The "Unsolvable Problem" - REALLY?... Not So! :)


George Dantzig was one of the best-known mathematicians of the twentieth century. He is considered one of the three “fathers” of linear programming, a very practical tool that companies use for planning and scheduling huge manufacturing or distribution projects. An event in Dantzig’s life became the origin of a famous “urban legend” in 1939 while he was a graduate student at UC Berkeley. This legend is actually true! “Near the beginning of a class for which Dantzig was late, professor Jerzy Neyman wrote two examples of famously unsolved statistics problems on the blackboard. When Dantzig arrived, he assumed that the two problems were a homework assignment and wrote them down. According to Dantzig, the problems ‘seemed to be a little harder than usual,’ but a few days later he handed in completed solutions for two, still believing that they were an assignment that was overdue. Six weeks later, Dantzig received a visit from an excited professor Neyman, eager to tell him that the homework problems he had solved were two of the most famous unsolved problems in statistics and that he had prepared one of Dantzig’s solutions for publication in a mathematical journal.”

Interesting to ponder: What if Dantzig hadn’t been late for class? What if he had heard that the problems were “unsolvable”? Would he have even bothered to try them? Or would he have just accepted, like the rest of the class doubtless did, that the “experts” had already looked into it—and if it was too hard for them, why bother thinking about it?

Here’s the application: For christendom today, the Life described in the Gospels and the Book of Acts is the “problem” that the “experts” have looked at and claimed is “unsolvable” in our modern world. Most people have listened to the experts and have filed the “problem” away as just too hard. When they first were saved, they assumed that the Life they read about—and perhaps even tasted on some level—was what Christianity should be all about. But after years and decades of seeing failure around them and hearing “experts” explain it away (unBiblically) as “the wheat and the tares growing together” or some other nonsense that twists the Text, they have reluctantly concluded that their earlier passion must have simply been naïveté and immaturity. After all, the “experts” should know.

That’s what most people have done. But surely not everyone! Surely there are people around the globe who are willing to look at the problem and say, “nothing is too difficult for Jesus.” One of our jobs, then, is to tell as many people in the world the Gospel of the King and the Kingdom as possible, without dumbing it down or writing it off as a “first century cultural phenomenon.” I want to “write the problem on the blackboard” for people everywhere, WITHOUT telling them that the experts have deemed it impossible. Then the honest Believers can seek God’s face and by His grace solve the problem and find the Life of Jesus for themselves and for others in their sphere. That’s why I want to be faithful to pass on clear, accurate, life-filled Teaching about the gospel at every Opportunity, despite the cost: to give others a chance to approach the “problem” with a clear head and a faithful heart…
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