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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Church Declines Tithe from Gambling Winnings

Now this is integrity!

According to First Coast News, Robert Powell won $6 million dollars in a lottery jackpot and planned to tithe $600,000 of it to his church. The tithe was a good thing to do.

Playing the lottery, however, was foolish, and for that reason the church has declined his tithe of lottery money.

The Bible doesn't explicitly condemn gambling in such language as "Thou shalt not gamble," but there there are principles dealing with work and money in the Bible which indicate that many aspects of gambling are things God disapproves of.

For instance, God establishes the work ethic in Genesis 2:15, that human beings are to perform useful work each day and not be idle. The Bible also outlines work as they way we are to obtain our needs: 2 Thessalonians 3:10.

The Bible speaks against idleness in 1 Thessalonians 5:14, 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 2 Thessalonians 3:7, 2 Thessalonians 3:11, and 1 Timothy 5:13.

What is usually at the root of gambling, in addition to an attempt to get around the work ethic, is an inordinate love of money. The Bible says in 1 Timothy 6:10 that (not money itself, but) the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Hebrews 13:5 also warns us to steer clear of the love of money. Matthew 6:24 also tells us that if the pursuit of money is our overriding goal, it will be our master. Ecclesiastes 5:10 also tells us that it is an unsatisfying master.

Proverbs 13:11 speaks against attempting to "get rich quick."

All this is in addition to the danger of becoming addicted to the thrill of gambling, so that we throw away the money we earn from our honest job in an attempt to win.

This can lead to putting our family in need, leaving our bills unpaid, and needing to borrow from our family and friends.

It can also lead to job loss if we're avoiding work to go gamble, and can break up a family that is neglected in favor of the slot machine or the card table.

Some gamblers write lots of bad checks and may find themselves in trouble with the law.

Gambling addicts may turn to robbery or burglary in order to steal to support their habit.

I recall about 18 years ago, an Air Force sergeant lost a lot of money gambling in Deadwood. He tried to break into the casino late at night after closing in order to steal back his money. Someone happened to be in the building and he ended up murdering that person. Now someone is dead, and this sergeant is rotting in prison.

There are so many moral and practical reasons to oppose gambling, it's no wonder this church declined a tithe from gambling winnings.


Anonymous said...

There are some moral parallels between this issue and embryonic stem cell research. Regardless what potential good may come of gambling in a few cases, it can never equal the damage done to a society through the wide-spread partication and acceptance of the practice. I think the pastor did the right and moral thing. God bless him.

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