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Dr. Gary Hedrick

Dr. Gary Hedrick
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Is It A Sin To Play The Lottery?


30 October 2009 @ 5am

John Turner

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!


Posted by: Brian Nowotny
30 October 2009

If you bought 20 scratch offs and handed them out to 20 strangers, are you really being generous?

Is there a difference between spending a quarter (token) at your local pizza fun place on a game where you have a chance to win 500 tickets and the lottery?

Just put the scratch off in with my mail that Cindy’s holding.

Posted by: Bruce
2 November 2009

I like to play games, so, buying a lottery ticket is just playing a quick game. Cheap, fast, easy only I wish I could win once in awhile.

Posted by: Melissa Murrell
17 November 2009

God is able and willing to bless us any way he chooses. Everything moves by the power of God. If the lottery wasn’t for the saints it wouldn’t be here. We can find in I Cor 10:23 that all things are legitimate(permissible) but not all things are helpful(profitable or wholesome). God is concerned about our heart and the spirit in which we perform our acts. God has given us liberty to live good lives. This means first putting all things in its proper place. When we seek first the Kingdom of Heaven and all its righteousness the rest will be added. My friend was down to her last $20.oo and she needed gas. She told the cashier to give her $19.00 in gas and a $1.00 scratch off. She scratched $100.00, she had prayed hours before and asked God to bless her with what whe needed. She gave God the praise right there in the store and then called me to give him some more praise. I believe God gave her that ticket and money, just think, everything belongs to him so if her gives me a lottery ticket to bless me I say thank you Lord. Stop putting God in a box. I could go on!

Posted by: Mr. Ortiz
30 May 2012

well, i really dont know the answer to this question. i wish it was ok to play lottery because my mother is very sick and i want to give her money for her health. i got into a debt trying to help her. i am just tired of so much financial struggling. i want to study, but because i dont have enough money it is so difficult. this is my oppinion: playing lottery is bad because you are trusting in luck and not in God. secondly, you did not work for that money it was quick money not earned money. i just dont know the answer, i wish someone would clarify this for me, because i am so tempted to go and play the lottery to come out of all this financial problems.

Posted by: Dan Ridout
27 June 2012

“They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.” Psalm 22:18 KJV. I find it amazing when looking at scripture from the old testament… and later seeing prophesy being fulfilled by our saviour! I’m of the belief that whatever we do in excess becomes an alarm for sin invading our lives. It is obvious that anything is a sin if it creates hardship in our life, our relationships and our family. I find it soothing how both God, and Christ spoke so simply to the masses – in such a way that the simplest man could understand the complexities of life. Buying a scratch ticket or receiving one as a gift doesn’t constitute sin in our life. Buying lottery tickets continuously as a retirement plan does! Its easy to understand that gambling creates hardships in families, but more importantly, the habit of gambling distances our relationship with Christ. It becomes our obsession over everything else. When gambling takes us away from our Saviour, what good can the biggest win ever be on an eternal scale? This comment comes from one who partakes in these pleasures so I am well aware of the temptation. I fight the principalities behind our temptations every day along with all of you. Keep everything in perspective when it comes to anything that will lure you away from your relationship with Christ. For my relationship with my Lord… can’t be bought for any price! Amen

Posted by: sarah
11 December 2012

Is playing the lottery a sin, Yes! We all know it. If you are a true believer than you know. Deep down inside you know. Your Spirit convict you.

Posted by: sarah
11 December 2012

To God be glory in it all.

Posted by: Nnanke jibrin
5 March 2013

I am in financial crises right now and l thought of playing a lotto but any time l want to play something keeps holding me back..

Posted by: Chris Chaletain
17 May 2013

The hardest thing that we face each and every day is temptation. I want to be such a blessing and in fact, was a blessing to many growing up. Things in life changed and I wasn’t able to bless how I use to. Bible says “be faithful in the little, so that you could receive much.” I do believe the word and I am trying my best with being faithful with the little I can give, but something inside of me hates seeing poverty and those who mourn. I question myself asking “only ifs” questions and that has got me nowhere. The only thing I have found that works is trusting God and being faithful in whatever that I receive. But I question, do the devil give numbers in your dreams to start you off to make sure money is given around the world to feed the poor and clothe the sick personally. Does he provide the plan tickets to give lots of clothes to do good? Absolutely not, what good does satan have to contribute to the heart? The bible says that “no good thing dwell in your flesh!” So, I really don’t know what to say about this, but it’s very tempting. Holy Spirit stops me every time and man oh man, it hurts my insides to have the what if I didn’t and forgot to play. Would I regret it or not? Still, I don’t play.

Posted by: TLSBSN/RN
13 August 2013

I think that “he who thinks it’s a sin, it is sin to him”. I am a very hard working RN (25 Years). I have paid thithes faithfully and have given offerings as much as and as often as I can for the last (30) years. When I think about the lottery I get excited. I play maybe 1-2x per month and use a very minimal amount of money to do so. But ya know, when I do play I ask God to bless me to win. God said “come let us reason together”. I feel confident that GOD knows my heart at all times. Imagine how many people I could help for the kingdom!!! The bible says if your faithful with little, I’ll make you ruler over much! Because God is in control of ALL THINGS and since ALL GOOD THINGS COME FROM GOD, honor HIM daily. If He decides to bless you with it, you owe no one an apology…….

Posted by: Mimi
1 September 2013

Am strugleling with this right now am a single mother of four and trust me when I said am in trouble with my finances car behind in payments 3 months insurance behind all bills are behind I am working bringing home only 1400 am still fratfull for that but guys i need prayer. please please .lately I just want to stay in bed just lay there and I have been tryin to play I don’t think God wants me to play but with so many bills I feel like am going crazy I don’t know what to do I just don’t see a way out . last night i prayed and dream that I won and I asked why i didn’t win before the voice say because I didn’t have faith however I played on Saturday and I didn’t win this morning I just don’t see a way out please pray for me God bless you all

Posted by: hf
9 March 2014

I think playing the lottery is not sinful. It’s sinful if you spend your entire pay check on gambling and you don’t pay your bills. If a few dollars a week puts you in a bind than you shouldn’t play. The same thing applies to buying a cup of coffee, if you can’t afford it then don’t. Life isn’t that hard to understand. Christ came to set us free. We as Christians know in our hearts right from wrong, it becomes a sin if we don’t follow our hearts in all matters. We worship an awesome God..

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