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THE CHRISTIAN AND THE LOTTERY

''As the dark day of January 20th looms ahead for the start up of the lottery I was looking over some statistics from a Mississippi county. Within one year after the lottery began the statistics showed the following results:

                        Stolen vehicles...................................up 188%

                        Assaults..............................................up 185%

                        Burglaries...........................................up 200%

                        Thefts.................................................up l00%

                        Child molestation...............................up 353%

                        Vandalism..........................................up 190%

                        Suicide...............................................up 900%

    Could any Christian conceive of Jesus gambling? If the answer is not enough to dissuade a Christian from playing (or selling) the lottery, consider the following:

        1) The lottery is based on greed. Why would I buy a lottery ticket knowing I have a better chance of being hit by a meteor than winning $1 million? Because I'm not content with what I have-Pm greedy, I want more and more. But the greedy will not inherit the kingdom of God (Col. 3:5; Gal.5:20,21).

        2) The lottery capitalizes on the misfortunes of others. When a person wins the lottery where does the money to pay the winner come from? The losers! That certainly seems to be the complete opposite of love. Jesus teaches us to "do to others what you would have them do to you" (Matt. 7:12) and to "love your neighbor as yourself (Matt 22:39).

        3) The lottery is potentially addictive. There are over 10 million problem gamblers in the U.S.. It is as addictive as alcohol or drugs. Would a Christian do something which might get out of control or influence someone else to get out of control? The fruit of the Spirit includes self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). "Abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul" (I Pet. 2:11).

        4)The lottery promotes dishonesty. How many lottery winners will report their winnings on their income tax returns? How many lies have been told, rules broken, money stolen in order to get money to buy a ticket? "Each of you must put off falsehood" (Eph.4:25).

        5) The lottery puts one in bad company. The lifestyle of the typical player is not the Christian lifestyle God wants and demands. "Bad company corrupts good character" (I Cor. 15:33).

        6) The lottery fosters poor stewardship. Our possessions are gifts and a trust from God; the lottery wastes the gifts and violates the trust (I Cor. 4:2; I Pet. 4:10).

        7) The lottery thwarts constructive ambition. It flies all in the face of the Christian work ethic (II Thess. 3:6-13; Eph. 4:28).

        8) The lottery offends Christians and non-Christians. "Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven" (Matt. 5:16).

        9) The lottery develops a "why not" attitude. A gambler often has the attitude: "I'm not hurting anyone.  It's my life; I can do what I want." A Christian, however is taught: "You are not your own; you were bought at a price" (I Cor. 6:19-20).

        10) The lottery encourages materialism and worldliness. It never draws one closer to God, only closer to the world. Heed the warning of I Tim. 6:6-11 and the plea ofHeb. 13:5: "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have."

        Should a Christian play the lottery? You decide. Then let God be jthe judge!

For His Cause,
Tim Woodward