What is Gambling? The defintion includes taking a risk. We take calculated risks in many areas of life that are acceptable, good and right. However, there are certain risks which would be classed as foolish and folly. When we speak of gambling we are not normally referring to life's risky decisions, but a specific act of placing monitory stakes in order to win more.
The act of gambling is not necessarily wrong. For instance, supporting a school or charity by buying a prize draw ticket, the aim being to help the school, not to win the box of chocolates. (It is not about justifying this method of fund raising for the church but merely saying the spirit of the person buying the ticket would not primarily be one of gambling, but a desire to support the good cause.) It is the spirit of gambling that is wrong and violates the spirit of Christianity.
It can be defined that spirit of gambling as a desire to gain more at someone else's expense. Gambling is different from insurance which is planned and responsible cover. It is different from investment. (Though playing the stock market can easily become gambling.) We may be willing to lose and be able to afford to lose, but our desire is to win while others lose.
This spirit of gambling violates the Christian spirit in the following ways:
1. Gambling violates the spirit of contentment.
1 Timothy 6:6-8
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.
8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.
The words that follow…"for people who want to get rich " is very appropriate to a person who has the gambling spirit. (cf 1 Tim 6:9-10)
1 Timothy 6:9-10
9 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.
10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
2. Gambling is the opposite of Jesus' teaching.
In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"
"It is more blessed to give than to receive."
The gambler says, 'it is more blessed to receive than to give.'
3. Gambling demonstrates a self-reliance.
The gambler looks to luck and chance to gain rather than relying on God. The Bible enjoins giving sacrificially and then trusting God to meet our needs.
2 Corinthians 9:8
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
4. Gambling violates the Christian concept of stewardship.
We have made Jesus Lord. We are not our own but bought with a price. (1 Cor 6:19-20) We are responsible not as owners of our money, but as stewards that will give an account. (Matt 25:14-30; Luke 12:48) Would God want us to gamble with his money? Does God need us to gamble with his money?
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;
20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
14 "Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them.
15 To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey.
16 The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more.
17 So also, the one with the two talents gained two more.
18 But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money.
19 "After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them.
20 The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.'
21 "His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'
22 "The man with the two talents also came. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.'
23 "His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'
24 "Then the man who had received the one talent came. 'Master,' he said, 'I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed.
25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.'
26 "His master replied, 'You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed?
27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
28 "'Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents.
29 For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.
30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'
But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
5. Gambling violates the Christian work ethic.
Paul to the Thessalonians says they must "earn the bread they eat." (2 Thess 3:12) and that "if a man will not work, he shall not eat." (v 10) . Gambling is an attempt to side step the 'earn your own bread' principle.
2 Thessalonians 3:12
Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat.
2 Thessalonians 3:10
For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat."
6. Very close to gambling is the sin of greed.
The desire for more is the spirit of gambling.
But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people.