Excuses | Devotion 4: All In
Pastor Ryan Story
I graduated high school the year a revolution was beginning. The summer of 2003, Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker’s main event. What is so revolutionary about this is that Chris won his spot in the $10,000 buy-in tournament by winning an online poker contest. This sparked a phenomenon where any “average Joe” dreamed of winning it all, and I was included. A group of my buddies started getting together every Friday, and we all got “really good” at Texas Hold’em. We would play for hours each week, and once a month we would go to larger tournaments in hopes to make some extra money. In poker, there is a “move” that a person can do that is the ultimate gamble, the “all in.” Going “all in” means you risk all of your chips, assuming you have fewer chips than the other opponents. This move can be extremely risky to use flippantly because it can cause you to go broke or give your opponent a lot more chips. So when you say you are going to go “all in,” you better be ready to go “all in” with the potential consequences.
In Exodus chapter nine, Pharaoh finally is seemingly willing to go “all in” and give Moses the freedom for the Israelites. Each one of the plagues that God sent finally caused Pharaoh to say, “This time I have sinned; the Lord is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong. Plead with the Lord, for there has been enough of God’s thunder and hail. I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer” (Exodus
At that moment Pharaoh’s “all in” did not work. The king of Egypt thought he could go “all in” with some fake repentance and lip service to God and Moses, but he got caught. The hardest part about an “all in” move in poker is that there is no backup plan. You either win big or lose big. Pharaoh was trying to win big by getting Moses to stop the hail, but Pharaoh was not truly crying out for repentance. He knew that he could still have wheat for food after the storm stopped. Sadly, this is our spiritual lives. We call out to God in extreme hardships, knowing full well we have a backup plan. We have something to which we can fall back. I ask you when you pray and cry out to God for help or rescue, are you going “all in” by only relying on Him, or are you counting on something other than God to help?
As Christ followers, we should be able to go “all in” with our trust in any struggle, situation, or storm that comes. There is never a moment where God is not in control. Even the moment we think “we lost,” God is already working that out to better shape us for our future. Sadly, we struggle to have the kind of “all in” faith that we should to live with God. Imagine what God could do with a church that was not holding onto the wheat of our lives and trusted God in every area? How amazing would it be to be part of a church that gave with absolute trust that God was going to use it to rescue local families? Imagine if we served with the unwavering trust that by our efforts of going “all in” with the passion we would get to see people loved and cared for and eventually give their lives to Jesus. As Christians, we should have only the plan that God has for us, and when we trust that His plan is perfect, that is when we can confidently slide our chips across the table and declare, “I am all in.”