My friend Dr. Larry Lilly wrote an article entitled “Poker Face for Jesus” that inspired this little piece. His story revolved around a poker table, a familiar scene to yours truly.
Poker is all about the odds. There are two kinds of odds: explicit and implied. Explicit odds are the probability of hitting the winning hand vs. the amount presently in the pot. Implied odds recognizes the potential payoff if the winning hand is made.
Since life is all about probabilities, let's apply this dictum to our future. Let's look at the explicit odds of becoming a Christian, the real thing, no half-hearted profession to look good to our neighbors or ourselves. The thing that stops most folks, including the ones we see in church on Easter or maybe every Sunday, is the thought of giving up some of the activities they believe are sins. Some of those pursuits are in fact sinful, but the list is probably a lot shorter than most folks are led to believe by the holier-than-thou crowd. This price is more than most are willing to pay for a shot at some ephemeral concept called "salvation".
The big problem here is: If there is nothing to be saved FROM, there is no reason to pay that price. Why put your chips in the pot if there is nothing to win?
Ah! But once the abstract concept of "hell" becomes a reality, and the idea of heaven is not open to all sinners, (This would include the guy who beats his wife, the swindler who moogie-foogies the odometers on cars he sells, and other more famous personalities like Jack the Ripper, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein and Adolf Hitler -- imagine rubbing shoulders with this bunch for all of eternity?) now things change dramatically.
Now we get into the area of implied odds. What is it worth to keep running on life's hamster wheel? Are you really enjoying it? Enough to spend "eternity" in a dark place, all alone and burning on fire? And with no end in sight, or in existence at all for that matter, the man or woman who rejects Jesus will still be screaming in anguish six billion years from now when our sun burns out. That person will, at that point, have just as long left to spend in this deplorable condition as the day they arrived; FOREVER!
Dante Alighieri in his Divine Comedy penned this sign over the doorway to hell. "All ye who enter here, abandon ye all hope." Contrast this with the potential payoff of spending eternity in the kingdom of God with glories and riches unimaginable to us who are presently locked into this three dimensional constraint.
It's what we who play the game call: A NO PRICE BET!!!
No matter which choice you make, you are going all-in!