Sharing The Light – Question 1 July 2021 Part Four

This week we continue with our question and answer(s) program. This is the fourth and final part of their replies. 

Question #1, July 2021:

Is it okay for a Christian to gamble at pool?

Tommy Kennedy

Tommy Kennedy:

Hello everyone here on AZBilliards and across the Globe! First off I would like to thank Roger Long and Mike Howerton for giving me this opportunity and for allowing me to come out on this public forum and address this very important issue. This will be the beginning of several bible based answers to some very important and key questions that weigh very heavily on the hearts of many people, Christian and non-Christian alike. So hopefully this will help open up the hearts and minds of some people who are serious doubters and who are truly seeking for answers. This will also (I am sure) lead to much criticism and mockery of some of the answers given here. The intent of this whole series of questions and answers is to Glorify The Lord Jesus Christ and to give the hearers some bible based answers to these important and critical questions. It is also a way to point people to the only Lord and savior Jesus Christ who lived a sinless life and died a sacrificial death on the cross and then rose from the grave on the third day for our salvation! Jesus Christ is God!  The only God and savior of mankind! He is the only God and He died in our place as the substitute for the sins of the ones who would believe in Him, and He suffered the death we should suffer. The old testament puts it this way, “It pleased God The Father to CRUSH The Son.” Jesus was crushed (Put to Death) by His Father for us!!! And He was Pleased to do it! So I just wanted to preface my answer to this question with some of the Gospel Message.

So here is the question and my answer as it stated in The Word of God. I feel this is not my opinion but what God has said in His Word. So here we go.

Question: Is it okay for a Christian to Gamble at Pool?  Answer:  No!!!    Absolutely not!!!   The question should be Is it okay for a Christian to Gamble. But since we are billiards based here at AZ Billiards I want to answer it from that perspective. I am totally convinced biblically, there is no way a true Christian can justify Gambling at pool. It is totally inconsistent with being a Christian, plain and simple. Now there will be some so-called christians who come along and say, “I am a christian, and I gamble.” I have had that situation come up before. It’s really an attack on me most of the time.(Really an attack on Christ because it attacks the Bible) They are saying “I know you quit gambling because you are a Christian, but I gamble,(And I’m a christian) so it doesn’t matter if you gamble as a christian because I am doing it so that makes it okay.” The standard they are using is their own standard. It’s their own morality and not God’s. So right there is the fatal flaw to begin with. Just because someone claims to be a Christian and really believes they are a Christian, that should validate gambling to be okay for a Christian. These so-called Christians in their minds really believe it’s okay to gamble and they have justified it in their own mind. The bible says, “There is a way that seems right unto a man, but the ends thereof are the ways of death.”  Also, “Every man does what is right in his own eyes.” You had better look deeply into your own heart and make absolutely sure you are a true Christian as defined in the Bible. Judge your salvation by the standards of Christ and not by your own standards. Don’t go by what you are thinking a Christian is by using your own standards. I am not trying to discourage anyone about their salvation If It Is  Real. But I would call anyone who claims they belong to Christ to see if they are real! Paul even said, “Examine yourself to see if you are in the faith.” Emphasis added! Also please read Matthew 7:21-23 where it says, “On that Day Many will say to Me  Lord, Lord, And I will say to them, I never knew you, depart from Me you workers of iniquity.” Also the other argument is, “Well everything in life is a Gamble.” That is a very common argument and it could have some merit. BUT when you bring that argument up to the light of scripture it holds no water!!!  In reality Nothing is a Gamble! Everything is in The hands of God Almighty! He determines every outcome! He determines what happens to you and life is not a gamble in that sense. He is sovereign over all things and over all people. Nothing happens by chance and nothing escapes His notice. He knows all things before they happen and He has ordained all things to be for His Glory. He has TOTAL CONTROL of the elements and He holds you in His hands!  But let’s look at it from the human side. There is a difference between Gambling and taking a risk. Gambling is just that, Gambling. It is leaving whatever it is up to chance. It is something that you have no control over. It’s like rolling the dice and hoping for a 7. It’s like hoping for your number to come out on the roulette wheel. It’s like hoping for Black Jack so you can beat the dealer. It’s like flipping a coin for all you have in your pocket and hoping heads comes up when you call heads. This is definitely Gambling. It’s just silliness. It is childish and foolish. It takes no intelligence and intellect to do these things. You just let it go and hope for the best.  Let me give you an example. I was in Vegas years ago when I was very young and not a Christian. I was with John Ditoro. We were at the dice table. I bet 100 dollars on the pass line and lost. I did it again and lost. The whole time I felt like I should bet the don’t pass line but I didn’t. I bet the pass line 12 times (1200 lost so far) in a row and on the 13th. time I bet the don’t pass. Now I am not superstitious, but I do believe in God and Satan. This is right before I quit Gambling and gave my life to Christ! Well you can guess what happened. It passes, and I lose again. Don’t you think I was in the grasp of Satan and God was telling me something. And by the way, they don’t call double 1’s Snake Eyes for nothing LOl.  So that is Gambling in the truest sense. But the other side is taking a risk. There are many things in life that have a risk attached to them. You get in your car and drive down the street. That is taking a risk. You eat at a restaurant. That is taking a risk. You get on an airplane and hope you don’t crash. That is taking a risk. You go to a doctor and hope he gives you the right diagnosis. That is taking a risk. So many things require risk taking. These things are more to do with intelligent decision making. It is just part of life and God knows this. He has built into all things the element of risk. It is really a test of our faith in Him. We need to trust Him with all of our decisions. We need to have faith in our risks. A risk is logical and ordinary. We need not fear risk and we need to replace our fear of risk with trust in Him to protect us.

