“He that loves silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loves abundance with increase: this is also vanity.” ~Ecclesiastes 5:10
In recent years, there has been an increase in the popularity of gambling. Whether people take a gamble at a casino, by betting on a horse race, or by scratching a lottery ticket – all forms of gambling have been marketed as attractive and harmless. In this blog entry, we will discuss this growing craze.
Writer, Jack Zavada says, “According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, 2 million U.S. adults are pathological gamblers and another 4 to 6 million are problem gamblers. This addiction can destroy the stability of the family, lead to job loss, and cause a person to lose control of their life.” In the Bible, 2nd Peter 2:19 states: “…for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.”
Scripture speaks in principles. Perhaps it will not say verbatim, “Thou shalt not gamble” or “Thou shalt not take illegal drugs”, however, we know from biblical principles what is right and what is wrong. If we have any confusion or hesitancy, then it is up to us to study it out. Principally, Proverbs 13:11 steers us in a right direction. It says, “Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathers by labor shall increase.” Scripture also guides us in 1st Timothy 6:10. It states: “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
Author J.M. Judy writes, “In all of its forms, gambling is loaded down with evil. In the first place it destroys the incentive to honest work. Let the average young man win a hundred dollars at the races, it will so turn his head against slow and honorable ways of getting money that he will watch for every opportunity to get it easily and abundantly. The young girl who risks fifty cents and gets back fifty dollars will no longer be of service as a quiet, contented worker. The spirit of speculation, the passion to get something for nothing, is calculated to destroy the incentive to honest toil and to honorable methods of gain. As one values his character, as he values his peace of mind, so should he zealously guard himself against over-fascinating games of chance. Gambling is dishonest. It seeks something for nothing. Man possesses no money, that he might risk giving it to some rogue to waste in sin. All the property one possesses, he possesses it by stewardship to be used wisely and honestly for good. The person who has acquired a passion for betting on races and games is on a fair way to professional gambling and to speculating on the markets. And rarely does one ever escape these, if once he gets a start in them.”
Gambling creates an appetite of greed for more; more money, more cars, more boats, more houses. It creates a sense of ungratefulness and discontentedness and frowns upon good work ethics. It tends to eventually make one covetous. It also goes against the Biblical teaching of being a wise steward. 2nd Peter 1:3 says that God has given His children everything we need for life and the faith/virtues we need to live a Godly life. Therefore, it is our responsibility to be wise stewards of what we are entrusted with – whether that be money, faith, or even our time. The Bible even urges us to “redeem the time” since the days are evil (see Ephesians 5:16). In other words, we are to make the best use of our time. Therefore, we can understand why there are no clocks or windows in most casinos – they do not want you to know how much time you are wasting. Going to a casino is certainly not making the best use of the time God has given us. At the end of life, no one will say, “I should have spent more time at the casino.” No… instead, they will say, “I wish I would have spent more time with my family” or “I wish I would have spent more time with God and getting to know Him.” Life is happening now. Memories are made now. Regrets and heartache can be avoided in the future by what we choose to do presently.
The Bible speaks of wise stewardship in Matthew 25:14-29 in the parable of the talents. In this context, the term “talent” does not refer to “ability” as we understand the term. Rather, a talent was a weight used as the basis of monetary exchange. A talent of gold or silver had great worth. Although this parable was given by Jesus as an answer to when He would return, the principle of good stewardship may also be applied by it.
“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”
“But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.” ~1st Timothy 6:9
“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon [money].” ~Matthew 6:24
“Doing wrong is fun for a fool, but living wisely brings pleasure to the sensible.” ~Proverbs 10:23
“Lazy hands bring poverty, but hard-working hands bring riches.” ~Proverbs 10:4
“In the blink of an eye wealth disappears, for it will sprout wings and fly away like an eagle.” ~Proverbs 23:5
“Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.” ~1 Timothy 6:17