Now that the new school year has begun, my thoughts have turned to arithmetic.

Quick! Answer the following:

• 7 x 8 =
• 144 divided by 12 =
• 9,000,000 – 7,999,997 =

Did you need a calculator?

I was recently in a small grocery store trying to pay cash for a purchase. I know, who pays cash these days – at least that’s what the look on the cashier’s face communicated. The bill came to \$16.18. I gave her \$21.28 simply because I had the singles and pennies handy. The poor girl just stared at the money, unsure what to do with it. She finally gave me change from the twenty-dollar bill and returned the extra \$1.28.

Okay, you may be thinking I complicated her life unnecessarily. Maybe I did, unintentionally. But this was a simple math calculation. The solution was to give me a five-dollar bill and one dime.

Still, I shouldn’t be so quick to judge that cashier. Lately, I’ve been depending on calculators and computers for answers I would have figured out on my own a few years ago. It happens every time I balance my checkbook. Or try to determine the tip on a restaurant bill.Am I merely relying on tools of convenience or is this lazy thinking?

Probably a bit of both. Relying on convenient tools can lead to lazy thinking. I get to the point where the simplest math problems draw a blank, despite my school training in arithmetic.

But this lazy thinking isn’t limited to math.

Have you received calls from an employee of “Windows” telling you your computer has a virus and offering their services? Or how about those Facebook offers telling you the first 100 people who “Like” a company page will receive a free iPhone?

Did you believe them? Lazy thinking. Unless you’re a conspiracy theorist, do you really think Microsoft Corporation has the staff to individually monitor millions of computers for viruses? Or that Apple will give you an iPhone just because you clicked a button on Facebook?

As Christians, we can fall prey to lazy thinking in other ways, too. For example, we might use the teaching and preaching of pastors and teachers as a substitute for studying the Bible for ourselves, instead of as a starting point or complement to our own study.

Or we might agree with society’s moral opinions because they sound nice, without verifying what God’s Word says on that given subject. As Leo Tolstoy once said, “Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it.” If you have any doubts about this particular quote, check out my blog post, “Thirty-five Million People CAN Be Wrong.”

Let’s not allow lazy thinking to infect us…in calculations, in gullibility, and most of all, in our relationship with the Lord.

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