Would Jesus Endorse the Lottery?

By Mike Hughes

Every question in life ought to be considered in light of, “What would Jesus do?” What does his Word say? It is by his Word that all mankind will be judged (Jn. 12:48). Is it right or wrong?

Lottery means “a drawing of lots in which prizes are distributed to the winners among persons buying a chance.” Therefore, a lottery is a means of gambling, and gambling is wrong, dead wrong. Gambling, in whatever form it takes (lottery, bingo, etc.), is sin. It violates every principle of truth, equity and honesty. There is not one good thing that can be said of gambling. In spite of arguments made to say the profits will be used for education or some other good work, it remains a dishonest and damnable venture. There were some in Paul’s day who slanderously accused him of saying, “Let us do evil, that good may come” (Rom. 3:8). He declared that “damnation is just” for people who think that way! One can never scripturally do a wrong thing in order that good may be the end result. A lottery is evil and we must not do evil and unjustly seek to disguise it under the cover that good will come from it. It’s just not right!

A Lottery Is Sinful Because It Violates the Golden Rule

“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them ” (Matt. 7:12). In gambling, one seeks all others to lose while he wins. It is depriving others of the means of their living. It doesn’t matter if they are a willing participant or not, the result is the same. People may agree to commit fornication with each other but their agreement doesn’t make it right! Fornication is sin, period (I Cor. 6:18)!

A Lottery Is Sinful Because It Is Not An Honest Day’s Work

For An Honest Day’s Pay

Gambling is trying to beat someone else out of what they have without having to compensate them for it with honest labor. “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread” (Gen. 3:19). “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth” (Eph. 4:28).

A Lottery Is Sinful Because It Violates the Principle of Proper Stewardship

“Moreover it is required is stewards, that a man be found faithful” (1 Cor. 4:2). God has entrusted us with all our material possessions. They are not to be squandered and misused on our own lusts, but to be used to his glory. When a person takes that which should be used in support of his family and “throws it to the wind” on some get-rich-quick scheme, he is not providing for his own (1 Tim. 5:8).

A Lottery Is Sinful Because It Sets an Evil Example

We are to “recompense to no man evil for evil, provide things honest in the sight of all men” (Rom. 12:17). Gambling is not an honest way of making a living. It is living off the misfortune of others. “Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God” (3 In. 1:11).

A Lottery Is Sinful Because It Joins You With Evil Companions

“Be not deceived: evil communications (companionships) corrupt good manners (morals)” (1 Cor. 15:33). Gambling is the very stock and trade of organized crime which preys on people who are willing to squander their living. Is this the company you desire to keep?

A Lottery Is Sinful Because It Leads to Other Sins

“But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Tim. 3:13). Gambling leads to dishonesty, immorality, theft, lying and fraud. Such crimes are higher where gambling is present.

A Lottery Is Sinful Because It Destroys the Home and Family

“But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (1 Tim. 5:8). The addictive nature of gambling has caused many to get into debt so deep they lose everything they have, even their family. Any activity which results in the destruction of the home cannot be right.

A Lottery Is Sinful Because It Violates the First and

Great Commandment To Love God Supremely

“Jesus said … Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Matt. 22:37). “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matt. 6:24). Gambling becomes the master and enslaves millions. You can’t serve God and riches (wealth) at the same time. It takes one away from God.

“Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself ” (Matt. 22:39). How can one love, which means to “seek the best interest of,” his fellowman while trying to gain what is his? It doesn’t make sense.

Lottery means “a drawing of lots in which prizes are distributed to the winners among persons buying a chance.” Therefore, a lottery is a means of gambling, and gambling, in whatever form (lottery, bingo, raffle), is sin. No, Jesus would not endorse a lottery. He would oppose it!

Guardian of Truth XXXVII: 20, p. 23
October 21, 1993