Jun 5, 2012

A burst of joy

I don’t play the nickel slot machines. I tried it in the past, but I never won anything. I have come to agree with those who call these monsters, “one-armed bandits”. Besides, it’s pure luck. I’d like to think that it was my skill that caused the winning. Is there any casino game where you win on skill alone? I don’t know of any.

But more than luck or skill was with Gary Hoffman back in August, 2007. He was playing the nickel slot machines at Sandia Resort and Casino in New Mexico when he pulled the fortunate 7-7-7. (I wonder if the slot machine manufacturers know of the Biblical nuances to this number?) Then came the real thrill. The machine said that his winnings would be $1.6 million! This is pretty good for a slot machine that has a maximum posted winning of $2,500. Apparently, it was an error in the computer coding. Oops.

For a short time, Hoffman thought he was in seventh heaven. Patrons and casino employees came to congratulate him. He even got a marriage proposal! But shortly thereafter, he was summoned to the executive conference room. The hotel said it would not pay. After arguing with the casino owners, Mr. Hoffman took them to court. After a long court battle and several appeals, it appears that Mr. Hoffman will not be receiving the money.

I can’t even imagine the raw emotions that must have occurred in Hoffman’s mind. When we get really excited, our brains emit chemicals that make us feel really happy. In normal situations, these chemicals are absorbed into the brain and life goes back to normal. But having these chemicals in your brain and then learning that you are not a winner… I’m sure it wasn’t easy.

No matter what, he can at least know what it’s like to win a million dollars… even if it was for only a short time.

Now most of us will never win this much. But we have been given something than a casino could ever give. We have been new life in Jesus Christ. That is something that can never be taken away from us!


Pastor David Hook

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