i have had several people come forward to me admitting that they have gambled in the past and have asked if it was wrong for Christians to do these things. Here in Louisville where it is the heart of horse-racing betting at Churchill Downs and across the river is a casino boat that has generated millions of dollars for its city, I begin to wonder the same question myself. Is it really wrong for people to gamble?
One of the famous questions I can still remember well was “Why does God bless people financially to people that are stuck-up snobs and won’t give to others to help?” That is a hard question to answer.
I admitted to having done gambling before I became serious in ministry. i used to love to go to Caesar’s and gamble $50 on blackjack or the craps table. If I recall, the last time I played was 1998, almost 10 years ago. I also love to play Fantasy Football which I used to play with a local deaf group of 14 guys. It was fun hanging out with them watching football every monday night and butting heads about players, teams, and just being real men. Nowadays, I play for free on yahoo fantasy sports which I have won every my league the last 3 years. I begin to wonder…wow, I could have made some money off of that if I had really done something differently.
But then i realized, I was raised a specific way to believe that gambling is a big no-no. I have talked to several people about this issue. Gambling is wrong in the eyes of many of those I have spoken to, but nowhere in the Bible does it say “Thou Shalt Not Gamble” but if we look at various scriptures, there are tons of things that we could piece together little by little to get any idea on what God’s Word says about it but overall it is the individual’s decision on where they stand on this issue. As for me, I am a little challenged by this as I have beleived and felt this was out of the question, a big no for me. And I hope that it challenges you as well.
First of all, “Why gamble?”
Many people gamble because they feel they have needs that cannot be met through earned income. Gambling to them is their “opportunity” to gain more wealth and comforts.
Another group gambles just for the fun of it; they call themselves “social gamblers”.
A third group shows themselves to be “compulsive gamblers.” For them, gambling is a disease that wrecks their finances, families, and careers.
At first glance, each group appears to have a different motive for gambling but, in reality, they all have the same goals: gaining more money without labor or work involved (Proverbs 14:23) – the ultimate in get-rich-quick plans.
Second, “Is gambling wrong?”
As I said, this is only my opinion, but every individual is to make their own decision on how they want to stand on this issue. But this may help you as a Christian evaluate whether gambling is an activity in which you should be involved, because gambling:
Often is connected with other sinful acts, such as prostitution and drugs.
Is always involved with get-rich-quick motives (see Proverbs 28:22).
Discourages work or labor. typically late nighters or calling into work to be off (see Genesis 3:19).
Often will offend a brother or sister in Christ (see 1 Corinthians 8:11-12).
Grows and feeds a heart of greed and love of money, which Scripture says is the root of all evil. “Those who want to be rich fall into temptation, a trap, and many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge people into ruin and destruction” (1 Timothy 6:9).
I read somewhere in a magazine that “Christians are the only Christ that many non-Christians will ever see.” Remember that, more often than not, our actions and our decisions will have a great testimony of what should be the true nature of Christ. “I will honor those who honor Me, but those who despise Me will be disgraced” (1 Samuel 2:30). For me, I rather be safe than sorry and not do it at all. If I arrive in Heaven and someone up there tells me that I was allowed to gamble, then oh well, no big deal for me. Would love to get some comments about this if you could share.