everyday saying, "... I am a duck!" And they might even believe it. Really. Without a shred of doubt in their mind they believe and say that they are a type of water fowl. But saying it doesn't make it true, no matter how sincere you are.

James says, "What good does it do to say that you have faith, but have no works... can that faith save you?"

John says, "The man who says, 'I know him,' but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him."

Matthew tells us that Jesus says, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my father who is in heaven."

They say with their mouth, especially in a Christian School, that they are "saved." They profess a Christianity, but is it real? You see, words are a dime a dozen. Anybody can walk around saying that they are a Christian, but there is always a reality test. And for many young people it comes in the form of school. (...or parents, or siblings, or teachers, etc.)

We know that the Bible says, "... whatever you do, do it heartily, as unto the Lord, and not unto men." And we know that the "whatever you do," would adequately cover anything that comes along in your life. Which, for a student, could be Geometry or Algebra with a crazy math teacher named Mr. Harmless.

So there is the test. The true test of Christianity comes, not when you are doing those things that you enjoy or are easy, but when you wholeheartedly do those things that are hard to do.

Geometry is just practice for real life. You see, throughout the course of your life, God will bring things along that you don't like to do, don't want to do, and quite frankly don't understand why you have to do them, but those things are the best things for you.

So, when are you gonna use this? Every day.

You tackle your geometry hard. Do it because it pleases your creator. Do it to the best of your ability because you are a Christian, a child of the King.

This is what I teach.