Gambling - Is it Wrong?

The headlines read, "Lottery Reaches 100 Million!" Lottery fever was rampant. People came from Europe and neighboring states to stand in line, some for more than nine hours, to purchase a lottery ticket. All this for a chance to become an instant millionaire.

Senior adults take day trips to the casinos; people bet on horses and football and baseball games. They throw dice, play cards, spin roulette wheels or buy raffle tickets. After materialistic ambitions attract people to gambling, greed and covetousness keep them gambling. It's a vicious cycle - people gamble because they are materialistic; and the more they gamble, the more materialistic they become.

Gambling's subtlety is seen in the rationale used to justify it. Some argue for the moral good it supposedly produces. "Well, it's for a good cause-our hospital." Or  "The fire company is doing a good job, so there's nothing wrong with pitching pennies." Our state lotteries use the rationale, "It's for the benefit of senior citizens; you know how many of them are on fixed incomes." We are told it's an innocent form of entertainment, a good source of revenue to help keep taxes down and a way to relax.

A person considering gambling should know the following effects of gambling:

1. It enriches a few and impoverishes many. In fact, gambling revenue is regressive in that it hits hardest those who can least afford it.
2. It weakens an already frail family unit because the gambler usually becomes addicted to gambling to the point that home, job, financial responsibility and all such normal concerns no longer matter.
3. It siphons money from legitimate businesses.
4. It produces nothing and performs no useful service.
5. It victimizes its practitioners and their families as the gambler turns to illegal means of Supporting his habit or even turns to suicide.

WHY CHRISTIANS OPPOSE

When Christians subject their thoughts and actions to Biblical teaching, they will be opposed to all forms of gambling because:

1. Gambling is an expression of covetousness (an ardent desire for something someone else has) that is prohibited by the tenth commandment: "Thou shalt not covet" (Exod.20:17).
2. Gambling distorts values. It makes material things the central focus of one's life. "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33). "For what shall it profit a mall, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his own soul?" (Mark 8:36, 37). "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon" (Matthew 6:24).
3. Gambling places the love of money above our love for God. "Thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might" (Deuteronomy 6:5). "But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts. ...For the love of money is the root of all evil" (1 Timothy 6:9, 10).
4. Gambling is a sign of the times. "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of. ..pleasures more than lovers of God" (2 Timothy 3:1, 2, 4).
5. Gambling contradicts the work ethic (2 Thessalonians. 3:10-13).
6. Gambling is a failure to think on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely and of good report (Phil. 4:8).
7. Gambling makes poor stewards. The gambler acts as if everything belongs to him, when in reality all that we possess belongs to God, our Creator and Redeemer .

A steward is under God's authority .He is responsible to God for the management of possessions and accountable to God. One day he will be rewarded for his faithful stewardship.

Stewardship teaches a proper attitude toward possessions as well as the management of those possessions. A right attitude will undercut the desire to gamble, while a wrong attitude will fuel both the need and the desire to gamble. 

First, a steward needs to realize that possessions are not the source of lasting satisfaction. The only way a person can find satisfaction is in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Second, a steward's affairs are to be managed according to Biblical principles, not luck.
Third, the care of personal pos- sessions will be determined by the steward's attitude.
Fourth, a steward must have a proper attitude toward work as God's appointed means for providing personal and family needs. If one finds satisfaction only in leisure activity, his family and friends will pick up the attitude that work is nothing more than an intolerable burden to be avoided at all costs. Gambling tempts the participant- to-be with the idea that he can be
free from the burden of work. It feeds on the "something for nothing" philosophy of seeking success through shortcuts rather than hard work.
Finally, a steward does not gripe and complain that God is unfair. He continually demonstrates an attitude of praise and gratitude to God for the provision of personal needs. Otherwise his family and friends will begin to ask, "Why trust God? Why not try luck?" A true steward of God teaches godly values through godly attitudes.

What can you do to stop the spread of gambling?

1. Be sure of your own personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
2. Develop a Biblical perspective concerning your possessions by studying God's Word.
3. Set a personal example; don't gamble.
4. Oppose all forms of gambling by writing your elected representatives and encouraging them to sponsor or support legislation outlawing gambling or to keep it from being legalized.
5. Ask God to give you a burden for lost souls. (This deals with the cause of the problem - sin.)
6. Pray for elected officials.
7. Teach your family and friends the Biblical philosophy of life, including the work ethic and the Biblical principles of stewardship. Endeavor to bring "no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed" (2 Corinthians 6:3). "Approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of' Christ" (Philippians 1:10). "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth" (Colossians 3:2). "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye trans- formed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" (Romans 12:2).

Gambling and its sorrows will not mar believers who remember and heed the apostle John's words: "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is ill the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.Baptist Bulletin, October 1988,
by R. Robert Flatt

P.S. It is 2009 and as  read over my article , I have to ask myself have the reasons for being opposed to gambling really changed with the times? For me the answer is no. What do you think? Email your comments to us.