Is It A Sin To Play The Lottery?
Along with my pastoral care responsibilities with CJFM, I also pastor an inner-city church here in San Antonio.
It is very common to see long lines at the area convenience stores and gas stations, on Friday evenings, as people take a portion of their hard-earned paychecks and attempt to strike it (or, rather “scratch it”) rich.
I cannot count the times that I have been told something like this: “Pastor, when I win the lotto I am going to buy the church a new building.”
When it comes to the subject of playing the lottery, buying scratch cards, bingo, raffles, gambling, etc., there are many different views.
I can’t think of anyone that I know that wouldn’t love to go from “rags to riches” overnight. Many would like to be able to be promoted from Goodwill to Walmart! (I realize that last sentence might have confused some of our world-wide readers. If you will leave a comment about that remark, I will gladly write post explaining it.) Many are looking for a “get rich quick” strategy.
I will never forget the day that a lady that our church was helping buy food told me that she spent five dollars of that benevolence on bingo.
“God blessed me because I was able to turn $5.00 of church money into $100.00,” she explained.
That was the day that we started giving can goods instead of cash!
So, what do you think about monetary games of chance? Are they evil or are they a way to financial blessing?
Is it just entertainment? Is it the same as spending $10.00 on bowling?
Is it the answer to your prayers? Is it your own “stimulus package” or “bailout?”
Or is the question really more complicated, deserving more than just a one word answer?
Should we base our answer on the outcome? If you win, it’s not sin!
If you hold to the position of it being a sin, would you scratch a scratch card given to you as a gift? If the card was a winner, would you cash it in?
If it’s a sin, if you were a pastor, would you turn down a donation that you knew came from lottery winnings? Or do you hold to a “don’t ask, don’t tell” offering policy?
Or is that everything in life is a gamble?
Maybe you view playing the lottery as no different than investing in the stock market. Both are a risk and a gamble.
In my home state of Texas, we are told that the profits from the lottery are used to fund public education. (Who believes that?) So, is buying a lottery ticket just making a contribution to the educational system?
Maybe your position is that it’s all about what you are going to do with the money if you win.
Or, how can it be wrong if all my bills are paid? If you only use “extra money” that you have (what in the world is that?), how can it be wrong?
Well, it’s Friday. It’s pay day for many. It’s time to go to your local convenience store and buy yourself a well-deserved soda and a bag of chips.
As you will stand in line as the cashier assists others in their purchase of lottery tickets and scratch cards and you consider the same, you must ask yourself, “Should I or shouldn’t I?”
You ponder all the good that you will be able to do if this is the day your ship comes in. You could even make a sizable donation to CJFM.
So what will you do?
Can we all have a sincere discussion on this topic in the form of comments?
If you leave a comment, I will reward you with a scratch card! (Just kidding!)
Tune in for more!