Two poor fools named Joe and Clyde decided to take what little money they had to a casino in hopes of reversing their fortunes. They put all they had together and decided to play a simple dice game. Joe bet a third of their money on 6 and rolled the die. The die came up 3 and they lost the money.
“You idiot!” said Clyde, “You should have bet on 3!”
Undeterred, Joe pulled out another third of their money and bet on 4. He blew on the die, rolled it, and it came up 5.
“Moron!” shouted Clyde, “Why didn’t you bet on 5?”
Frustrated, Joe took the remaining third of their money and bet on 5. He rolled the die, closed his eyes, and when he opened them saw that the die had come up 6.
Clyde snorted. “6. You should have bet on 6.”
The two poor fools walked out the casino sadly, having spent all their money with nothing to show for it. Joe, especially was sad. He turned to Clyde and lamented:
“If only I’d listened to you, we’d be rich!”
Hindsight is, as they say, 20-20. As this humorous parable shows us, it is easy to look back on past decisions and think we know what we could have done or should have done but there is something circular and self-defeating in that kind of thinking. The person who made those decisions does not have the same wisdom and experience as the person who now looks back and regrets them. All we can do is learn from our mistakes and move forward. The lesson Joe and Clyde should have learned from their misadventure is that it is foolish to gamble with all their money. Instead, they decided that their error was choosing the wrong numbers. Wisdom is not looking back and knowing what choices we should have made, it is looking at ourselves and learning the hard lessons that will keep us from making the same foolish choices in the future. As disciples, we’re called to repent of our past failings and to move forward with transformed lives. We are not called to stay locked into the same foolish cycles, choosing different numbers.
Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear…