4 Reasons I’ll Never Buy A Lottery Ticket

Lottery Tickets: Don’t get fooled!

You won’t catch me with a lottery ticket in my hand. That’s not a self-righteous statement, just a fact.

I don’t care much about the statistics.

I’ve heard Christians speak against buying lottery tickets by citing statistics of who is actually going to win, what the chances are to win, and how it is a waste of money. Rightly so, but I’m not going to waste my time citing statistics. The odds of winning are certainly incredibly slim. There is good reason that some people have called the lottery a “tax on ignorance”. But there are greater things at stake here.

The prospect of losing a dollar for the chance to win one million or more is too tempting for many people. It is difficult to argue against spending a dollar if the only reason to avoid it is because of statistics and waste. After all, we might “waste” ten times the cost of a lottery ticket to buy a ticket to see a movie. So, many good Christians who are morally upright in so many ways seek to justify the practice.

I care about the biblical principles.

What if the Bible teaches principles that would lead one to avoid playing the lottery? Would it matter to you since it is “only a dollar”? Consider Jesus’ words in Luke 16:10, “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.” If we look at the principles, agree with them, and then say, “Well, it’s only a dollar, so it doesn’t matter” then we have a problem with consistency.

We can scrutinize each other’s habits of spending money and debate about priorities and whether we waste money or not (like going to a movie). Ultimately, such judgments are between the individual and God. But what if the Bible actually puts forth principles that condemn a specific activity and not just the excesses of it? Would it matter that the activity is only done with money that is an inconsequential amount? What if the principles against playing the lottery oppose the practice itself and not merely the wasteful nature of it? That would probably change the minds of many good Christians who might not have considered the principles related to it.

Here are four principles that the Bible teaches that constitute the REAL reasons to avoid the lottery. (Thanks to Dave Miller in his book, Piloting The Strait, (Sain Publications, 1996) for outlining these principles.)

1. The Bible allows 3 ways to transfer money or valuables from one person to another.

  1. Work and receive payment (1 Timothy 5:18; etc.).
  2. Sell personal goods or property owned (Acts 4:34, etc.).
  3. Make an offering or donation to someone without expecting anything in return (Luke 6:30, etc.).

Gambling does not fit any of these methods.

2. Matthew 7:12 is a principle violated by gambling.

In gambling, people compete against each other to take money from each other. The excuse is often cited that those involved know that they can lose money so there is no harm done. But the expectation of the possibility of losing your money is not a justification for desiring to take someone else’s money—even if it is a dollar.

No one plays the lottery (or gambles in other ways) with the hope of losing. They do so with the hope of winning. But where does the rest of the money come from? From others who have the same goal in mind.

Someone rightly described gambling as “theft by mutual agreement.” This is not loving others but loving material possessions.

3. Gambling conflicts with God’s work ethic.

Ephesians 4:28 teaches us to stop stealing from others and instead work with our hands what is good. “Money for nothing” counters that principle of working hard for what we need or want. It’s an attempt to sidestep God’s will.

4. Gambling violates God’s laws against greed and covetousness.

We can do this with our jobs too, no doubt. (There is a big difference between making money in order to live and living to make money.) But gambling, by definition, plays on our desire for gain.

It violates the command to “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have” (Hebrews 13:5).

These principles are why I don’t buy lottery tickets. I do not try to justify the purchase by citing the good things some of the money is used for. I also know that there is as much (or more) harm that is done to a society as a whole when gambling becomes addictive to some. I hope that you will consider these principles too.

About Jason Sparks

I am passionate about spreading the Gospel. God has blessed me with a wife and two children. I have been preaching full time since graduating Brown Trail School of Preaching in June, 1999 and also have an MA from University of Phoenix.

View all posts by Jason Sparks

3 Responses to “4 Reasons I’ll Never Buy A Lottery Ticket”

  1. Karen Green Says:

    Thank You so very much for teaching the truth!! Sorry to say that my own mother LOVED playing the lottery and bingo until the day she couldn’t get out and move around. Sadly to say she was a catholic and never practiced Catholism!! I am SO VERY THANKFUL TO GOD ALMIGHTY!!! AND OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST FOR bringing into the Lord’s church and learning the truth!! Thank You again for teaching the truth!! May God Almighty bless your heart, mind and soul with His constant love!!!

    Because of Christ,
    Karen Green
    New Concord Church of Christ, New Concord, Ohio

    Reply

  2. Kenneth Wayne Says:

    Hay Jayson, great article as always. Yes, it may be nice to be a winner, BUT, by doing so as christian, we will also be saying; “We’re really not putting our Trust and Faith in Him that is able to provide ALL that we need. God bless you and your family in the work for our Lord and Savior.

    Reply

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