To Gamble or Not to Gamble?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

“But godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6 KJV).

Should a Christian play the lottery and/or gamble? Today’s Scripture and its context shed some light on the subject.

In our materialistic world, “gain is godliness” (verse 5). If a church has thousands of members, it is automatically assumed that God must be working there. If someone is financially successful, it is commonly understood that God must be blessing him or her. In light of Scripture, however, material riches and prosperity can be the result of—or even lead to—ungodliness.

With the United States’ Powerball jackpot at $550 million, Americans are scrambling to purchase tickets. These consumers claim that if they win, they will quit their jobs, buy new houses and cars, take vacations, and help their families and friends. These plans are noble and appealing to our flesh, but gambling just does not agree with the Scriptures.

Remember the warnings of 1 Timothy 6:6-10: “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

The Christian is cautioned not to be deceived and swept away by the “love of money.” We live in a world that uses currency, so we cannot avoid money. Money is not sinful; loving it is sinful, and it will lead to other sins (murder, greed, extortion, et cetera). There is nothing sinful about wanting material possessions. However, it is sin when the desire to purchase them consumes and controls us (“I will have it, and I will do whatever it takes to get it!”). Furthermore, if we want material possessions, the Bible says “work,” not gamble, to purchase them (2 Thessalonians 3:6-15).

Let us spend our (technically, God’s) cash wisely, and not waste it on gambling.