By Andy Alexander
“Spend with sense” is the advice given by Hoosier Lottery officials as the Powerball jackpot reaches an estimated 70 million dollars. These officials are afraid that innocent people will be hurt by uncontrolled spending for Powerball tickets. Innocent people include wives and children of gamblers who suffer because the weekly pay-check is spent for a chance to strike it rich at the state’s lottery window. There are many who play the lottery even though they do not have enough money to provide their families with the necessities of life; so the warning is sent out to those who play to “spend with sense,” while at the same time enticing ads are aired which promote the lottery as the place to hit it big and solve all of your money problems.
The commercials that appear on television in Kentucky that encourage its citizens to gamble imply that everyone is a winner. People are pictured buying lottery tickets and just having a good time while the winning number is announced. Those who do not win the jackpot do still win, because the state is enriched with the rest of the money the losers lost, and the state will certainly use that money to benefit its citizens.
It ironic that a state would spend money to promote gambling, and then spend additional money encouraging people to be careful how much they spend. The state of Indiana is spending $25,000 in an advertising campaign to encourage spending with sense, while spending much more than that showing all the benefits of playing the lottery and picturing everyone as the winner. If everyone is a winner, then the more everyone spends, the more everyone wins. However, the truth is, everyone is a loser.
Gambling produces nothing. There are no products or services rendered that benefit mankind. The only products of gambling are abused wives and children, debts incurred that cannot be repaid, theft and crimes of various sorts, and honest, hard working citizens that must foot the bill for the losses.
Gambling violates several principles in God’s word and violation of God’s word always brings heartaches. God has ordained that man should work in order to provide the necessities of life (Gen. 3:19; Eph. 4:28; 2 Thess. 3:10-11). The gambler wants to hit it big, quit his job, and sit back and take it easy. This individual appears to be a distant relative of the rich man in Luke 12:16-21 who had a bountiful crop and he told his soul, “Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry” (Lk. 12:19). This parable was told immediately after the warning to “beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Lk. 12:15).
Covetousness is one of the driving forces behind gambling and those who harbor it in their hearts have no “inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God” (Eph. 5:5).
Paul instructs Timothy concerning the danger of riches and of the desire to have riches. “But they that will be rich fall into temptation and snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Tim. 6:9-10). A quick look into the life of those who gamble will prove the truth of this passage.
The degree to which one participates does not change the fact that sin is involved. Bingos and raffles for charity, just a few lottery tickets, just one dollar in a football pool at work, or a two dollar bet at the track all violate the word of God. Christians must “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Eph. 5:11). We must also abide by the golden rule which says, “There-fore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets” (Matt. 7:12).
Let us be separate from those of the world and “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).
Guardian of Truth XXXVIII: 10, p. 11
May 19, 1994