Picture Jesus Playing the Lottery

Article by

Founder & Teacher, desiringGod.org

Can you? What would happen inside the soul of Jesus when he reads, “Win up to $10,000 now—$1,000,000 later…play anywhere, win anytime…for people who just can’t wait to get rich”? What does Jesus really long for? What should we really want in life? The lottery is going to be the litmus paper of many hidden motives.

The lottery is a new opportunity to pierce your soul with many pangs. It is a new chance to lead your children into ruin. It is being pushed beyond our worst expectations. And its effect will be terribly destructive on the moral life of our society. Here are some reasons why I urge you to resist the temptation to play. Make it a rule in your family not to play. Tell the children NO. And teach them why.

  1. The Bible teaches us not to want to be rich.

    Those who desire to be 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 the root of all sorts of evil. And some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang. (1 Timothy 6:9-10)

    The desire to be rich is suicidal. The heart that is hot after money is not pursuing God. This heart is the root of all evil. The passage goes on to say that we are to pursue “righteousness, godliness, faith, love.” Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and all these other things will be added to you.” Our pursuit in life is not to get rich—neither quickly or slowly. Our passion in life is to be pure and holy and loving and sold out to the cause of Christ. Playing the lottery is not motivated by “hunger and thirst for righteousness.” It is driven by a love for the world. And that is deadly. For the world and everything in it is passing away (1 John 2:17). Take heed. Where your treasure is there will your heart be also (Matthew 6:21).

  2. It is wrong to wager with a trust fund.

    Good stewards do not handle their master’s money that way. Faithful trustees may not gamble with a trust fund. They have no right. And everything we have is a trust from God, to be used for his glory. How does it glorify God to wager with his money?

    Faithful stewards do not gamble. They work and trade: value for value, just and fair. This is the pattern again and again in Scripture. Wage and benefit correspond to work done. And when you are handling the funds of another, how much more irresponsible it is to wager!

  3. It is wrong to endorse and support an institution that is bound to confirm people in their weaknesses and cultivate in others the greed that only lies latent without this outlet. The lottery will hook most easily those people who need just the opposite, namely, encouragement and guidance in fiscal diligence and responsibility.

    I urge you, for the honor of our Treasure in heaven, and for the good of our society: Don’t play the lottery.

    Content in the wisdom and love of God,

    Pastor John