Wanted Gamblers!

Published by Ad4fesed on

Epaphroditus was a gambler. Some believers also in the early church were gamblers. Interestingly, they were esteemed highly.

Paul encouraged the Philippian church “to welcome him (Epaphroditus) in the Lord with great joy, and honor people like him, because he almost died for the work of Christ. He risked his life to make up for the help you yourselves could not give me.” Phil 2: 29-30 ESV

The phrase “ he almost died” in greek literally means “to lay down a stake, to gamble.” In the early church there were committed group of believers called as Parabolani or gamblers. They were willing to gamble their lives or risk their lives by undertaking the hazardous work of tending the sick and burying the dead in times of deadly diseases. The church esteemed them as they were not gambling for money, but gambling their lives for the work of Christ and for others.

We see countless gamblers throughout the church history who gambled their lives for the work of Christ. In 1832, Adoniram Judson wrote to missionary candidates “Remember, a large proportion of those who come out on a mission to the East die within five years after leaving their native land. Walk softly, therefore; death is narrowly watching your steps.”

Today we follow Christ, read the Bible and are smart professionals because of hundreds of missionaries who gambled their lives to bring the gospel as well as many other blessings.

At the same time, India ranks first among the countries with the largest number of unreached people groups and ranks 119 in HDI among 169 countries in the world.

Why is this happening? Because we have more hoarders than gamblers.

Hoarders selfishly accumulate things and hide them away for future use. The treasure vault found in the Sree Padmanabaswamy Temple in Kerala is the example of hoarding by Travancore Kings. We often forget that hoarding is gross wastage of resources. Neither the hoarder nor others have any use of it. That’s why Jesus commanded us not to hoard treasures here.

The other problem of hoarding is that our hearts follow it (Mat 6:21). So we always play it safe to risk proof our lives forgetting the warning of Jesus that “For whoever would hoard his life will lose it, but whoever gambles his life for my sake will save it.” (Luke 9:24 Paraphrased). As hoarders, we not only waste our treasures but also our lives.

So Jesus calls us to be gamblers. John Piper explains it well. “Suffering was not just a consequence of the Master’s obedience and mission. It was the central strategy of his mission. It was the ground of his accomplishment. Jesus calls us to join him on the Calvary road, to take up our cross, and to hate our lives in this world, and fall into the ground like a seed and die, that others might live.”

Gamblers joyfully risks for massive gains. “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. (Matt 13:44) Jim Elliot, one among the five martyrs among the Auca Indians said “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”

India is waiting for more gamblers who are foolishly wise enough to risk their lives, career, ambitions and dreams for the work of Christ and for the sake of others.

Will you be one?


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