I always laugh at the skill testing questions that are part of claiming a prize you’ve won in a big contest. You know, something along the lines of (3 x 50) + 20 / 5.

Apparently, this is only a Canadian thing, as our American neighbours don’t have to do it. I guess a scarecrow on a stick can win a prize in the USA and not even know that 1 plus 1 equals 2.

So, I looked into this today, and a quick search on Wikipedia yielded me the following information:

Skill testing questions are a legal requirement attached to many contests in Canada.
The most common form that these questions take is as an arithmetic exercise. A court decision ruled that a mathematical STQ must contain at least three operations to actually be a test of skill.

So what in the world does this have to do with fasting?

I have been thinking about the STQ today, because the math can be a little misleading at times. Just like the math of fasting as well.

At the essence of fasting is subtraction, reduction, and division. We are subtracting daily pleasures from our life for a season. We are reducing the many distractions that surround us to focus more on God. We are dividing up our temporary indulgences to find more fulfillment in God.

In most situations, subtraction leads to less, and division results in a smaller amount.

But when we’re fasting, we find that the math of God’s Kingdom runs on a different set of metrics. Subtraction actually leads to more, and reduction leads to growth. As painful as it can be, it is also equally rewarding! I think John the Baptist had a little insight into this math when he said “I must decrease, that he (Jesus) may increase!”

So I want to encourage you today as you look to stay committed to your fast this final week. There is a reward! Though it feels like you’re being ‘reduced’, you’re setting yourself up for heaven’s increase!

Finally, for those of you who are wondering, the correct answer to the skill testing question above is 154, not 34. Since multiplication & division are processed before addition & subtraction, you’re really looking at (150) + 4. Apparently, even real math isn’t always what is seems… have a great night!

JJ