Try out this algebra:
(x – 10) = ((x – 8) – 10)
Hmm. Doesn’t look right, does it? Didn’t work for you? Then try this:
.1x = .1 (x-.8)
When you try to solve for “x,” does it seem as though it must not be a constant? Well, x, which represents one’s salary, is not a constant in real life, either.
We can get some interesting calculations foisted on us by legacy and conscience (or clergy!) to get us to pay for system upkeep. Not everyone may care if 8% of a salary was taken away, and they may assume one can make the deduction disappear magically when one “tithes” (a Levitical practice … and remember, we don’t have Levites in the Christ-ian age). 10% of x does not equal 10% of (x minus 8%), but sometimes we may hear a voice inside telling us to contribute the same amount as we did last year, even though it would be a higher percentage now.
Ever filled out one of those “pledge cards” for your church? And then was your salary cut? No guilt feelings necessary! Any church worth its body fat in NutraSweet will have made allowances for such events in the lives of its parishioners.
God essentially wants everything, but that doesn’t mean you have to give a certain percentage to a collection plate. I don’t think God chooses to use algebra or arithmetic in asking for your money. And I suspect that if my conscience is quickened by some inner drive to give more money to a collection plate, the inner drive may be the voice of a lingering adherence to a denomination or to a clergified concept of Christianity.