What does that have to do with Algebra?

When I was a senior in college, I took a dual enrollment college algebra class. I had taken classes with the teacher before, and he was one of my favorites. It helped that I loved math to begin with and that he was a big kid himself. A few weeks into the semester he stopped mid-lesson and said “you guys already know all this stuff. We can spend the rest of the semester just going through the motions and getting done with the book, or I can teach you guys how to do the Rubix cube.” Of course, we all jumped at the chance to miss some book work (don’t worry we still had plenty of it) but over the next few months he incrementally taught us how to solve the Rubix cube, and it ended up being our final. 

If you were to walk into my office, you might notice that I have a handful of different Rubix cubes on one of my shelves. I bought most of them after this class, and even ten years later I can only solve the original 3x3 cube. I’ve been staring at the 4x4 for ten years telling myself one day I’ll figure out how to solve it. I guess it’s not a big surprise that I still can’t. You see, I only really had to memorize three moves to solve the 3x3 cube. I have a stack of papers of moves I have to remember to solve the 4x4. I’m sure it can be simplified, and it’s probably not nearly as complicated as it seems at the moment, but it seems pretty daunting. 

I think the same thing happens in our Christian life. We get comfortable with how one thing works, or with how we’ve done things. Then something a little more complicated or different comes along, and we either panic at the new complexities or say that’d be a great thing for further down the road. I’d like to say learning is always fun, but many times learning is difficult, heartbreaking, and just down right miserable. I think the bigger question revolved around our motives for learning or, as Lori Ferguson (our children's minister) would put it, making sure our “whys” align with our “whats.”

Learning about the Bible, God, and what it means to be a Christian is supposed to be an ongoing journey where we constantly learn new things. But too often we get comfortable and stop learning. So I want to encourage you to do something new. Maybe that means getting involved with a growth group, volunteering at our thrift store, or branching out and inviting someone to church. Find those areas of growth and new complexities that scare you and work it out. And I’ll make a deal with you. After ten years of saying I’ll figure it out eventually, I’ll learn how to solve the 4x4 Rubix cube. You have my permission to come to my office anytime and ask me to do it, but if you do, expect me to ask you what area you’ve been working on.


Nathan Persell serves as our Youth Director. When he's not leading devotions and playing basketball with teenagers, he enjoys disc golf and bike riding. Learn more about Nathan here.