Double or Nothing (Twenty-seventh Ordinary)

The apostles came up and said to the Master, “Give us more faith”. But the Master said, “You don’t need more faith. There is no ‘more’ or ‘less’ in faith. (Luke 17: 5 – 6a)

In recent years celebrity poker games from Las Vegas have become popular on TV. The famous and well-to-do gamble with somebody else’s money. The winner has a big donation made in their name to a charity of their choosing. You be the judge of the morality of all this.

The drama occurs when a bet forces a player to bet all of his or her chips. That means they’ll win a large hand or be out of the game completely. If you watch it long enough, you learn that it’s easy to bet everything when you have a great hand, much harder if you are struggling. Or if you think your opponent is bluffing, you have a tough decision to make. But quite often, skill has nothing to do with the outcome. Everything depends on the draw of the cards.

We have done nothing in and of ourselves to deserve the faith that God has given us. It is a true gift and blessing from God. We are supposed to play the hand that we are dealt. The prophet Habakkuk cries out for more faith even though he has enough. The apostles ask for an increase in faith, and Jesus tells them that they have more than enough.

When the chips are down (so to speak), do we believe our faith is strong enough to win or do we back off, asking for more? It is precisely when we are “all in” and place our trust in God that our faith makes us a winner, not matter the outcome.

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