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The Reno Principle


Reno, Nevada ("The Biggest Little City in the World") was built on faith. Millions of dollars pour into the city every day from games like Keno, where casinos offer to pay $50,000 on a $1 bet if people can pick the correct 10 numbers (out of 80 possible numbers) that will be drawn at random. Theoretically, gamblers could pick the correct ten numbers twice in a row, and by leaving the winnings from the original $1 bet in the game, they could own all of Reno in ten minutes. This is a genuine risk that the casinos are prepared to take. (Keno is not 'fixed'.)

Faith in the odds


The gambling bosses have faith in the odds. Sometimes the odds are stacked only 55/45 in their favour. They lose occasionally, but over time it all comes back, and more. The risk is really infinitely small compared to the certainty of them winning in the end.

Jesus told about people being given money to invest. One person buried the money to keep it safe; but he was punished for it. People who are afraid to take risks never get anywhere. It's foolish to gamble when the odds are stacked against you. But there are plenty of places where a profit of some sort can be almost guaranteed, like it is for the casino owners in Reno.

We could be wrong


Jesus wasn't talking about making money when he told this story. He was talking about spiritual investments, which (like other investments) are rarely foolproof. Often we're only 60% or 70% certain about what God wants. We could be wrong. Yet if we keep trying, we're going to make progress, and God will reward us for it. This is the Reno Principle: Faithfulness will pay big dividends in the end.

The Kingdom of Heaven (the biggest little kingdom in the universe) is built on the same principle. You win a few and you lose a few, but you always win more than you lose if you keep on playing.

Religion, however, is built on the burial principle... that it is safer to do nothing than to risk making a mistake. The church is full of spiritual losers who stopped listening to God because they could not get 100% clarity. Poor fools! They have committed spiritual suicide because they could not face the risk of being spiritually alive and active!

We never lose


Romans 8:28 says that everything turns out good to those who love and follow God. It doesn't mean we never have difficulties or make mistakes, but overall, we never lose. The difficulties and mistakes are eventually matched by greater pleasures and greater triumphs... simply because we keep on trying to love and obey God.

You don't need a perfect record to win the kingdom; you just need to keep acting on what God gives you, even if it's not 100% clear.

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