Last night was one of the biggest lottery drawings in history. An individual had a chance to get a pay out of over 300 million dollars. By the way, I cannot say that without accenting it like Dr. Evil’s meeellion dollars.
Having that much money scares me to death, to be honest. Too many decisions and responsibility. However, it could do a lot of good for my family and a lot of organizations I care about so I’ve been debating whether or not I should play.
Historically, I’ve blanketed the lottery as gambling and therefore bad. I voted against the SC lottery in the 90’s. However, I then proceeded to benefit from it with the the SC Life scholarship in college. It felt hypocritical in some way even though I didn’t ask for the scholarship as it is based on grades.
As I’ve batted this around in my head, I thought I’d work it out here and perhaps we’d come out with some good discussion.
Reasons against the lottery:
- You gamble your money when you buy a ticket. Gambling is bad. Therefore, the lottery is bad.
- I know of people whose lives and families are terribly ruined by an addiction to gambling and I don’t want my money to support it.
- Contrary to popular belief, money usually makes things more complicated, not easier and it’s not the be-all end-all solution to people’s problems as they believe. Have you seen the horror stories of people going into debt, descending into crime and even being stalked and killed after winning? This is no good.
Reason for lottery:
- The state and its residents benefit from the money as I was with my college scholarship. This is good.
- Much benefit can be made for the winners of the lottery and those around them. Scott said “Someone has to win, shouldn’t it be us who would do something good with it versus someone else?” Good point, husband.
- Even though the lottery can cause addiction, we don’t quit drinking Mountain Dew, eating Taco Bell or taking cold medicine because it has the capacity to do the same. That logic doesn’t stick when you start applying it to other things. Furthermore, 401K is basically gambling your money too and no one seems to have a problem with that.
- The Bible is wrought with decisions being made by chance. People often casted lots to make decisions.
- Contrary to the belief I’ve held for so long, the Bible never clearly talks about gambling as a sin. Or, I haven’t found one since researching this. Someone please direct me to one.
Given that logic, I still feel up in the air about it. While it can do a lot of harm, it also can do a lot of good.
Let’s see if we can put a wider lens on the topic. While the Bible does not condemn the lottery directly, it does give lots of information on how we should view work and money. Let’s see how those might apply:
- Most want to win the lottery so they don’t have to work. The Bible does not look favorably on lazy people.
- I know it sounds nice to retire permanently to a private island, but we cannot carry out the Great Commission living a life like that (darn it!).
- Coveting is a sin and often, we want to win the lottery to have what others have instead of being grateful for what we already have.
- Getting money often makes you more greedy and materialistic, not less. Love of money is the root of all evil. However, money itself isn’t the root of all evil.
- Proven: gambling can become an addiction. We should not be slaves to anyone but the Lord.
- We are supposed to be good stewards of our money. Is it wise to give money to a lottery where we often will have no direct benefit? Wouldn’t it be wiser to make a direct, personal impact to either our own college savings or someone needy around us? However, we are directed to take care of the poor and needy with our resources and winning could certainly help fund many good deeds.
Given all that, might I suggest it comes down to the heart? Why is that you want to play and win? Is it really to help others or is it rooted in greed, covetousness, laziness or addiction? Are you prepared to steward the money well?
I truly believe God can use any single thing he wants to accomplish his desires and if He leads a Christian to play and win in order to accomplish good, then rock on.
The bottom line is we must check our intent and ultimately, live out the command to live by the Spirit in all things. Did you pray about playing? What did the Spirit lead you to do?
What does this mean for me? I think I’ll be sitting the lotto out until I get clear direction to play.
- I do have a very obsessive and addictive personality and I don’t need one more thing to battle.
- As much as I say and have plans to help others, I can be quite greedy when it comes to money and I think getting that much would just fuel it.
- I believe that much money would just add more stress to my life, not make it easier. Just the thought of someone killing me for my money scares me away. I’ve already been stolen from with what I have and it’s really not something I want to experience in any capacity in the future.
- I would rather direct my money somewhere that I know is helpful rather than leaving it up to a group to decide where it might be helpful to me in the future. If you don’t think $2 is a big deal, did you know $1 can give someone water for an entire year?
What insights do YOU have? What did I miss? Why do you play or not? Let’s discuss!