The lottery is nearly one billion dollars and most everyone is gambling at least 2 dollars per ticket that they can either guess 6 numbers, or let the computerized ‘quick pick’ do it for them. The odds are 300 million to one. Just to put that in perspective, when a prize fighter is determined to be a great underdog, odds as much as 20:1 encourage many not to gamble on them. When a horse is determined to be a great underdog, one might see odds as high as 100:1. Those are bad odds for a gambler to place his bet on. Yet, millions are gambling 300 million:1 that they will win the Powerball. Guess what, someone will. This they will do at the expense of millions of losers. So the question is, is gambling a sin?
Gambling Is Habitual
Certainly habits are not always wrong. Good habits are desirable and should be cultivated, but all bad habits should be shunned. Gambling is the type of thing that can get a stranglehold on a person. It can be said that gamblers gamble as drunkards drink, as smokers smoke, as drug addicts get high. Simply said, gambling is addictive.
The Holy Spirit teaches us to “keep under” our bodies and bring them into subjection to our spirits lest we be lost (1 Cor. 9:27). Our Lord knew that no man can serve two masters (Matt. 6:24). As social drinking makes drunkards, as an occasional smoker makes chain smokers, as recreational drug use makes drug addicts, so petty gambling makes habitual gamblers.
Gambling Destroys Families
Gambling robs families of the necessities of life. A man is to provide properly for his own household (1 Tim. 5:8). But in losing their good and often hard-earned money by gambling, many have violated God’s law in this respect and thus failed to perform their duty. Gambling wastes time, money, and energy that certainly could be put to constructive use.
Gambling Harms The church
Gambling weakens the individual member by bringing him under an unwholesome influence. Their gambling can have a weakening influence upon others, especially the young. Paul said, “ It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.” (Rom. 14:21). Gambling members certainly put the church in an unfavorable light with those who know the truth about gambling. Christians are to “walk honestly toward them that are without” and “Provide things honest in the sight of all men.” Gambling causes one not to do so. Gambling weakens the Christian’s voice against worldliness. It puts him in the hypocritical light of trying to oppose worldliness while actually practicing it. “You therefore that teaches another, teach not yourself” (Rom 2:21,22).
Gambling Is The Love Of Money
There are three ways one may properly and with God’s approval obtain money or property. (1) He may work for it, i.e. exchange labor for something of value (Eph. 4:28). (2) He may sell or exchange something of value (Acts 4:37). And (3) he may receive it as a gift (Acts 20:35). Gambling disregards all three of these proper ways to obtain material gain. It seeks rather to gain at another’s loss. Every time one person wins at gambling, many lose. Hence, the win is at somebody’s expense.
Gambling Is Covetousness
The word “covet” means “eager to have more, i.e., to have what belongs to others; hence, greedy of gain”. One who seeks to obtain what belongs to another without giving fair exchange is covetous. Covetousness is the basic ingredient in gambling. Covetousness is sin whether done under the guise of charity or in the name of greed. It would be like robbing a bank and justifying it be giving a portion to charity. Therefore, to win a billion dollar lotto with a two dollar ticket with the intention of giving a portion of it to a needed charity or the church doesn’t justify it. God doesn’t want you rich in money but rather rich in faith! (Jam 2:5)
Conclusion: Remember the words Jesus told the rich ruler, “So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me. But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich” (Lk 18:21,22). Riches are the consolation of the wicked (Lk 6:24). Solomon reminded us not to labor to be rich (Prov 23:4). It is the rich James foretold us who will weep and howl in hell (Jam 5:1-5). So, why on earth would Christians seek to be rich by gambling when the bible instructs us that the love of money is the root of all evil (1 Tim 6:10)?
Those who have little or no respect for the moral teachings of the Bible will probably go right on gambling and playing the lotto, thus further inflicting this evil upon themselves, their families and society in general. In so doing, they endanger their souls and contribute to the internal moral decay of this nation, which if not checked will ultimately bring about its downfall. A billion dollar lotto is a large reward here on earth, but then, so is eternal life. What will you give in exchange for your soul? No man can serve two master….You cannot serve God and money (Mt 16:24-26 f; Mt 6:24)!