December 10, 2008

Q and A 2.0 Revisited: #20--Gambling


What does the Bible say about gambling?


Gambling is risking money in an attempt to multiply the money on something that is against the odds. This is also called "investing in the stock market". OK, I kid...

The Bible does not specifically condemn gambling, betting, or playing the lottery. I know that many of you may disapprove of that statement, but I can’t show you a verse that says “thou shalt not gamble” or anything like it.

The Bible mentions on several occasions the casting of lots in order to make decisions. In Leviticus it is how the priests chose between two goats, one which would be sacrificed and one which would be set free as a scapegoat representing the forgiveness of the people's sins. In Joshua, it is how they divided up the land among the various tribes.

But, nowhere is gambling mentioned as an entertainment or as an acceptable practice for followers of God.

The Bible does, however, talk about the love of money as being the root of all evil. Scripture also encourages us to stay away from attempts to get rich quick:

Proverbs 13:11 “Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.”

This is a gray area, and therefore a difficult issue because if it is done in moderation and only on occasion, then it’s still a waste of money whether it’s evil or not. Of course, it’s no more a waste of money than other forms of entertainment like seeing a stupid movie, eating an unnecessarily expensive meal or buying a worthless item.

That, though, doesn’t justify wasting money.

The question is not “is it right” so much as it is “is it wise”? Can you really feel good about making the case for it being right and good for you to spend your time in a casino at a chance of throwing your money away? Is that the best thing you can think of to do with the resources that God has blessed you with?

Hebrews 13:5 “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘I will never leave you; never will I forsake you.’”

Someone asked this follow-up question: What should we think about other activities funded by casinos like buffets, waterparks, etc. since these activities are primarily used to bring people to the casinos?

Again, this comes back to what is wise. If we start going down the road of "should I do it if there is any evil that can be associated with it anywhere at anytime?" then we wouldn't be able to do very much. Enjoy these things or avoid them as your conscience allows you. This goes back to Romans 14, and making sure that the things we do don't cause our brothers and sisters in Christ to stumble.

Tomorrow we will see what the Bible has to say Satan and demons, and their role here on earth. Check out all of the Q and A series here.

1 comment:

Garrett said...

I am a pastor in Vegas and I have to say that you can not hardly go anywhere without going into a casino. Malls, restaurants, movie theaters, coffee shops, salons, etc. are all in casinos.

It is about what is wise. There are huge ministries to casino workers, staff, executives and if we are scared to go there, there is no one to shine a little light in these dark places.

Good post. We must be wise with our choices, especially our money. If what we do with our money is not used to glorify God and spread the wealth of Jesus around, then we need to re-evaluate.