Sunday, March 23, 2008

Are You Betting on Your Faith?

Gambling has never held much appeal for me. I will be honest and confess that I have certainly visited Vegas and pulled a few slot handles (or pushed buttons now), played some black jack and thrown dice in the spirit of entertainment. But since I hate to lose and I value my money, it’s never long before I find the stores to window shop or just people-watch.

There is a term in poker that I love; all in. This refers to a point in betting in which a player wants to continue but doesn’t have the full amount to match the bet. He pushes all his chips forward, betting everything he has. If he wins, he will be paid accordingly. If he loses, he’s out of the game and leaves the table. Buh Bye Now!

It occurred to me that many of us handle our faith like a poker game. We sit at the table as one who is actively invested, but we hold back a little in case this isn’t really a winning hand.

Some of us give a small percent, others a majority of our lives to God. But if we hold back even one tiny portion, we aren’t fully committed. We don’t fully believe. The Bible says we are to give our time, treasures and talent to serving God. This doesn’t mean every waking minute or every cent of our paychecks, but it means these things have to fit into the equation of how we invest. Have you checked those things lately? How much time do you spend mentoring a fatherless child or serving at a homeless shelter? If you are a talented cook, do you prepare food for those in need or teach younger women how to improve? Are you giving generously to worthy causes that support God’s care of people?

We hold back in other ways as well. We are supposed to treat our bodies with respect but I just saw a survey that revealed a majority of Christians don’t believe smoking or obesity are sins. If you’re actively doing it you couldn’t very well admit to being wrong. It’s easier to hold back and rationalize. I’m sure my life has many of these areas as well, so I’m pointing the finger in my own direction as I write this.

There are also those who hold back in secret. They are fully invested in front of people, but in private they live in a way that is contrary to who they say they are.

This is Easter, a time to remember that Jesus didn’t hold back anything from us. He gave everything; his time, treasures, talents, dignity and even his life. It was entirely up to him and he willingly gave it all.

What about you? How are you playing this faith game? When it comes time for the payoff (blessings) what will your take be? Are you holding back or are you all in?

Diane Markins


john.mitman said...

It's very important to keep life in perspective. I think that faithfully serving Jesus is best done by being a good Christian and emulating the Bible in life. I see it every day in school and/or work-- if I don't fully put my efforts then I can only expect unhappiness forthcoming. I think you hit it right on dot when you said that life is like a poker game, All in!

HisGirl said...

John, thanks for including the point about seeing this lived out at school as well as work. Being invested in your faith applies all the time and even to young people still in school.