Gambling and Faith

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“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16: 11)

Growing Dominion, Part 38

In the last installment, we addressed the fact that luck governs nothing. Our triune God oversees all things that happen, and He does so in a particular and personal way. Not a sparrow falls to the ground apart from the will of the Father. The hairs of our head are all numbered, and they are numbered by our Father, and not by a very impressive but impersonal data base.

Nevertheless, from our vantage point, life involves risk. Going into business involves risk. The “businessman” who wants to avoid risk is like the unfaithful servant who buried the money he had been given because he was afraid of his “hard master.”

As with so many other things, discerning the difference between a gambler and a godly risk taker can be difficult. There is a difference between someone who is genuinely crazy, and someone that conventional wisdom says is crazy. There is not a fine line between faith and presumption, but from fifty yards it sometimes looks as though there is such a fine line. If a businessman is always swinging for the fence, then that is a good indication that he does not know that baseball games are won with singles and doubles. Slow and steady wins the race. An average four yards per carry wins football games. There are times when the Hail Mary pass is appropriate, but the gambler is always thinking in those terms.

The gambler is always looking for that one throw of the dice. And this reveals a deep faith in an impersonal universe, one governed by chance. The personal universe (the one that actually exists) is the one in which the Lord of it says that the one who is faithful in a little will be made faithful over much. The one who does not gamble with nickels and times will be blessed with much. The one who risks everything because of a simple trust in God will be vindicated.

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