Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Gambling Question #1: Is the sin of “unjust gain” (Proverbs 1:19) applicable to modern lottery winnings?

Proverbs 1:19) in the English Standard Version reads “"Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain; it takes away the life of its possessors"

The question under consideration is “Do lottery winnings fall under the category of “unjust gain” in this verse?”

If one reads the verses leading up to verse 19 in Proverbs 1, it would seem that what is being talked about is more equivelent to taking somthing by force from someone, like assaulting them and taking their wallet or purse. Notice (1:11)
  • “If they say, “Come with us, Let us lie in wait for blood, Let us ambush the innocent without cause;...”.

In verse 18, the thought is continued,
  • “But they lie in wait for their own blood. They ambush their own lives”.

In fact, the New American Standard Bible translates (Proverbs 1:19) as,
  • “So are the ways of everyone who gains by violence; It takes away the life of its possessors”. 

When thinking about the lottery. All would agree that winning a Lotto Jackpot is far from what we would consider and honest wage for a days work. Also, the Lottery is horrible temptation for many especially in the poorer classes of society. People would be much saving and investing the money they would have spent on a lottery ticket that only has a 1 in a Million chance of actually being a winner.   

Well known financial guru Dave Ramsey makes this bold statement about the lottery:
     The lottery is a tax on the poor, and on people who can’t do math. I’m not riding a moral high horse. Research shows that people from lower income brackets, folks who can’t afford to be throwing their money away on some ridiculous game, spend four times as much on lottery tickets as anyone else. Rich people don’t mess with this garbage, because they know the lottery isn’t a wealth-building tool When was the last time you saw a line of BMWs and Mercedes pulled up to your local convenience store to buy lottery tickets?     The only winners in the lottery game are the students who get scholarships, but in reality they are riding to school on the backs of the poor masses who gamble away their grocery money.     Lots of people think winning the lottery will mean life on easy street. The truth, however, is that it rarely works out that way. Did you know that 65 percent of Lotto winners go bankrupt in less than 15 years? Your chances of winning big are about 125 million to 1. You’re more likely to be bitten by a snake, or to die in a car accident on the way to buy the stupid lottery tickets.     If you’ve got money to throw around, do something smart with it, like get out of debt. Do you have an emergency fund? Are you investing for your retirement, or your kid’s education? If you’ve done all of this, give it to someone who’s hurting, or invest it in your community. Don’t waste it on something as dumb as the lottery. 
Clearly playing the Lotto is not a smart decision, it is usually poor stewardship of the blessing of money, and many times the choice to play the Lotto is motivated by greed. With that in mind, I still could  not say that “unjust gain” in (Proverbs 1:19) is applicable to the modern lottery, but instead is applicable to car-jackings, muggins, etc.
(Post By Cliff Sabroe)