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You Bet Your Life (published in The North Weld Herald 7/23/09)

posted Sep 7, 2013, 1:14 PM by Fccea Webmaster
I'm probably showing my age, but Groucho Marx was always one of my favorites. Who could ever forget lines like, "I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas Ill never know!" Groucho once had a television show entitled You Bet Your Life. Of course, the bets on the show were always a bit smaller than that. Nevertheless, it occurred to me one day that, in fact, everyone who ever appeared on that show was betting their life -- just not on the show and not so obviously.

All of humankind is equal in the sense that we've all been given one life. We'd probably all agree on that. But here's the kicker. We are also all living by faith! And because of that, we're all betting our life on something.

I admit that the general perception is that it is only "religious" people who are living by faith and betting on God, but the truth is, we're all betting on something.

Even the atheist is betting on something. He or she is betting that there is no personal God and consequently no accountability. However, no one can actually prove that contention without having all knowledge. So, the atheist is living by faith -- betting his life on the assumption that there is no God. But -- what if the assumption is wrong?

How about those who are indifferent? They sort of remind me of the fellow who was asked which was worse, ignorance or apathy, to which he replied, "I don't know, and I don't care." Okay, so he's indifferent. However, wittingly or unwittingly, he's betting his life on the assumption that we cannot know for sure about God; therefore it's okay to ignore God. My question is, since that assumption can't be absolutely proven, what if the assumption is wrong?

Blaise Pascal, one of the acknowledged masters of calculus in the 16th century, is famous for his "wager". When asked why he believed in eternal salvation or eternal life, his remarks were as follows: "Let's assume that I am wrong and there is no life hereafter. Then I have lost nothing. On the other hand, let's assume that I am right and there is life hereafter, then I have gained everything." It's hard to fault that logic.

That doesn't prove the existence of a personal God, of course; but when we consider that the life we have is the only one we will ever get, and when we consider that the consequences of the bet we are all placing could have very significant eternal consequences, doesn't it make sense in the words of Solomon to "Apply your heart to instruction and your ear to words of knowledge."

Far too much is at stake to just drift through life. Even by taking no action at all, you have bet your life. But what if your assumption. . . ?

By His Grace, Pastor Dave