So here are some reasons I know it is wrong for a Christian to Gamble at pool.  1.  It takes the emphasis off of trusting Christ to provide and puts our trust in ourselves to provide. It makes us the ruler of our own lives. It says God is not my provider but I am. I am a self made man. I can do it all on my own. It exalts ego and pride. It’s really from the Devil and from his way of thinking. It’s self-reliant and has no faith at all in the true God. It’s telling God, “I don’t need you, I am the determiner of my destiny and I will provide for myself.” It slaps God in the face!  Let me just add at this point a very good scripture to point this out. It’s in Matthew 4. This is when Satan tempts Christ after 40 days of fasting. Satan comes to Christ and says, “IF You are the Son of God, turn these stones into bread.”  Jesus replied, “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every Word that comes out of the mouth of God.” This is the temptation Satan used. Satan said If, which already is trying to cast doubt in the mind of Christ. If you are the Son of God you can do this miracle and turn the stones into bread. You’re hungry and you need some satisfaction. God has forsaken You and you need to take action, (On Your Own!!!) NOW!!!!   He was telling Christ to provide for Himself and don’t wait on God’s provision!!! Take the will of God into Your own hands. Don’t trust God’s providence, but trust in your own power and ability!!! This is the way Satan comes to us every time. He tempts us to be self reliant. He wants us to do it on our own. Gambling is geared to that end. It makes us satisfied with our accomplishments and our achievements. Trust me i know because i did it for years. I know the attitude it has. I know the larceny I had in my heart and the greed that goes along with it. Trust me I’ve been there.  So the point of the temptation of Christ was for Christ to distrust His Father and to rely on Himself. Christ told Satan, “God will feed Me when he is ready. He will give me first place when HE is ready!!!

2. It is breaking the commandment of God that says “Love your neighbor as yourself.”   If I Gamble, I am trying to win, at all costs. I do not care about you, I only care about me. It creates an attitude of selfishness and pride and ego. Again this is a Satanic attitude. It all comes from below the Bible says.  Gambling does not exalt God and Humility. Gambling says I want to win and I am the only one that matters! It is also harmful to your neighbor. It hurts them and makes them feel inferior to you. I remember when I used to lose at pool years ago how empty I felt. I was always so sad. I felt so alone and lost. This is what Gambling promotes. It is not healthy and helpful. It only does damage to others.

3. It is illegal.  Gambling as you know is illegal in most places. It is frowned upon by many people. It is against the law of the land and a Christian has no business breaking the law.

