It is amazing to me to hear Christians talking about “gaming” (the gambling industry’s, a.k.a. organized crimes’s euphemism for the word “gambling,” but remember, “God is not mocked.”) and trips to Las Vegas, just to see the “good clean” shows offered there, you know, and also those who play the Texas State Lottery (talk about a sucker bet!). We must be vigilant and act immediately when the world encroaches upon the church. Those who live by Bible principles are constantly being assailed with the temptation of gambling, and hear it called by many names: lotteries, young people’s raffles for schools and other youth oriented activities (for the benefit of education we are told), football pools, office pools, a vast array of poker opportunities at parties, viewed on TV with celebrities participating and the current internet betting and gambling hub-bub. Have you noticed those cheesy poker machines in corner stores where those poor characters, besotted with love for the “one-armed-bandits,” hang out just to get the feel of what such betting machines are like. Legal lottery vending machines in supermarkets sort of top off the sleaze that is so pervasive in our world. Remember that these gambling encroachments are new temptations in our already wicked age. We did not need more temptations. Don’t we actually strive to live lives with LESS temptations? Please read the four following reasons for why gambling is sin:
1. Always remember: gambling’s essential motive is the sin of covetousness. Covetousness is a word not found in common speech nowadays. But the definition is very clear: 1 : marked by inordinate desire for wealth or possessions or for another’s possessions 2 : having a craving for possession (Merriam/Webster Dictionary). Colossians 3:5, “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”; 1Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” Gamblers have no problem at all taking money from other greedy people but Christians must be different.
2. Gambling also entices people to shirk honest labor. Many people don’t need any encouragement to be lazy! But God expects for us to work for a living; doing meaningful work that has actual value, no matter what form it takes. Working for our living makes a lot of sense because it teaches us worthy lessons. It gives us self respect, teaches us the worth of our time and gives us an understanding of what things are worth in this life. The Lord’s will for man after man’s fall in the Garden of Eden was to labor. Genesis 3:19, “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.”; 1Thessalonians 4:10-11, “and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; 11 that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you.”
3. Gambling perpetuates selfishness instead of love. Our time in history is especially subject to self-worship and devoting ourselves to our own benefit without nearly as much reaching out for the good of others. But the Lord never meant for this to be the way His followers would live their lives. Matthew 22:39, “And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”; 7:12, “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Yes, gambling in all of its various forms violates the Golden Rule.
4. Don’t be fooled about gambling in one more area. Gambling violates the principle of good stewardship. Yes, we are servants but the Lord wants us to act as His stewards. This is a role unlike common servants. It is really the role of a head servant who is responsible for the Lord’s things and acts in the Lord’s place when He is away. Upon the Lord’s return He goes to the steward to get an accounting of things while He was away. On this earth we are to act in His place and do His will here like good stewards of His will. He said, in Luke 16:10-12, “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. 11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon (things of this world that will perish with this world; MS), who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?”