The Gambler

You know what? You can find wisdom anywhere. Today, I found it in a Kenny Rogers song. The chorus to the song says this:

You gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away and know when to run…

I believe that the above chorus line holds so much treasure for us students of life. When it comes to anything or anyone, you gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away and know when to run. Notice that the song says that you gotta know. Not your momma, your daddy, best friend or pastor, you have to know that it’s time to leave that man or that friend or that thing behind. This is a piece of wisdom that must be activated in every person. This reminds of a popular Bible story. Take a look:

On the day following, when they had come away from Bethnay, He was hungry. And seeing in the distance a fig tree with leaves, He went to see if He could find any fruit on it, but when He came up to it, He found nothing but leaves, for the fig season had not yet come. And He said to it, no one ever again shall eat fruit from you…” Mark 11:12-14 [AMP]

How many times in life have we come to the fig tree and it was barren? Or let me put it another way. How many times have we gone to that best friend in time of need? Hungry for understanding, rest or comfort and they were barren? How many times have we stayed at churches that have long since stopped ministering to us, yet we continue to sit on auxiliaries and boards, continue to tithe and give offerings? No matter how many seeds you plant in the sand, they will never yield you a crop. You are then wasting your time and your seed as this next biblical story shows us:

And He told them this parable: a certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came looking for fruit on it, but did not find [any]. So he said to the vinedresser, See here! For these three years, I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree and I find none. Cut it down! Why should it continue also to use up the ground? Luke 13:6-7 [AMP]

I can see this fig tree hiding and blending in among the other trees in the vineyard. But praise God because one day, we’ll recognize it for what it is! A waste. We will get tired of seeing no results from our continuous efforts. We will get tired of giving, giving, giving and not getting, getting, getting. We will get tired of casting our pearls before swine. Now, let’s get back to the Kenny Roger’s song! It still has more to tell us.

One other line in the song says this:

Now every gambler knows that the secret to survivin’ is knowin’ what to throw away and knowin’ what to keep. ‘Cause every hand is a winner and every hand is a loser and the best that you can hope for is to die in your sleep.

From this, we can hear Kenny saying, “Play your hand.” Stop grieving over your hand and just play it. You may not have the Ace of Spade, but play what you’ve got! You may not have had a mother or a father to care about or nurture you the way that you needed, but take up your bed and walk. Work what’s in your hand. God has given all of us something. Every one at the table has a hand. Some great and some crappy, but you’re still in the game! Just play your hand.

Notice the above verse credits the secret to surviving [in business, relationships, etc] as knowing what to throw away and knowing what to keep. My, my! How poignant and how true! I’ve seen women keep a worthless man and then their own worth goes right down the tubes. I’ve seen people, being illogically loyal to company stock and then lose their money. I’ve even seen people committed to a façade of convenience and comfort that they call a marriage lose all credibility and even lose who they are [sense of self]. Perhaps, life’s all a big roulette wheel and it’s up to you what you’re willing to gamble with. Some people gamble with their self-worth [letting a man or a job or even a church depreciate [put you down] you. If you’re not appreciating me, you’re depreciating me. It is only one or the other. The bottom line is: it is up to each of us to survey our lives and determine what is worth keeping and what needs to go.

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