Buying Lottery Tickets Reflecting on the Behavior of those who Play the Lottery

A while back, I was asked to give my thoughts on playing the lottery. Since I hadn’t really given it much thought, I had to go to the scriptures to see what God says about it. This is what I found.

In Matthew Henry’s commentary on 1 Samuel 14:36-46 he talks about how Saul and Jonathan went up against the Philistines. Jonathan attacked them by faith, but Saul was playing at seeking God’s advice before giving the order to attack. Because Saul didn’t receive an answer he figured that there was some guilt among the Israelites that was making God stay silent. So he cast lots to find out where the sin was.

Matthew Henry says at this point, “Lots should be cast with prayer, because they are a solemn appeal to Providence, and by them we beg of God to direct and determine us, for which reason some have condemned games that depend purely upon lot or chance as making too bold with a sacred thing.”

So with that in mind, I guess you could say that when you play the lottery you are asking God to judge you as a good enough steward to be able to handle the gazillion dollar jackpot in a way that will advance His kingdom.

The parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30 comes to mind. It was the servant who’d done the most to advance his master’s estate with the 5 talents he’d received at first who was rewarded with the one talent the lazy servant buried in the ground. In light of that story, I’m thinking God wouldn’t be to keen on allowing me to win the lottery until I’m well able to handle what He’s already blessed me with. And then there’s the whole issue of am I really being a good steward when I play the lottery if that same dollar could feed someone?

I’m really glad the person asked me about this. Now I have a scriptural basis for why I don’t play the lottery. Whereas before, it was just because I’m not very lucky in stuff like that. But that’s just for me. I’m not comfortable saying whether or not someone else should play. For all I know, the Holy Ghost could be directing that person to go buy a ticket because while there he/she could run into someone who desperately needs a smile or kind word to prevent a suicide.