The probability that all of you have heard in some way shape or form the following statement, “If I was a betting man, I bet that….(and fill it in with the outcome),” is incredibly high. Why? It is a manner of colloquial speak that has permeated our everyday language and even that of pop culture and movies which leads to high recognition and repeatability.
I am here to tell you today, that whether you consider yourself a ‘betting man’ or not, you are most certainly betting. When we go into a car, when we travel by plane, walk the street, take on a construction project, or some other task – we are taking a risk. Put another way, we are making a bet. We are betting that we can accomplish the task we set out to do without getting injured or dying. Some tasks have a higher risk of injury and death, while others have a low probability of those things happening. But make no mistake about it. You are a betting man.
How do you think insurance companies work? They are making a bet that certain things may or may not happen to different people. Life insurance premiums are lower for people under 45 than those above 45. The premiums are lower for non-smokers, and so forth. The insurance companies require a client to pay a higher premium if the bet has a higher risk and lower premium for a lower risk. The company doesn’t know the outcome for a client because they may have to pay out on a young client and not pay out on someone who paid higher premiums. This is a long winded way of saying S**t happens. Here is how James eloquently put it in the Book of James 4:14,
Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.Book of James 4:14
There it is folks. In plain language – your life could end in an instant. As is oft forgotten – you don’t need to be sick to die. There are numerous ways to die without being sick. But if you live in North America in a half decent neighborhood, the odds of some of these things happening is low. And that is the bet you make by choosing to live there. You drive through the safer part of town because you are making the bet that you have a better chance of living than if you drove through a crime ridden neighborhood. God has given you free will to choose your actions, but surely you understand that you don’t have control over the outcome. What you exercise is faith in your freewill to take actions to mitigate your chances of death or completing some other task to achieve a desired outcome.
Therefore, with your newfound perspective of life, let us consider a relevant and current situation and let’s see how good you are at making bets. The experimental vaccines for covid 19 are available and we do not have a lot of information about how effective they are but we do know there are small chances of blood clots forming, rare immune disease developing, and other things we just don’t know yet because as stated – they are experimental. The flipside of the bet is not taking a vaccine. If you are under the age of 70yrs old you have a 99.78% chance of survival and you know the symptoms are flu symptoms. So are you going to bet on the very small chance you could get some unknown but very serious side effects from taking an experimental vaccine or bet on the very small chance of surviving flu symptoms? When you pose the question through this lens, it really makes you think longer about what you are doing, and what those around you are doing as well. After all, if you were told you were going to get blood clots or an immune disorder from taking the vaccine or dealing with flu symptoms from the covid flu – which one are you honestly going to bet you would want to face?
God has given us free will, so we should exercise it to make whatever choices we want. Know viscerally, however, that you cannot control 100% of the outcome and that you really are a betting man whose life could end at any second – unannounced. I guess that also brings new meaning to the “kingdom of God is at hand” because we have to live it everyday knowing we are making bets, and one thing we know with 100% certainty is that we will all die. So are you betting on God and following the example of Jesus Christ, or betting against God and not following His example?
The bet is yours.