Hedging Your Bet
By: Jay Cookingham

There are times my children will try to “hedge their bet” with their parental units. They will, on the sly, ask both of us the same question, hoping they will receive the answer of their dreams from at least one of us. If by chance one such unit says yes to their request, in their minds they’re covered! So they can go merrily on their way to enjoy themselves doing whatever clearance they believe they have.

To "hedge your bet" simply means to protect yourself against a possible loss. It is a term commonly used in financial markets and the betting world. Here’s what I mean, in times of economic uncertainty the experts of high finance always recommend the purchase of precious metals, namely…gold. A gold bar or two, coins, teeth (well, maybe not teeth), investing in gold is the classic hedge—financial protection—against a falling market. A gambler would probably say that wagering on several horses rather than just one is the classic hedge—bookie protection—against having a “bad day at the races”.

We get this strange phrase from our old European friends across the ocean. The early farmers of northern Europe planted hedges to serve as fences and barriers to their land. Over the years the phrase came to be used in connection with many different kinds of safeguards. Hedging can also describe the action of a person trying to dodge personal loss by avoiding making direct promises and solid commitments. The theory is that while they won’t get close to anyone this way, they won’t get hurt either. Ironically, it’s a theory that leads to a deeper hurt and keeps one from becoming all they were meant to be.

Recently in the news was a story about an individual who liquidated all he owned, went to a casino in Vegas and gambled it all (approximately $138,000) on one spin of a roulette wheel.
His one spin landed on red 7, the color he bet on, and He walked away with $270,600.
He took a huge risk, he bet all he had for a chance at something more. Now, I not recommending selling our worldly goods to bet on the next Kentucky Derby but we could use some of that same daring in service for the Kingdom. First liquidating ourselves of fear and wager on what is a sure thing, a deep relationship with the Father. There is no chance of rolling snake eyes with the Father, it’s not a gamble to place oneself in His care. The amount of risk we take with the Father will definitely reflect on how we “lay it on the line” with others. Sure, taking a chance exposes us to the possibility of failure, defeat or some kind of injury (or possibly all three!). Yet, some people will jump out of perfectly good airplanes just for the thrill of it all, but will shy away from the total commitment of “love one another” that the Lord commands for us to do.

“This is my commandment, that you love one another, even as I have loved you.” John 15:12

Deep relationships are costly, but we need to bet all we have on them, the Father did. He took the greatest risk in loving us. Hedging our bets in regard to genuine relationships may protect us from some pain but the price is lost intimacy and shallow connections with people that we say we love. It comes down to an issue of trust in the sovereignty of the Lord over my life. Will I trust that I am the spiritual leader of my house and act accordingly? Will I serve with conviction the local body of believers where God has placed me? Can I believe whole heartily that the Father also set me in a workplace to minister, not just perform some mundane functions? Will I love Him with all my heart, all my mind, all my spirit—with everything I am—and dive into a wellspring of trust that will fuel the rest of my life?

The early church had a group of people called "the parabolani” the gamblers, the name was taken from the Greek word “paraboleusethai”, a gambling expression that meant to chance everything on the roll of the dice. Their call was to visit the prisoners and the sick, especially those who were ill with dangerous and infectious diseases. The church needs us to be like the parabolania, the gamblers, the risk-takers…loving and serving with all we have.