You may have seen on the news that the Powerball jackpot has not been won yet, and it is now reaching an estimated $1.3 Billion. Many of life’s problems stem from finances, and it’s definitely tempting to think well what if I just won the lottery, then all these inconveniences tied to money would disappear. Aaron Armstrong, blogger for BloggingTheologically.com, has written a post titled What a Lottery Can’t Satisfy.
Armstrong discusses how he used to buy lottery tickets on occasion but never won. He believes that God was withholding this from him because it would not have been good for him; he worshipped getting rich rather than God. He states, “If I had one god, it was money.”
He admits that there are days where he’s still tempted with what-ifs, “usually around the theme of ‘if I had a little more money…’” But as a believer, he is pulled back to the reality that money is not who he serves and money is not what he wants most, Christ is. Armstrong explains,
“Money and earthly possessions cannot deliver what only Christ can. A winning lottery ticket—whether it’s $950 million or $90—won’t bring happiness in the end. Whatever pleasure it brings is fleeting. What pleasures Christ offers satisfy eternally.”
Roger Oldham, Crosswalk.com Contributor, shares this in his article What Did Jesus Actually Have to Say about Money:
“When anchored in Jesus' teaching, our money can be all that God's intends for our part in advancing his Kingdom, in ministering to the needs of others, and in providing for our needs according to the resources he has allowed us to receive.”
Jesus speaks a lot about money in the New Testament; he knows the hold that money has on people's hearts, the dependence we often feel with it, and the idolatry that can stem from it. The temptation with money is real, and it can affect some people more than others or differently than others.
Another Crosswalk.com Contributor, Dr. Roger Barrier, discusses whether it’s a sin or not for Christians to buy a lotto ticket:
“You can purchase a ticket if you want to. After all, Paul wrote: "Everything is permissible—but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible—but not everything is constructive” (1 Corinthians 10:23).
God says that there are better things to do with our money than throw it away. Excess money should be saved for future needs or given to the Lord’s work, not gambled away (1 Corinthians 4:2).
Get rich schemes often tempt us away from trusting God as the real source of our financial security. They can lead us to trust more in our money than in our God. They can mess with our minds regarding the real dangers of materialism (Matthew 6:24; 1 Timothy 6:10; and Hebrews 13:5).”
Barrier concludes that the biggest danger in playing the lotto comes from loving money more than we love Christ. But only you know your conscience and whether this will cause you to stumble in your faith. If you’re not sure, then ask the Holy Spirit for guidance, and ask yourself why you are buying the lottery ticket in the first place—what need is it trying to fulfill?
Armstrong sums it up best,
“But the fact remains: what a lottery can’t satisfy, Christ can. He holds nothing back. He offers us the greatest gift of all–himself. And that is more than enough.”
To read Aaron Armstrong’s full blog post, please visit BloggingTheologically.com.
Publication date: January 11, 2016
Liz Kanoy is an editor for Crosswalk.com.