That man is trying to find a career path - and he was joking. We simply smiled at his comment, but said nothing in response.
Some would say this was an awkward moment for us - because the comment came during fellowship time at church last Saturday. Yes, one day after we made a final table and top-four finish on a Friday at a casino about 15 minutes away by car.
But we've become used to biting our tongue and saying nothing about our poker games - at least not at church services. We doubt anyone in our congregation even knows we play in tournaments. (Our pastor might, though; he asked once about our blog-writing, but we gave a vague answer because we weren't sure which of our online projects he meant.)
Why do we stay silent? Because our church movement officially preaches against gambling. There's a Biblical principle we follow in cases like this....
Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak. - I Corinthians 8:9
We all have "boundary lines" in life - areas we refuse to cross and enter, because we might hurt ourselves or other people. For instance, some people in our movement drink beer after a service. Others don't; they might be recovering alcoholics or simply are concerned about what might happen. The point of this verse is to avoid offending others, in the boundaries you cross.
Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or do to anything else that will cause our brother to fall. - Romans 14:20-21
Playing games or gambling in a casino is one of those areas for us. We've done it for years, but other worshipers around us might consider it a sinful act. So to borrow from a once-popular U.S. military practice, we play "Don't ask, don't tell." We normally only bring up our poker ministry if someone specifically asks if we do it.
When you sin against your brothers in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. - I Corinthians 8:11
There's actually a side benefit of taking this approach. By staying silent in a church setting, we get to practice our "poker face" away from the table.
So please, offer your thoughts on this - anonymously if you wish. Are there places where you dare not bring up poker? And how do you handle situations where the game might come up?