UPDATED Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought—first posted on April 20, 2014—is provided by Pastor Yohan Lee, a friend of AMI, who in the past has served as a staff at several AMI churches. He is a graduate of University of Pennsylvania (BA) and Cairn University (MA).
Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend
“Sports Betting and the Christian Life”
1 Cor. 15:12-19
Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
One thing people have stopped doing during the shutdown brought on by COVID-19 pandemic is sports betting (no games to bet on), which is a good thing. That said, sometimes, I liken the Christian life to a wager, say a sports bet. (I am not condoning gambling in any way.) For anyone who has ever placed a wager, you know that the amount you bet is proportional to your confidence in the team on whom you are betting. So, if you were Floyd Mayweather, Jr., you must have been supremely confident that the Broncos were going to win the last Superbowl, because you supposedly bet 10 million on them. Obviously, if you have little confidence on your team, you don’t place very much on the table. The dilemma of gambling is that in order to win a lot, you have risk losing a lot.
Similarly, the way you live your Christian life is proportional to your confidence in the truth of the resurrection. If you are supremely confident that Jesus lives and that all the promises he made are true, you really won’t care that much for the success that this world offers. Conversely, if you kind of believe that Christ rose again (or maybe only wishfully think that he did), then you will “hedge your bets,” if you will, by sort of living for Christ, while really living for things of this world. The problem with this kind of living is the same as the gambler’s dilemma: In order to win a lot (and truly experience the power of a life in the Spirit), you have to risk a lot (and lose your life). If you do not have the faith to risk your life, you will never live the life God wants for you.
The Apostle Paul understood this concept well. To paraphrase 1 Cor. 15:19, “If there is no resurrection, then I have completely thrown my life away. I have been beaten, imprisoned, starved, for nothing! More than that, if there is no resurrection, then I am a heretic and I spread lies about God (v. 15).” Obviously, Paul risked greatly, but I have confidence that now he is greatly enjoying his reward.
Today, first and foremost, Happy Easter! He is risen! Let’s celebrate. Secondly, let me ask you this question: If the resurrection were a scam, would your life be pathetic and worthless, or does it barely matter in your life that Christ is alive? As we celebrate the truth that Jesus is alive today —in the aftermath of the wreckage wrought by COVID and amid a terrible war being fought in Ukraine—let’s make sure the truth of the resurrection significantly impacts our lives. For a starter, let’s hope again, not necessarily to return to our life before coronavirus lockdown, but, with a newfound sense of life built on our unshakable belief in the risen Lord, to lead a truly meaningful and fruitful life to the glory of God.
Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus Christ, there are no words to express, in any shape or form, my gratitude to you for paying the price—death—for my sins and then resurrect from the dead. I shall truly live out the rest of my life serving your divine interest on earth. Use me, Lord. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Genesis 6