We surveyed our church and asked for the most pressing questions they have about Scripture or what the Bible says about controversial modern day issues. I’ll be answering many of those questions over the course four weeks in my series Hot Topics. In case you missed the first message, here’s the second question I answered:
How many of you would be willing to bet $10 that I will say that gambling is a sin? :-)
Some people believe that the Bible talks directly about gambling in different places. They will say that there was the casting of lots and that was gambling. I don’t believe that to be true. There were different people who would cast lots in the Bible. For example, when Judas Iscariot took his own life, the disciples cast lots to see who would be the next disciple. To me, that was a form of decision-making – like drawing straws or flipping a coin – not gambling.
Gambling really is a form of thievery and let me tell you why: Legitimate business is a win-win situation. If I sell you a widget for a dollar, you get the widget and I get the dollar. We both win. Nobody can win at gambling without another losing. The person who gambles and wins has the motive of getting something from another for nothing – thievery. The person who loses has the same motive, but has the added problem of being foolish. The Bible says, “Woe to him who increases that which is not his” (Habakkuk 2:6).
Now, whereas the Bible doesn’t say much of anything directly about gambling or buying lottery tickets, it does have a lot to say about our attitude toward money and our stewardship of money. I would argue that there might be times when a little bet for fun may not be a sin. Buying a raffle ticket at your kid’s school is not a sin. Playing golf with your friend and saying, “Hey, I bet you five bucks you can’t make this shot!” is not a sin. I would argue that there are those times when at worst you may be wasting money. At best, you may be having some light-hearted entertainment – and it’s probably not a sin. But what starts out as a little friendly entertainment can very quickly become sinful and dangerous.
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (1 Timothy 6:10).
This is just one question of eight from my first message in the Hot Topics message series. You can watch the whole message here.