Sharing The Light – Question 1 July 2021 Part One

This month we begin with our question and answer(s) program. This is part one of their replies. Watch next week for Steve Lilllis’ answer.

Question #1, July 2021:

Is it okay for a Christian to gamble at pool? 

Mike Massey

Mike Massey:

All you have to do is ask Jesus, and he will let you know.

Check your heart out and see what the motives are. Is it greed, coveting something someone else has? Is it your ego wanting recognition from others to show them you’re a better player (vain glory)? Do you want to match up and get the upper edge and take advantage of someone? Is it because you think it will make you a better player by playing under pressure for money? Is the game boring to you if nothing is on the line?

All of these motives are of the flesh which brings death to your spirit instead of joy.

If it’s another Christian brother or sister you want to gamble with, and you need the money, just ask them for it, and if they have it to gamble with, they should give it to you. That’s what we are suppose to do when we’re in need.

If it’s not a Christian, and you want to witness to him about Jesus, I don’t think he’ll want to listen to you after you take his money.

In the past I’ve gone against the spirit and gambled, and had no peace. I’ve also participated in Calcutta’s, which I believe are wrong. It’s been a long time since I’ve gambled one on one, and I’m going to quit participating in Calcutta’s.

You’ve got to realize everything I’m saying is foolishness to the world. But if you’re a Christian, you are no longer of the world and have to hate your life in the world to gain it. The world cannot know God. Satan is the God of the world. 

If you go to your pastor, he will tell you the same thing I’m saying, and should be able to show you scriptures.

Robin Bell (File photo courtesy of Diana Hoppe – Pool Pics by Hoppe)

Robin Dodson:

For me, God has made it crystal clear I would bring him more Glory if I did not. It was one of my first opportunities to give Him a real grateful shot out. This is my story.

Story #16 – The Gypsy Boys

One afternoon, I took my young son to a nearby playground. I had also taken my Bible to read while he played.  As I lay on a blanket watching Robert and the other kids play, I thought, “This is a great day!”  I felt an overwhelming love for all the kids and started to put down my Bible to go play with them. As I started to get up, I felt a strong stirring inside and knew I was supposed to read.  There would be plenty of time to play later.

The Bible was very new to me. I had read it before but never really understood what it said until that day. As I read, two verses popped out so powerfully that I got a pen and underlined them. This was the first time I felt God using the Bible to talk to me; and the first time I ever underlined anything in it.

I had just started helping a friend by working at the House of Billiards in Los Angeles (It was more like he was helping me).   Fresh off drugs, the work was keeping my mind and idle hands busy.  

Although I had not been playing pool every day, I was still a strong player and found myself really enjoying the game again.  As I was shooting pool before my shift started, this guy walked up to my table.  I knew he was one of the Gypsy boys who hung around the pool room. My pool savvy and years of being around hustlers told me this guy was a total sucker. 

He asked, “Hey, you want to shoot for some money?”  I had been watching him shoot a couple tables down from mine and I knew I would ROB him!  But instead of saying, YES!  I told him that I did not gamble!  Mentally, I was still in a gambling mind set so, trust me, when I heard myself say those three words, it was weird!  It was like hearing the Fonz say, “I’m sorry.” It was a pool player’s dream comes true – I could have busted the room!  I thought to myself, “What an awful time to quit gambling!”

He continued to watch me hit balls and, probably realizing he would have been in way over his head if he had played me, he came up with a new idea. “Hey, Robin, how about you play, and I’ll do the gambling?  I will stake you. Everyone in here has money and we’ll make a huge score!”  I told him I knew I could beat him and his friends, but I could not play for money – his or mine. I explained that I had just become a Christian and not gambling was just one way I could thank God for saving my life. I added I loved Jesus more than his money.

My shift had started, and I was behind the counter. Three of the Gypsies came up, ordered drinks, and started chatting with me. They asked me questions about my being a Christian – not questions of interest but more of doubt. I was able to answer the first guy’s question because I had just read about it that afternoon.  It was the first verse I had underlined in my Bible. The second guy also had a question and, once again, I had the answer. Yes, it was the second verse I had underlined, and then came the clincher. The third Gypsy said, “Well, I don’t know about all that, but I know one thing. God can’t get a heroin addict off heroin!” Blown away by what he had said, I pulled up my sleeve, revealing tracks still fresh on my arm, and said, “Yes, He can!”

Those Gypsy boys probably thought I was a Bible scholar.  Little did they know that I had just shared everything I knew from the Bible – two verses!  I was not sure about them, but for me, it was a WOW – and I never forgot it.

Nick Mannino

Nick Mannino:

Some Christians think it’s ok, but I think about how guilty I felt, especially when playing for a lot of money, when I won and watched my opponent looking down and sometimes angry. I know the feeling all too well.  I think of what effect it would have on a Christian’s witness?  I played a tournament in Ohio. Warming up prior to the event a player asked me if I wanted to play nine ball for a couple dollars a rack. I asked him if he considered that gambling and he said no, so I accommodated him.  Even though I won, no one got hurt. I still didn’t like the way it made me feel. My conscience tells me not to gamble.   Thank you!  Nick