All In

Going “all in” is a term coming out of playing poker, so it is a strange idiom to use talking about having an impact for the kingdom in your community or around the world. However, it just happens to perfectly convey the level of commitment required to serve God wholeheartedly.

When a gambler goes “all in,” they are risking everything they have left on the current hand they are playing. There is no turning back, no expected reimbursement, no “plan B.” They either win the hand, or they are out of the game.

The risk is easy to see and feel. In gambling, there is no certainty, no assurance that your confidence will be rewarded in victory. In fact, when a player goes “all in,” it is usually a move of desperation; it’s their last chance effort to stay in the game.

The Ultimate “All In”

Jesus went “all in” for us on the cross. His prayer in the garden helps us understand just how much anxiety and anguish were involved. He prayed for hours, repeatedly asking God if there was another way. His sweat in the ordeal was like drops of blood. He was alone and facing torture and death for people far from the path, enemies of the kingdom, in fact. Can you visualize him at the end of it all, pushing his chips to the center of the table and saying, “not my will, but yours be done?” “I’m all in with your plan.”

All Jesus asks of us is that we follow in his footsteps, that we love others as he loves us. He assures us that he is with us all the way. He is still “all in” for us. Should we not make every effort to be “all in” for him?

“All In” for Jesus

This is not easy to say or do. We are selfish people, used to getting our way. When we sacrifice for God, we want it on our terms. To relate back to the poker metaphor, we are willing to wager our lives when the odds look good, and when we stand to gain in the end. This is 180 degrees from where we need to be, and I am sure that the Holy Spirit is working in you to change this just as he is working in me for the same result.

What should we do? Commit to laying ourselves down on the altar, going “all in” for Jesus, at the start of every day, the end of every day, and all the times in between. This is what Jesus meant by “seek first the kingdom.” Kingdom priorities must direct us. The fruit of the Spirit must be our focus.

We are in this together. Let’s encourage each other daily to live like Jesus, to be “all in” for the kingdom, just like him.

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