Tag Archives: adding problem

When It Doesn’t Add Up

Story of the Day for Thursday December 22, 2011

When It Doesn’t Add Up

                          You rescue the humble, but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them low.

                                              2 Samuel 22:28

Are you pretty good at adding numbers in your head? Without using a pencil or calculator, can you add these numbers and tell me the sum?











That didn’t take much time, did it? It was a simple problem, but, unfortunately, your answer is wrong. Do you want to try adding the numbers again?

Now, obviously, I don’t know that you got the wrong answer. But I do know that if your answer was “5000,” it’s wrong. And I also know that 95% of those who try this test give “5000” as their answer.

Those who admit they’re not good at addition are more likely to come up with the correct answer. Do you know why?

When I tell you your answer is wrong and invite you to try again, those who are humble are more likely to try it a second time, and discover their first answer was incorrect.

Those who take pride in their ability to add numbers in their head, however, are annoyed that I told them they got the wrong answer. When I ask them to try adding the numbers a second time, they are more likely to decline my gracious invitation.


Joel Barker, in his book, Paradigms, spoke in Deerborn, Michigan, with a leadership group of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He asked the group how good they were at adding and subtracting. They thought that was funny.

Then he gave them the addition problem I just gave you. After showing it on an overhead projector, he covered the problem up. When he asked them for the correct answer, they all shouted “5000!”

He asked them how sure they were of their answer and asked those who were confident they had the correct answer to raise their hand. All 280 of them raised their hand.


When we become overconfident in our standing before God, we also become slower to see our sin. The quicker you are to admit you’re wrong, the quicker you will find what the Lord wants to give us – his mercy, wisdom, and comfort.

                                 (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)