No comments yet

Sum Zero

Elder, David “Doc” Kenser, gives us a daily devotion and reflection.


In game and economic theory, a zero-sum is a mathematical representation of a situation in which each participant’s gain or loss is balanced by the gain or loss of the other participants.  In other words, regardless of what you do, you haven’t made any progress.

Unfortunately, for many, their religion is precisely that: Zero Sum.  Regardless of what they can claim as religious accomplishment, they have not made any progress in their faith journey.  They may go to church every Sunday, read their Bible every day, contribute 10% or even more of their income and even serve as a deacon or elder without gaining any ground as a disciple of Christ.

Really?  One can be submerged in religious activity and gain nothing at all?  Precisely.  “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you'” (Mt 7:22-23).

How is that possible?  It is possible because religious activity is not the point of being a disciple, it is not the goal God has in mind for us.  Jesus didn’t die in order to get us to become church goers or Bible readers, he died to redeem us, to allow us to lay aside our old selfish self and become new.  Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation” (Gal 6:15).

Religious activity is a by-product, not the objective.  If we get caught up in “doing church,” we will miss being the church as the church isn’t meant to be a religious organization but rather a relational organism.  “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. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing: (1 Cor 13:1-3).

When Jesus was asked what the Greatest Commandment was, he replied, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mt 22:37-39).  If we miss that point, our religion is pointless.  It is zero sum.  Jus’ Say’n.

Post a comment