Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Gamblers for Jesus
Did you know that there was a class of people during the early days of the church known for their risk taking? They were called the “parabolani.” They voluntarily undertook the care of the sick and the burial of the dead. They received their name from the fact that they risked their lives (paraballesthai ten zoen) in exposing themselves to contagious diseases. The Greek word behind the phrase "risking his life" is paraboleuesthai. It is a rare word related to gambling. William Barclay says it means to stake everything on a throw of the dice. It is also related to the word parabolani, the gamblers. These were Christian men and women in the early church who risked their lives visiting prisoners and those with infectious diseases and burying those who died of illness. There is ministry outside the church unto a sick and hungry world, waiting for Parabolani who will make themselves available to God and say, "Lord, here I am. You equip me, give me everything I need. There is then no excuse why I cannot be available to you for this need."