Kingdom Math is Different

I’m quite sure that my daughter’s teacher has a goal in mind for the new year. As dad, I share the same goal – to see my daughter firing off times tables without hesitation. She’s been working on them for a couple years, but she still doesn’t know them cold. So we’ll be heading out to the row of round hay bales in the field to drill. There’s nothing quite as motivating for a kinetic learner, as hopping another “giant marshmallow” each time she gets one right!

“. . . God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise. . .”

Arithmetic is pretty straight forward. But Kingdom math seems so fuzzy to us. Jesus watched the widow put her two mites into the temple collection, and he said they were worth a whole lot more than the grand numbers the wealthy were putting in.



In today’s equivalent of Kingdom math:







Another fuzzy kingdom math problem is:

The 2 cents the widow had  minus the 2 cents she gave did not equal zero.

That’s clear from many other passages. Proverbs 28:27 tells us “Those who give to the poor will lack nothing.”

When the farming Israelites honored the Lord with their wealth by giving the firstfruits of all their crops, Prov. 3:9-10 (NIV) promises their “barns will be filled to overflowing” and their “vats will brim over with new wine”.

Then in Luke 6:38 we have the familiar verse, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.”

Somehow, in Kingdom math, by giving we end up with more.

The “Fuzzy” Becomes Clear

Doesn’t the Creator of math know something so basic as subtraction, that when you have a sum and subtract something from it, you end up with less? Of course He does.

A key to understanding the strange logic of Kingdom math  is summed up well in Proverbs 19:17 (NIV) “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.”

There may be less in my bank account after I’ve made my gift, because there is probably little chance that the poor man we gave to will repay us. So it may appear that 2 minus 2 equaled zero, but that’s not the total accounting!

There is a reward from the Lord, sometimes tangible, sometimes intangible, sometimes now, sometimes later, that radically affects the books of Kingdom giving. We think of giving as a subtraction problem, when God views it as a loan with sure repayment with interest! We’re the foolish ones, not God.

I’m awed at how often I view giving as a subtraction problem. To a great degree, that’s why I tend to give out of my wealth and not sacrificially like the widow did with her mite. If it’s just a loss on my books, no wonder I’m not very enthusiastic about it! May God forgive me for not seeing math with Kingdom eyes.

 Children learning in a temporary FH classroom in Haiti.

You are welcome to learn more about Food for the Hungry’s educational ministry here. Explore ways you can financially enable our ministry here.

About Sean Mills

Married with 2 fine daughters 8 yrs. of service with Food for the Hungry My passion - to help stewards honor God with what He's placed in their hands.

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