(Is it wrong to gamble?)
1. We turn now to gambling, a moral issue confronting Christians due to:
a. The proliferation of government sanctioned gambling (e.g., state lotteries)
b. The easy access to gambling (race track, lottery tickets in convenience stores, bingo, charitable gambling and casinos are going to be back on the ballot)
2. What is gambling (or gaming)...?
a. The wagering of money or something of material value on an event with an uncertain outcome with the primary intent of winning additional money and/or material goods
b. Typically, the outcome of the wager is evident within a short period
c. The term gaming in this context typically refers to instances in which the activity has been specifically permitted by law
3. Sadly, some religions encourage gambling
a. Both the Catholic and Jewish traditions traditionally set aside days for gambling - Dwayne Carpenter, quoted in Gambling Had Role in Religious History
b. The above article mentions Christmas and Hanukkah as holidays in which gambling was permitted, if not encouraged
4. If both states and some religions approve of gambling, what could be wrong with it?
A. LIFE IS A GAMBLE?
1. Does not Solomon say time and chance happen to them all? - Ecclesiastes 9:11
2. So it may appear when life is viewed under the sun (a purely worldly perspective)
3. But God's will in our lives precludes a life of pure chance - 1 Corinthians 4:19; James 4:15
4. Life is not gambling, it involves the will of God!
B. FARMING IS A GAMBLE?
1. Does not the farmer take a risk in sowing when he may not reap?
2. But God has promised seedtime and harvest would not cease - Genesis 8:22
3. Farming is an honorable way of receiving God's blessings - Psalm 104:14
4. Farming is not gambling, it involves the activity of God!
C. BUYING INSURANCE IS A GAMBLE?
1. Is not buying insurance a gamble?
2. Insurance is simply a method of shifting risk (accident, illness) from one party to another
3. It is also a way of providing for one's family, an important duty - 1 Timothy 5:8
4. Insurance is not gambling, when used to shift risk and provide for others
D. INVESTING IS A GAMBLE?
1. Is not investing in business or the stock market a gamble?
2. It can be, when involving speculative or significant risks
3. But good and safe investments are not evil within themselves - Matthew 25:14-30
4. Investing is not gambling, when done prudently
A. THE PRINCIPLE IS SINFUL
1. Gambling violates the work ethic - Ephesians 4:28; 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
a. To gain from honorable labor
b. Not get rich quick schemes
2. Gambling violates the stewardship ethic - 1 Chronicles 29:13-14; 1 Peter 4:10
a. All things come from God
b. We will have to give an account for our stewardship
3. People gamble for a quick buck, willing to risk what is not theirs
B. THE MOTIVATION IS SINFUL
1. People gamble because of greed - 1 Timothy 6:9-10
a. Their desire to be rich, which leads to foolish and harmful lusts, destruction and perdition
b. Their love of money, which leads to loss of faith and many sorrows
2. People gamble because of covetousness - Ephesians 5:3-7; Colossians 3:5-6
a. They want something more than God, making it idolatry
b. They will bring the wrath of God upon themselves
3. People gamble because they want to be rich, a desire we should flee (1 Timothy 6:11)
C. THE FRUIT IS SINFUL
1. It takes advantage of others' weaknesses - Romans 15:1-2
a. Exploiting others or extorting money for one's own advantage
b. Do gamblers care what happens to those who lose?
2. It leads to unsavory companions - 1 Corinthians 15:33; Ephesians 5:11
a. Others who are motivated by greed and covetousness
b. Those quick to take advantage: bookies, loan sharks, etc.
3. It leads to addiction - 2 Peter 2:19
a. Gambling can become psychologically and physically addictive
b. Monetary reward in a gambling-like experiment produces brain activation very similar to that observed in a cocaine addict receiving an infusion of cocaine. - Hans Breiter, MD, co-director of the Motivation and Emotion Neuroscience Centre at Massachusetts General Hospital
4. It leads to other sins - Mark 7:21-23
a. As debts build up, people turn to other quick sources of money (theft, drugs)
b. Suicide is common, along with abuse, divorce, other mental disorders
5. People who gamble do not consider how they hurt themselves and others
1. Which is gambling more like...?
a. The works of the flesh, or the fruit of the Spirit? Galatians 5:19-23
b. The deeds of the old man, or the apparel of the new man? Colossians 3:5-14
2. One does need to look long to see that gambling is sinful:
a. The motive is greed
b. The desire is to get rich quick (covetousness)
c. The harm to self and others is extensive
3. Consider these tidbits of wisdom:
a. Gambling: The sure way of getting nothing from something – Wilson Mizner
b. The safest way to "double your money" is to fold it over once and put it in your pocket
c. By gaming we lose both our time and treasure - two things most precious to the life of man - Owen Felltham
d. Lottery: A tax on people who are bad at math - Author Unknown
"This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But you have not so learned Christ..."
-- Don Treadway, May 2009--