St. James Blog

Reflections on life in the Kingdom of God. Events at St. James.

Power Ball

What should be the Christian attitude towards lotteries? The Bible doesn't mention them and is generally silent about gambling. The church's teaching has historically been that little wagers between friends is generally harmless and can add a bit of spice to an activity. I used to play squash with a friend and we often had a small bet on the last game. Loser bought the beer. It was fun and harmless. The church has generally frowned upon large institutional gambling for at least three reasons. It is a tax upon the poor. It is often designed to be addictive (Video Slot Machines for example are optimized to encourage continued play). It can shift the focus of our hope.

I have taken greater delight in the way of your decrees
     than in all manner of riches.  (Psalm 119:14)

It is hard to carry a lottery ticket in your wallet and have your hope centered on God. Not impossible but difficult. When people buy lottery tickets they tend to imagine what they would do if they won. This is a subtle or blatant placing of our hope in fortune. When we do this our focus shifts away from our hope and trust in God's providence.

I lift up my eyes to the hills.
     From where does my help come?
My help comes from the
made heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1-2

Should you buy a lottery ticket or not. Well its up to you. Can you do so without shifting the focus of your hope in Christ? If buying a lottery ticket fills you with dreams of a better life perhaps you should not.

St. Stephen's Day

Comments 1

Guest - Dan Olson on Wednesday, 13 January 2016 12:25

Great post! I think you've hit the nail right on the head.

Great post! I think you've hit the nail right on the head.
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Thursday, 21 September 2017