To meet this goal, they need to sell $3.3 million in tickets PER DAY. The Charlotte Oberver noted that after the first 22 days, $80million had been sold. This amounts to $3.6million/day. North Carolinians have caught the fever.
I do not want to argue the political, economic or educational benefits/detriments of the lottery. That was all hashed out in the fight to bring the lottery to the state. We lost that fight. Now the question for Christians is "Should I participate?" I do not think Christians should play the lottery.
Borrowing from John Piper and several other resources, here are reasons why a Christian should not participate in the lottery:
1) The Bible teaches us not to want to be rich.
Paul wrote in I Timothy 6:9-12 that “Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
This passage teaches us to use our money in a way that will bring us the greatest and longest gain and help us pursue our full and lasting pleasure. John Piper wrote that “The evils in the world come not because our desires for happiness are too strong but because they are so weak that we settle for fleeting pleasures that do not satisfy our deepest souls but in the end destroy them.” The root of all kinds of evil is that we are the kind of people who settle for the love of money instead of the love of God (v.10).
Christians are not to be motivated by greed or a desire for money. Christians live for a GREATER gain – CONTENTMENT is the WAY. If your godliness has freed you from the desire to be rich and has helped you be content with what you have, then your godliness is tremendously profitable (1 Tim. 4:8). Godliness that overcomes the craving for material wealth produces great spiritual wealth. So what verse 6 is saying is that it is very profitable not to pursue wealth.”
The desire to be rich is SUICIDE for your spiritual life. The heart that is focused on money is not focused on God. The Bible says if ever so clearly: THE LOVE OF MONEY IS THE ROOT OF ALL KINDS OF EVILS.
Proverbs 23:4-5 says “Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, Cease from your consideration of it. When you set your eyes on it, it is gone. For wealth certainly makes itself wings like an eagle that flies toward the heavens.”
2) It is wrong to wager with a trust fund.
Suppose I had to go away for six months on a mission trip. During that time, I gave you access to my funds to pay my mortgage, pay my bills, kids’ tuition, etc. Suppose you then you decided to take MY MONEY and play gambling games with it. Would you say that is RIGHT OR WRONG?
Good stewards do not handle their master’s money in that way. They have NO RIGHT. Christians believe that EVERYTHING we have is a trust from God. Paul asked in I Cor 4:7 “What do you have that you did not receive?” He stated again in I Cor 6:19 that “you are not your own. You have been bought with a price.”
3) It is wrong to support something that preys on weaknesses and cultivates sinfulness.
Many of you begin daydreaming when you hear about the lottery. You start thinking of what you could do with $200,000 or a million dollars. If you had not read this, that thought would still lie dormant. That greed and covetousness would lie latent in your heart.
The lottery is a system that preys on your human sinfulness and cultivates within you sinful thoughts and desires that otherwise would not be active. The sins the lottery brings to the surface of your life include the following:
i. The lottery encourages the breaking of first commandment, which says we are to have no other God in this world. It is possible that the lottery will take over your mind and be all that some think about. Matthew 6:24 says that “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”
iv. The lottery encourages people to dream of laziness and slothfulness. What do most people say when dreaming of winning lottery? They say (and you’ve probably said), “I’ll never have to work again.” Nothing fosters sin as much as IDLENESS. Paul wrote in Colossians 3:23 that “Whatever you do, work for the Lord – serve God.” Paul wrote in 2 Thessalonaisn 3:10 that “If a man won’t work, he won’t eat.”
v. The lottery encourages people to look for unrealistic solution to very real problems. You might have very real problem of DEBT. You might have very real problem of SPENDING. It took a while to get into debt – it will take a while to get out of debt.
vi. The lottery encourages people to think unbiblically that they can “give a little” and “get a lot.” In the lottery, it is possible to spend a dollar and win a million. However, the Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 9:6 that “whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.”
vii. The lottery encourages people to count on LUCK instead of GOD’S
ix. The lottery encourages discontentment. Iinstead of thanking God for what they do have, lottery players often complain about what they do not have. Hebrews 13:5 tells us to “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’”