Addition and subtraction are considered opposites. In addition, you “add to” what you already have, so the final product is greater. In subtraction, you “take away” from what you have, so the final product is less. Adding increases, and subtraction decreases.
Add by subtracting, subtract by adding
There are times, however, when it is not that simple. Sometimes we can actually add by subtracting, and subtract by adding, altering the final product in unexpected ways. My father had a saying, “that’s too much candy for a nickel.” It meant there was a good thing that was made worse by adding more good things.
For example, if we were on vacation and planned to get up early to go fishing in the morning; then, to an amusement park during the day; and later, a baseball game that night after someone had already suggested to stay up late the night before, that vacation would be an example of, “too much candy for a nickel.” As crazy as it sounds, you are subtracting from the enjoyment of the day by adding too many good things.
Likewise, you can also add through subtraction. Sometimes, a team can improve how well they play by getting rid of a talented player. Whether it is because of team chemistry or just creating a different dynamic, the final product can actually be improved because of the subtraction.
evaluating our life
Perhaps, now is a good time to do some “spiritual math.” We should evaluate our lives and see if we need to subtract anything to improve the final product. It may be that we have added so many tasks to our daily schedule that we do not have time for the things that matter most. Perhaps, our devotional time with God has begun to suffer, or our quality time with our spouse or children has been squeezed out, or even, our health is suffering from the stress of how much we have piled on our schedules? Maybe we have items in our lives not profitable, things needed to be subtracted so the final product of our lives will be improved?
Do we need to add to the quality of our lives by subtracting even good things so we can make margin in our schedules? Too much candy for a nickel can make you sick. Do the math. Take time to evaluate your life and priorities. Ask God to help you prayerfully discern what needs to be included and excluded in order to live to be all that God desires.