The lottery fever comes around a few times a year when the nation’s Powerball lottery swells into the hundreds of millions of dollars. This was the case previously when a group of eight ‘ordinary’ people who worked for the same company in Nebraska won $365 million dollars by selecting the winning lottery numbers. Each person in the group ended up with approximately $15 million dollars each.
This is generally the dream of the millions of people who buy lottery tickets each week. The chance to instantly become millionaires with all the ‘benefits’ that it supposedly brings. To be certain, there are many who don’t play the lottery “religiously” (a curiously common term used here purposefully), but who can’t resist the lure of the big jackpot. Most of these probably invest a relatively small sum, proportion to their income (say less than $20), for the chance at millions. Others however are probably a lot more liberal in their pursuit investing hundreds or thousands of dollars each year.
As a Christian, how do you feel about all this? Do you participate? Perhaps in the office pool at work or with the ‘spare’ dollar in your pocket or purse as you buy your cup of coffee? Have you ever wondered what God thinks about this? Would you want to know?
There are many who say that there is no clear directive in the Bible against gambling. Sure, there is scripture about much that surrounds the mentality that accompanies gambling such as greed: Then he (Jesus) said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." (Luke 12:15 NIV parenthesis mine). I dare say however that the lure of wealth and material gain is so ingrained in our culture (an idol perhaps), that Jesus’ words are probably not enough to dissuade the average American Christian from resisting the lure of the Powerball’s millions.
As you ponder all this, here is some scripture for thought for the next time the Powerball is once again above $100 million, and you just happen to have 4 quarters staring at you from the center console of your car or jingling around in your purse: What will I, the LORD, do if any of you reject me and my holy mountain? What will happen to you for offering food and wine to the gods you call "Good Luck" and "Fate"? Your luck will end! I will see to it that you are slaughtered with swords. You refused to answer when I called out; you paid no attention to my instructions. Instead, you did what I hated, knowing it was wrong. (Isaiah 65:11-12 CEV)