|I grew up in a Southern
Baptist Church. I never heard
gambling discussed, but was aware it was frowned on. Never heard why.
As I grew up in Washington State, I watched it develop into a gambling
society. The Lottery started. Churches, police, social organizations
raffled 'for a good cause'. Elderly ladies got together for Pinochle
and bingo. Men regularly played cards for money. People looked forward
to vacations in Reno or Vegas. I watched casinos become legal in
Washington, and the epidemic only seemed to increase. Seeing this, I
looked to see if God's people would challenge this invading evil. I
went to the Christian bookstore. I searched the social issues books. I
saw the major problems books, I looked all over. Nothing. I checked
with the sales person and found they didn't have books available to
order on gambling! At another Christian bookstore, the sales lady
remembered there once being a book on the subject, but upon checking,
it was out of print. Not enough Christians were interested in the right
and wrong of the issue. It wasn't worth publisher's investing to supply
Christian bookstores with even one book on the subject! That turns my
One day I was in a used bookstore and found a book on the subject. It
was a good book. It pointed out with actual figures, research
information, and history the iniquity that lines the gambling industry
and shattered the arguments of Lotteries helping states. It showed we
always lose in the not-so-long run. It pointed out gamblings usually
brought in on the back of the church for 'good causes'. Doesn't say
much for us does it? Many of the national landmark churches in this
country were built with gambling money. The book outlined scriptural
principals against gambling. It also had two chapters that were
reprints of articles from Christian magazines (different authors),
outlining the same principals.
Before reading the book, I figured out what principals were involved in
the issue. The three other authors and I agreed in our evaluation. The
principals involved in a nutshell are:
I) Improper stewardship.
II) Gaining at someone else's expense.
III) No productive by-product.
IV) An artificial risk prompted by greed.
I) Improper Stewardship
As Christians, we're owned by the Lord. What we have and do is to be to
7 For none of us liveth
to himself, and no man dieth to himself. 8 For
whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto
the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.
As Christians, all we have is held as ours by trust
of wise usage. Tell
me, do you think Christ would approve of your using your allotance, of
fun money even, pursuing of an endeavor you'll gain in only at someone
else's expense? The answer's obvious. If you count your extra money as
throw away money, consider what the Billy Graham society had to say:
'To waste your honestly earned money is tantamount to robbing the
hungry of the world of food they might have had if the handling of the
money had been motivated by compassion rather than greed.'
II) Gaining At Someone Else's Expense
Look at the sponsor's position; those who hold raffles, sponsor
lotteries, sell lottery or raffle tickets. This serves, in general, to
further victimize the already poor. Lottery and raffle tickets are
usually sold at low enough prices to enable the poor to cough up some,
so they can participate. This is devilish treatment of your neighbor.
What's more, they do it with a smile. Those on the serving out end,
spare me. Don't call yourself 'Christian' while dishing such ill
treatment to your neighbor. If you want to raise money for worthy
causes, how could you conceive of utilizing men's greed to benefit your
cause? Does the end justify the means?
As far as the buyer goes, consider two verses:
13 Thou shalt not defraud
they neigh-bor, . . .
18 . . love thy
neighbor as thyself: .
If you win, which is your heart's desire, your
neighbor has to lose. Is
this an act of love for your neighbor? In order to bring in undeserved
gain, you must deprive him and his family. This defrauds your neighbor
and shows 'love thy neighbor as thyself' isn't part of your life-style.
The gain of a winner is always at someone else's expense. This is
selfish and non-productive, the opposite of faith which gives and shows
forth labor. If you claim to buy raffle tickets to help worthy causes,
simply donate, that way there's no motive of greed:
14 . . . not provision
for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts
thereof. Romans 13:14
6 But godliness with
contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought
nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8
And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 9 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. 10 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.
I Timothy 6:6-10
Applying these verses to gambling, one writer summarizes the point
saying, 'Gambling has an uncanny way of elevating money and material
gain to the place of priority in life.' You cannot serve God and
III) No Productive By-product
11 Wealth gotten by
vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth
by labour shall increase.
This verse shows God's hand of blessing, which shows His approval,
doesn't lie in methods of financial gain such as gambling. Gambling is
a nonproductive human activity. In other words, it doesn't deliver a
just payment for equal services or goods. It's a practice that lives
off others. It's a PARASITE. To use such a method to gain money for
church or charitable causes is equal to saying, 'the end justifies the
means'. Quoting from a fellow Christian, 'The devil's water is used to
turn the Lord's mill.' Beware of the devil's lure, he appeals directly
to Christians, as seen in a New Hampshire lottery pitch, 'the ideal
Christian Christmas gift'.
