A Lesson In Arithmetic

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 6
Willie spent his life like most schoolboys. He went to school in the morning, back home at noon to dinner, then off again for the afternoon, and home to tea. The evening was spent in preparing his lessons for the next day.
Nothing very exciting ever happened. In Willie's day there were not so many football and cricket matches as there are nowadays, nor were there any motor-cycles! But one day, however, he did get a surprise. On opening his desk at school to get out his books for the day's lessons he found someone had been there before him and had written on the inside cover of his note-book the following lines:
"The one who by addition grows
And suffers no subtraction,
But multiplies a thing he knows,
And carries every fraction;
Who well divides his precious time,
Each part proportion giving,
To sure success aloft will climb,
Interest compound receiving.”
Whoever could have written it? It must have been one of the teachers, Willie thought, for the writing was clear and well-formed, too good a hand for one of the boys.
Willie is now grown up, but he has, never found out who wrote the lines, nor has he ever seen the words anywhere again. The rhyme made a great impression on him, and he did his best to add to his knowledge, to divide his time rightly, the result being that he did well at school and became later an able and successful man.
He is still adding and multiplying, but in a different way from when at school. Let us ask him and see what sort of arithmetic he is doing now.
“Are you still doing addition, Mr. Willie?”
“Well, yes, I hope so, there is plenty to be done.”
“But whatever are you adding?”
“Peter tells us to add, doesn't he? If I remember rightly he gives us seven things to add. Let us read what he says:
`And beside this... add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity', which means love." 2 Peter 1:5-75And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. (2 Peter 1:5‑7).
“And does it say anything in the Bible about subtraction?”
“I think it does. Isn't there a verse that says,
This was said to the Christians at Philadelphia, and the same thing was said to the Christians at Thyatira in the second chapter of Revelation.
It isn't much use adding, if we allow Satan to come and subtract, so the Christians in both these places were warned to suffer no subtraction. And one of the best ways to avoid losing what we have gained from God, is to multiply what we have.
“Solomon says, 'There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty,' and the Apostle Paul prays that the Colossians may increase in the knowledge of God. You can light thousands of candles from one wick without dimming its light. Each one of us can increase by learning of God, and making the knowledge we have known to others.”
“But however do you carry every fraction, Mr. Willie?”
“That was a lesson the Lord Jesus taught His disciples when here. 'Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost,' He said to them after the miracle of the feeding of both the five thousand and the four thousand. The bread of God, which the Lord Jesus Himself had blessed, was too precious for the birds of the air to feed on; it was to be eaten by those for whom Jesus had come to die.
“Then, again, to continue our Arithmetic lesson, a man of God was to divide well his precious time. Paul tells Timothy some of the things he was to attend to; his time was to be divided in 'giving attendance to doctrine;' to reading God's Word; to exhortation; to instructing those who oppose the truth. He was told to 'meditate on these things', so he had no difficulty in knowing how to divide his time.
“Peter tells us what the result of diligence will be-it gives us compound interest. He says,
`Wherefore rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure; for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.'”
Compound interest means that your capital is given back to you, added to your interest. This God will certainly do. He will never be any man's debtor. It is worthwhile to be diligent in the work of the Lord!