What's wrong with playing the lottery...

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Note from Tim Bayly: Many believers gamble, some in the stock market while others play bingo or the lottery. Famous Christian celebrities play poker together, for money, while others gamble in casinos. This pastoral warning against gambling by David Wegener was published here back in 2009. Given the lottery craze of the past week or so, it seemed like a good time to run it again.

We got some new books for the Theological College of Central Africa library, recently. Now they are being processed to go into the collection and I was reading one of them this morning. The book is John H. Leith's Pilgrimage of a Presbyterian: Collected Shorter Writings, 2001, edited by Charles E. Raynal; Louisville: Geneva Press.

On pages 208-13, the book republishes a short article Leith wrote in 1956 titled, "Gambling--What's Wrong with It?." Here's a summary...

1. "Gambling encourages the belief that a man can enjoy the advantages of a prosperous society without making a significant contribution to that society."

2. "Gambling arouses false hopes and gives little in return."

3. "Gambling is parasitic by nature. It creates no new wealth and performs no useful service. At best, it merely redistributes wealth from ... the many ... to the few."

4. Gambling is an attempt "to escape responsible work..."

5. Gambling contributes to the breakdown of society. Gambling is associated with political corruption, bribery, violence and murder. "Gambling contributes to dishonesty." Many companies blame gambling for staggering percentages of losses of the company. It leads to "unpaid debts," and it has "corrupted sports."

6. Gambling may become an addiction and has done so to many people to the ruin of their lives.

7. Gambling is poor stewardship of the resources God has entrusted to you.

8. Community life is possible only when each person attempts to make a contribution to the general welfare. Gambling is an attempt "to take from the community while refusing to give anything in return."

9. We are our brother's keeper. Since gambling causes some to fall, we may not engage in it.

10. "Gambling does not help men become more Christlike. It aggravates human weakness. It stimulates greed and breeds covetousness."

An unknown early Christian wrote: "Do not be a dice-thrower but a Christian: cast your money on the table of the Lord at which Christ presides and the spectators are angels and the martyrs are present; and the patrimony which you are about to squander with that ruinous passion divide instead among the poor: lose your wealth to Christ."

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and big lots of grandchildren.

Want to get in touch? Send Tim an email!