IV) An Artificial Risk Prompted By Greed
We take risks daily that are necessary, or have sufficient safeguards
to limit the danger. Gambling is hazarding something with no necessity.
For the Christian, that's foolishness in the administration of someone
else's property - God's. The gambler isn't trusting God. He's hoping
chance will treat him better than God. For the Christian, God's way and
faithfulness in caring for us are found in scripture:
6 But this I say, He
which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly;
and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 7 Every
man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not
grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 8 And God
is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all
sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: 9 (As it is
written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his
righteousness remaineth for ever. 10 Now he that ministereth seed to
the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed
sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) 11 Being enriched
in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us
thanksgiving to God.
2 Corinthians 9:6-11
Isn't buying insurance a gamble?
No. Examine it with the four points:
I. IMPROPER STEWARDSHIP - It doesn't fail in this. Insurance examines
the probabilities of needing financial help and joining with others in
sharing the burden of those who are unfortunate.
II. GAINING AT SOMEONE ELSE'S EXPENSE - Purchasing insurance isn't an
action of greed. In gambling, your hope to be the lucky one. Insurance
however, is the pooling together of many to meet the needs of the
unfortunate. You're neither pitted against another, nor does your need
in loss cause the loss of another. If they need the help, they get it.
III. NO PRODUCTIVE BY-PRODUCT - The productive by-product is the
funneling of funds to the person who needs it. To the person who has
contributed without the mercenary spirit.
IV. AN ARTIFICIAL RISK PROMPTED BY GREED - In gambling, you try and
exploit the unpredictable (an action of greed). With insurance you
eliminate the problems caused by the unpre-dictable. You meet the
problems caused by the necessary risks of life.
Any action can be checked with the four points to see if it's gambling.
How does it own up to these points?
Weren't the Apostle's gambling in Acts when they selected a replacement
This is found in Acts 1:26. This wasn't gambling. The method they chose
wasn't one of chance, but of God's choosing. They were seeking God's
will, delivering the matter for God's direction before Him in prayer.
This was neither greed, foolishness nor personal opinion. This wasn't a
game of chance and didn't employ the sinful natures of men.
Some excuses to continue gambling are: 'The pinochle games I go to are
only nickel and dime games', 'I don't go expecting to win anything', 'I
figure the money's fun money to blow, no different to spending it on a
movie', or 'I just figure it as giving to charity.' If you figure it as
giving to charity, just donate the money and eliminate the motive of
greed as I already elaborated on.
Small amounts of money and not caring whether you win or lose, still
don't excuse the issue.
If you play, you witness to those you play with, that the gambling's
Secondly, your participation helps keep it available for those who do
care about the money, no matter how little. Believe me, there are those
to whom winning is everything, whether big or small.
If there's no greed, leave the gambling out of your game. If it has to
be there, corruption is a part of it. Even if you don't care about
winning, you're part of an impure recreation. You're saying, through
your actions, human companionship is more important than purity in
recreation. Participating gives the testimony that human companionship
is more important to you than God. When you participate in that which
is unclean, do you expect God to be keeping you company? The Lot
principal comes into play here:
7 And delivered just Lot,
vexed with the filthy conversation of the
wicked: 8 (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and
hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful
2 Peter 2:7,8
The heart of a righteous and just person, as should
be all Christians,
will be vexed with ungodliness. Recreation is to give us pleasure and
rest. If there's ungodliness in it, it will fail to accomplish this,
but instead tear down by vexing us. If you're not vexed, take heed to
that warning. If you're vexed, why would you choose it as a recreation?
It makes no sense. Be honest with yourself and don't justify
corruption. Clear yourselves in this matter. Seek God and being
conformed to His image. Confess your sins and now witness to separation
from ungodliness instead of union with it.
The songs of fools and drunkards,
show where it starts.
Their hymns of praise,
it encompasses their
This idol calls for
reverence, whose homage is more than a
She won't rest quiet,
‘til she's reaped all with her scythe.
But woe the child of
who once takes a look her way.
Little does he know
where she'll stand on Judgment Day.
reward which comes at another's expense.
Her challenge to the
is mockery to our Lord immense.
She promises a
for no services or goods.
To her increase by
labor, is like fire in the woods
She hisses like a
'Chance will treat us better than God.'
Tempting us not to
saying His care is a shod.
With such bold
Our thanksgiving to Him is not.
For truly God will not
where greed lays all to rot.
As Christians we
to our Lord God up above.
As His servants we are
whose motivation must be love.
We may play with the
in smaller ways too.
In raffles, pinochle,
just to list a few.
If your recreations,
principles and motives,
in and of themselves aren't pure,
To be conformed into
you surely will find no cure.
Free to Copy under Creative Commons BY-NC-ND3.0 License by Darrell Farkas
All quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible