Gambling a lose-lose situation

Yesterday, some sap in the greater Los Angeles area won Powerball’s 1.5 billion dollar prize. He’ll now become the gambling industry’s poster boy for the poor man’s tax, impoverishing more still those who can least afford to let go of their money. The money he pockets came directly from millions of others who cherished his hopes. Does he consider that his winning meant their loss? Probably not. Gambling is truly a lose-lose situation. Even the winner is a loser. But isn’t that the way the world works?

A billionaire gave some advice to the winner of the lottery. Say no to friends and family. Apparently, he’s telling the newest member of his exclusive club to refuse all requests to share the wealth.

Suddenly, the winner will have the most loving extended family and will gain many new friends. “Wealth attracts many friends, but a poor man is separated from his friend” Prov 19.4 HCSB. Money moves the world.

When money moves the church, you know the world has horned its way into the church, as it often does. That’s why we like the expensive buildings, multi-member staffs, businessmen as elders, all signs of worldly success. But these are so inherent in American Christianity that you just discount me as a sour-grapes missionary. I know.

¶ We can do no greater work than place before others the God who acts and speaks, his holiness and goodness, his salvation and his judgment. “Before your eyes Jesus Christ was vividly portrayed as crucified!” said Paul in Gal 3.1. Was there ever a moment when inspired men spoke of any teaching without connecting it to the triune God? God is at the center of our faith. Paul preached “so that your faith would not be based on human wisdom but on the power of God” 1 Cor 2.5; see 1 Pet 1.21.

Preaching can be heard which seems to deal with some doctrines unattached from him who gave it. Little good can result from such disjointedness. Headless horsemen in the spiritual realm do more harm than good.

¶ Today, we renewed the hosting of TFR here on WordPress. For another year, at least, we’ll keep on. When you appreciate a Fellow’s post, please give it a comment or click in order to encourage and motivate.

¶ The Maiden leaves our happy home this evening headed back to college. It’s been a fine month of time together, visits with her friends, a few side-trips, and not a few favorite foods that she can’t get in the land of Uncle Sam. Please pray for her safe journey and for another semester of good experiences and grades.

¶ You must find the Way more than interesting in order for it to save you. It must be practiced. I’m on the final stretch of my Brazilian study series, “52 Actions of the Disciple of Christ.” I’ve been translating most of them on my personal site.

The 3×5 index-card format has been employed yet again for this project. It allows me to say enough, but not too much. I started using it this year in our midweek Bible reading group here at home. Last night’s verb was “Hear,” texts used, Deut 6.4-9 and Mt 15.1-20.

¶ Years ago a sister in Christ asked why the NT uses the figure of putting on Christ, as one puts on clothing. To her it seemed such a temporary thing. Perhaps she changed clothes several times a day, dunno. But she had a point. And I didn’t have a good answer for her then.

In his Galatians commentary in the Abingdon NT series, S.K. Williams tells why the image of putting on a garment makes for an apt and useful figure of speech.

… in the biblical world the face (and head), hands, and (often sandaled) feet were normally the only parts of a person’s body that others saw. Much of a person’s public appearance was the clothes she or he wore. Nothing except the face visually represented who and what a person was so much as the clothing. In the seaports and commercial centers of the Mediterranean world, clothes could announce one’s country of origin, one’s occupation, one’s social class, or one’s economic status. Clothes allowed people to discern what they had in common with others or how they were different. … believers are so closely identified with Christ that Christ provides them the only identity, personal and social, than any longer counts.

Clothes may not make the man, but they do mark him. Jesus makes and marks.