4. Just as a follow up to the last reason. It will ruin your testimony. I would have absolutely No Testimony to the world if I gambled. I could never really tell anyone with any authenticity that Jesus loves them and He can change your life if I was a Gambler. How can He change your life if He can’t change mine??? We are to be His witnesses and we are to be an example to others. Jesus said, “Let your light shine so that men may see your good works and glorify your Father Who is in Heaven.”  We are to let the Light of Christ shine and we are His Ambassadors to reach the world. How can we do that if we are no different than the world? We are Light and we are Not Darkness anymore!!! We have been delivered from the kingdom of Satan and we have been translated into the Kingdom of His (God) dear Son!!! We are not to have any fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness but rather we are to reprove them. So as a Christian we are to not gamble and we need to be separate from the world.

5. Another reason I believe we are not to Gamble is because it is bad stewardship.  We are to take care of all that God has entrusted to us. The Bible says, “A steward is to be found Faithful.” We need to rule our house well and take care of all He has given us in this life. If we just take His Money and His resources and just throw it away at the wind, we are being bad stewards. We will be held accountable for the way we handle money. How you handle God’s money is a very strong indicator of your spiritual condition. You know the saying, “Little is much when God is in it.” This is very true. It’s better to have little with righteousness than to have much with unrighteousness. I would rather die poor and end up in heaven, instead of rich and end up in Hell. I’m not saying God doesn’t want us to have money and nice things. But I am saying it’s the love of money that condemns us. It’s our attitude towards money that is the key. You can have very little and love it and have very much and hate it. It’s all perspective. Jesus said to beware of the love of money.

6. One other reason I think it is wrong is because of the time it consumes. If you waste hours on end in the pool room and endeavor to be rich, you are wasting the time God has given you and you are throwing it away. The Bible says,“Walk circumspectly, redeeming the time for the days are evil.” Why would we want to dishonor God by wasting much of our time in the pool room trying to make more money? The time He has given us is His time and it is allocated to us to use it wisely. God will judge us for a misuse of His time. I know it takes practice to be a champion, but I feel we should think it through and count the cost. I would rather live for Him and use my time to reach others for Christ than to waste lots of time in the pool room. We need to play but we should spend our time wisely. It’s really a judgment call on our part as God leads us differently. We need to pray and ask God for His wisdom in this matter.

7. One more thing. It was kind of already mentioned in the other answers. The Bible says, “Let him who stole, steal no more, But let him work with his hands that which is good so he can help the one who has a need.”  I no longer steal as a Christian. Now if I make money in a tournament or do an exhibition or a lesson, I can have resources to be able to help those in need. I no longer steal from people but I can be a giver instead of a taker. Now I don’t make enemies, but I make friends. I hope the only enemies I have are from opposition to the Gospel and not by what I do in my life. I want to live a life that glorifies Christ and exalts His Name.

8. Lastly. I just want to point this out. And thank you for your patience with me on this matter. I know it’s a long letter, but it is very important that we address these matters and issues from God’s perspective. Some are going to come along and say, ” You are playing in tournaments. Isn’t That gambling??????  Well the best answer to that is this. It is definitely a different approach. There is definitely a difference in tournament play and a Gambling match.  People say How so? I feel biblically it is like a competition. A tournament is upfront and honest. Yes people do pay an entry fee. They do have to try to win to make money. They do have to travel to get there. Yes, all those things are true. Mostly everything we do is based on competition. Life itself is competitive. Capitalism is based on earning a living more than the next guy. People are always trying to make better products. Everyone is trying to better themselves. Biblically this is even true. The Apostle Paul said, “We all run in a race and only one of us is going to win the prize.” He even said, “Strive for the mastery.” He was saying, if you run, Run To Win. Don’t settle for second place. Even Paul affirmed competition and the need to win.  Even Jesus in a parable said, “The last will be first and the first will be last.”  Also if a man sets out to build a temple doesn’t he count the cost of how much it will cost. We operate on competition. Even when we get to heaven we will have a full reward or not a full reward.  So look at it this way in a tournament. Just say there wasn’t an entry fee, but you have to get there to play. it would still cost you expenses to put out of pocket. So it is costing you either way. So that is my closing argument, Lol     One more little story that happened one day. I was having a disagreement with someone at a tournament who wasn’t a Christian and this issue came up. The guy was saying, “Oh, a tournament is just like Gambling.” A friend of mine defended me and said, “No it isn’t! And he was emphatic!!! There is a difference between a tournament and Gambling! This friend of mine was not a Christian either and yet he understood the difference between the two.

I hope this helps clear up some issues. Love Tommy