In poker there is a term that I have heard that means you are risking everything: all in. I don’t know if you use it in other games of chance (I’m not a gambler, so I am no expert), but I have heard it associated with poker. I have also heard a similar idea warned against in the old adage, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” So, my question today is – do you have anything that you trust that way?
It’s a scary thing to trust anything that much. I mean, for some things you just have to: chairs, airplanes, cars, etc. In those we kind of have to… how would you sit in a chair or ride in an airplane without trusting it completely?
However, for things that we can choose to trust it is a different story. Our investment advisors tell us that we should diversify. Our doctor tells us that we should eat a little of every food group. When starting a new business we are warned that we should hold something back just in case it fails. All of this advice appeals to wisdom – the wisdom of spread out risk.
So, when it comes to the message of Jesus, which type of issue is it? Is trusting Jesus like flying in an airplane, or is it like investing in your future? Consider these two quotes from Jesus:
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Luke 9:23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”
Sounds like an airplane issue, doesn’t it? It doesn’t sound like Jesus expected his followers to have a little of Him and (just to be safe) have a little of something else. Jesus said that those who followed Him should risk everything for Him.
The explorer Cortés discovered the importance of this type of commitment. After a mutiny by those loyal to the Governor of Cuba, he sank his ships so that no one would think that they could go back to the safety of Cuba or Spain. His crew had to be committed to their mission or they would die.
What about us? Are we “all in”? In case you were wondering, it is possible to be “all in” and yet live in constant worry that you might have made the wrong choice. You see this on airplanes all the time. You see people nervous (even scared) to trust the plane that they are on. They hold tightly to the seat with white-knuckled passion. They hyperventilate or get sick. They cry and cry out during the flight at every bump of turbulance. That doesn’t sound like an enjoyable way to travel. Instead of enjoying the view, marveling at the speed of the journey, or catching up on their reading these folks are suffering. Not a good way to travel at all!
Is this you and me with Jesus? Are we “all in” the same way those who are afraid of flying are “all in”? Are we sick inside, but we still think that we are supposed to follow Jesus? Are we scared that we have made the wrong choice, but we don’t see another option? That is no way to live your life!
So, what’s the answer? I see two keys from the lives of those who have shown that following Jesus is a life of joy. First, they are convinced that the message of Jesus is specifically for them. Paul epitomizes this in his statement to Timothy, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” (1 Timothy 1:15) When we are sure that Jesus’ message is for us then we can live in the joy that we are truly forgiven. Second, they are convinced that God’s love for them is both great and unchanging. They believe this statement, “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Roman’s 8:38-39)
Have you heard these two messages in your life? Have you heard that Jesus’ message is for you? Are you one of those “sinners” like the apostle Paul? Have you discovered that Jesus died for you? What about the second message? Have you been convinced yet that God’s love for you is that great? Do you know that His love is also unchanging? He won’t love you less when you stumble? He won’t forsake you when your life isn’t as perfect or as useful as you would like it to be?
Those who know the joy of Jesus testify that He is worth risking everything. They declare that living for Him brings joy. They tell us that being “all in” is the only way to live. Let’s embrace that way of living today.
Something to think about,