October 5, 2020by Reverend Dan on October 5, 2020
"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have."
I’ve never banged on the pulpit about the lottery. I’m not really sure it’s a doctrinal issue. I’m not sure playing it affects my salvation. I know folks without self-control (a fruit of the spirit) can blow a lot of money on it and that’s bad, but that’s a practical theology issue, not a doctrinal one.
I also know all the prominent scriptures that folks say are applicable to the lottery and gambling.
Proverbs 13:11 – Wealth gained hastily will dwindle; but whoever gathers little by little will increase it.
1 Timothy 6:10 – The love of money is the root of all evil.
Matthew 6:24 – No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other; or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
Ecclesiastes 5:10 – He who loves money will not be satisfied with the money he has, nor he who loves wealth with the income he has.
The truth is, all of these scriptures talk about the placing money above God – the priority we give in in our lives in general, not just playing the lottery. I also know all the places where the Bible talks about “casting lots” and the comparisons that has to gambling and the negative consequences that accompany it. Again, however, practical, not salvific.
So, what’s my issue with the lottery? It’s more of a “social gospel” issue. The odds of winning the multi-state Powerball jackpot are one-in-292 million. You have a greater chance (one-in-250 million) of dying from a coconut falling out of a tree, hitting you in the head, and killing you. Yet almost $72 billion was spent on lottery tickets last year and the bulk of it was spent by the poorest Americans. And that is exactly where the lottery companies (the state) target their advertising: impoverished minority communities and rural white neighborhoods. It is that practice that has led to something called the “desperation hypothesis”. It states that those in the direst financial straits see the lottery as a “hail-Mary” strategy to get rich quick.
Statistics show that people who make more than $50,000 a year rarely play the lottery. People who make more than $100,000 almost never play the lottery. But people who make less than $30,000 per year play the lottery weekly or even daily for what they believe will be financial stability, when in reality they are spending income that takes away from basic necessities. And 75% of them believe that even with the astronomical odds, they will win.
My advice on the lottery? If you believe you’re going to get rich that way, don’t bet on it.
"Father, Help us to be wise with our money, using it to honor you. In Jesus' name, AMEN."