Does anyone agree with me that playing the lottery is a sin?

(Curran Harms) #1

Playing the lottery is sinful to me. You basically win other people’s money from them that they threw away and lost. Nothing in scripture supports it. Its kind of a tough issue for some of my friends to agree with. But if anyone disagrees I would like to know?

(Matt Western) #2

If the question was asked ‘Is playing the lottery the way a wise steward is to manage money?’ I could certainly say it’s very unwise. Christians are called to be wise stewards of money, time and talents.

I have in the past traded forex (in small amounts), and had a discussion with some others about where the line is between wise investment vs just speculative gambling. I tried trading some stocks and found it boring after a while.

If someone asked me is trading forex gambling, I would have to respond that the emotions that it raised within me of fear, greed that it turned into gambling. Other traders who could be much more disciplined than me may make a living out of it. For me it was unwise and took me at least 4-5 years to realize it wasn’t for me. Thankfully I didn’t lose too much money, just lost a lot of time I could have been spending with my family. You only get one shot at being a parent so in retrospect I feel a little sad about time wasted staring at a screen instead of being with my wife and daughter.

I think if someone asked me point blank at say church, I would have to also take into account the weaker brother principle as well as part of my answer (Romans 14).

For me personally I would say yes gambling is a sin. It’s a waste of the resources I’ve been entrusted to manage (money, time, family relationships, talents).

All that aside it’s just plain silly from a logical point of view with the odds of most lotteries being something like 40 million to one (at least in Australia). The other thing I find a little sad is when lottery winners’ lives are destroyed by too much money. I’ve never heard yet of a person who was benefited over the long term and could control managing such a windfall of money. It usually destroys families who all want a cut of the money.

Just a few thoughts… hopefully useful ones. :slight_smile:

This might be of interest too:
https://connect.rzim.org/t/tricky-questions-about-gambling/13164

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(Curran Harms) #3

@matthew.western Wonderful answer :slight_smile: I really appreciate your personal story in the response to. I have head this issue brought up by Pastor Erwin Luther from Moody Church in Chicago on the radio and the issue spread to my friends and family in the small group and it was amazing to see everyone kind of reevaluate themselves over going to the gas station to buy a lotto ticket. I think sometimes in life we get accustomed to things and forget they are even sinful and we need that reminder that they are. God bless @matthew.western

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(Matt Western) #4

I’m glad it was a little helpful… :slight_smile::slight_smile:

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(Jean Daniel Slabbert) #5

I couldn’t agree more @matthew.western. Thank you for these comments.

@Curran_Harms have a look at the link that Matt shared above. I had similar questions about gambling and the lotto. The feedback given there gave me some great insight into the matter

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(Jan Greeff) #6

Yes I would agree with what has been said and would like to add that one of the most basic and important principles of Christian life is to learn to depend on the Lord and to trust Him for all our needs. In fact, one of His promises to His followers is that He knows what we need even before we ask.

If what we are doing is in His will, we can rely on Him to also provide the material needs to do it. A good example is the mercy ships, born from a God-given vision to reach many unsaved people in poor countries by providing medical services. The ships, equipment and manpower are all provided as those who prayerfully rely on God’s provision carry on doing their ministry.

By buying a lottery ticket, we would be relying on the off chance of winning the prize. To me this is a direct contradiction of the principle of relying on the One who knows all our needs, is in total control of the world and is able to provide everything that we may ever need.

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(Mark Langham) #7

An interesting question and one I have pondered myself.

If we could weigh happiness and disappointment the small amounts of individual disappointment felt by the millions who do not win would greatly outweigh the happiness felt by the winners.

Then if the reasons for playing is the desire for wealth and security, does that mean one is not trusting in the Lord to provide all one needs? Further more is one loving mamon more than God?

Although God could use this as channel to provide much needed money to those in need. I can testify to this myself.
One day I was dropping off some dry cleaning at the newsagents and noticed the sign for the lotto. I felt the Holy Spirit wanted me to by a ticket but at that time I thought it was just me in my own head. I left the shop and headed back to the car but before I could get in I had a very clear unmistakable word of “Go back now and buy a ticket”. So I did, and as I was standing in the queue I had a further word of “You do know of course that you are going to give it all away?” Anyway a few days later I do of course have a small win and praying I was given a name of a member of our church who was in financial hardship and who was grateful for a little help.

So to answer your question, I think that the lottery is a tool of the deceiver to create greed and disappointment, however God in his glory and power can turn use this for his own purposes to bring a help where it is required. He will tell you if He wants you to buy a ticket, otherwise you could just use the money to buy lunch for a homeless person.

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(Matt Western) #8

So true, if we ask ‘is the outcome of the lottery a surprise to God?’, of course the answer is no.

He has promised to work all things together for good to them that love Him (Romans 8:28). I doubt the ‘good’ is just health wealth and material gain and a bigger screen TV. :slight_smile:

Perhaps when I observe a person on the news that wins the lottery, and the money destroys their family, it’s part of the ‘why suffering’ or ‘what purpose is the suffering’ question. Perhaps a person’s love of money has ruled them their whole life, and winning a lottery and seeing that money can’t buy happiness might be what gets their attention about life’s meaning and what’s really important. A lot of the celebrities when they are honest tell us money and fame is empty. How God uses the winning or losing of lottery money might be a huge mystery that we’ll never know.

Exactly as you say, is money the root of all evil? no, money is just a tool. it’s the love of money that’s the root of all evil. It’s not possible to love God and love Money.

This is why I think the question is complicated - and needs to take into account the weaker brother principal mentioned in Romans 14. If course, the question always on my mind with the weaker brother principle is ‘am I the weaker brother, when I think I’m the stronger brother?’.

We need to ask ourselves what is the root problem of the heart of ourselves when we love money. Envy of others that seem to be doing better than ourselves, thinking that fast money is a shortcut to where we want to be in life etc etc.

even typing this is forcing me to confront the root heart issues of even where I’m at!! sometimes it feels like when you share on this forum, and even as you type you are convicted by your own words!!

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