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The Evils of Gambling

Faith & Finance

Christian talk radio with Rob West

March 9, 2022

And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots. Then they sat down and kept watch over him there. The casting of lots in Matthew 27 describes soldiers gambling for pieces of Jesus' clothing. We’ll discuss a biblical perspective on gambling today on MoneyWise. IS GAMBLING A SIN? The Bible doesn’t come right out and call gambling a sin, but it does contain many verses to guide us about wanting easy money. Proverbs 13: 11 reads, Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it. And 1 Timothy 6: 9 warns, But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. That could certainly describe gambling. It is a snare that often plunges people into destruction. The purpose of Man is to give glory to God. Christians are to pursue this in all of their affairs. You simply can’t make an argument that gambling glorifies God, but there are many arguments that gambling violates God’s principles. James 2: 8 tells us, If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, You shall love your neighbor as yourself, you are doing well. Let me explain When you go to work, you’re part of a production process. Something is created that didn’t exist before, a product or service that has real value. There is increase, and remarkably, both the buyer and the seller gain. You might not ever think about it, but the world is a better place for your efforts. Now, how is gambling is harmful to your neighbor? It’s what is known as zero sum economics. In order for one person to gain, another must lose. Nothing of value is produced by the act of gambling. For one person to win $100 at a slot machine, another person had to lose $100. For one person to win $100 million in the lottery, a whole lot of other people had to lose $100 million, one ticket at a time. BUT WHAT ABOUT THE GOOD THAT CAN COME FROM GAMBLING? The argument is often made that gambling, the lottery in particular, has a positive impact on society. Casinos create jobs that benefit the local community. The lottery produces funds that benefit the schools and children. But at what cost? Remember, with gambling, no one can win unless someone else loses. That indisputable fact alone wipes out the argument that gambling benefits society. There’s a saying that’s supposed to be funny, but isn’t. It’s that the lottery is a way to get poor people to pay for middle income kids’ college. Gambling has long been labeled an addiction by mental health professionals, and the cost of that addiction is hidden from view. Slot machines light up and bells go off when there’s a winner, never when someone loses. A person holds a giant check on TV for winning the lottery, but we don’t see the father who spent half his paycheck on lottery tickets. THE REAL COST OF GAMBLING A Baylor University study on the negative impact of gambling addiction placed the cost to society of a single pathological gambler at $9, 300 a year. An estimated 2 million people in the U. S. are addicted to gambling and as many as 20 million have work and relationship problems due to gambling. Researchers have identified a host of ways that gambling harms the individual and society as a whole, including crime, loss of work productivity, bankruptcy, broken families and even suicide. Economists would tell you that there’s yet another downside to gambling, what they call opportunity cost. That means we’ll never see the positive gain that spending hard-earned dollars elsewhere would have achieved, such as increased capital and job creation. But there is also a spiritual loss for the addicted gambler who craves just one more win. In Matthew 6: 24, Jesus warns, No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. In Exodus 20, God says, I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me. LISTENER QUESTIONS On today’s program, Rob also answers listener questions: ●Is it ok for a newly married couple to keep their bank accounts separate? ●What should you consider when choosing a financial adviser? A listener also shares a testimonial about coming together on money prior to getting married. RESOURCES MENTIONED ●Eventide Funds ●Praxis Funds ●Inspire Investing

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