Show Your Work
Setting: A middle school math classroom
Student: “I got the correct answer. Why didn’t I get all the points for this problem?”
Me: “I already knew the answer. I want you to show me how you got there. I want to know your process, what you’re thinking.”
Student: “That’s not fair!”
Rinse and repeat that conversation about a million times. In math, correct answers are kind of a big deal, but you need to show your work. “The answer you got” isn’t that important if you can’t clearly explain “how you got what you got.”
Correct answers. Data. Facts. Those things matter, perhaps even more in a time of “alternative facts (?)” and fake (really fake, as in made-up and not-true) news. but I’m challenged by this insightful observation from Bob Goff.
“Sometimes you can be correct, and still not be right.”
Bob should have been a math teacher! Maybe correct answers and logical arguments based on data and facts, aren’t enough. Maybe Jesus wants me to show my work, to make sure my answers align with my principles.
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.(1 Corinthians 13:1-2)
Speaking like angels, solving mysteries, knowing stuff…all good things. But Jesus says I need to show my work. Results matter, but He cares more about the heart.
So suppose, for example, we start a bike tour. And suppose we raise lots of money to help some trafficked kids, and we bring all sorts of attention to the horrors of modern-day slavery. I’m sure Jesus would approve.
I’m also sure He doesn’t need us to do any of that stuff. He’s quite capable of saving kids and directing resources. He wants us to invite Him along and include Him in every aspect of the journey.
Climbing mountain passes to rescue kids is cool.
Without love…it’s just noise.