Thursday, August 3, 2017

Freedom from Want?

"Still in shock," Scott Blumstein wrote on his Twitter feed after winning the World Series of Poker Main Event. But he's apparently back on the circuit now - playing in a World Poker Tour event in Oklahoma this week.

Immediately after winning the Main Event, Blumstein said something interesting about the $8 million prize. "It's nice to have some freedom now. That was the goal, to get to the point where I can do what I want."

If that's your goal in playing poker, we suggest being very careful. A little "freedom" can be a dangerous thing. Consider....

You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. - Galatians 5:13

Does money really give people freedom? In some ways, yes - but not completely. For instance, we presume Blumstein still has to pay federal and state income taxes on his winnings. That could take a million or two.

But the apostle Paul's warning is about using "freedom" - whether it's money, time or something else - to engage in sin. The Bible indicates at the end of our lives, we'll discover freedom truly has a limit:

Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out - those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. - John 5:28-29

A judgment day is coming, with Jesus Christ serving as the ultimate judge (verse 27). Those who "have done good", as in serving others in a loving way, will "live" with God and Jesus eternally. Those who went the other way will be condemned to a lake of fire (Revelation 20:14-15).

So ultimately, any freedom we obtain from playing poker is not about doing "what I want." It's about doing what God wants. Have you read the Bible carefully to see what that is? We encourage doing that. Here's a verse to help you get started:

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. - Micah 6:8

Ponder in prayer what that might mean for your life. If you're still free to play poker, do it with God in mind.

No comments: