Summary: Gambling is ok because it doesnt hurt anybody, right??
I wish to continue my deliberation on the Value of Work by looking at Gambling. There has always been the enticement to put out a little with the hope to win a lot. And it is an even greater enticement when we have things likes the lottery. So that since life is so hard and money is so scarce, then what harm could there be in just playing a few numbers. After all, I am not addicted; I am not spending the rent or the Children’s food money; what is the big deal?
Gambling is harmful since it runs counter to the way that God has structured our lives so as to ensure the maximum benefit and productivity. To then engage in gambling is to accept some false perceptions about our value and responsibility. Why then is gambling harmful? Two reasons come readily to mind.
Firstly, GAMBLING IS PREDICATED ON THE NOTION THAT IN ORDER FOR ONE PERSON TO GAIN WEALTH, OTHERS MUST LOOSE. Immediately there is a discrepancy with our understanding of how we view our brothers and sisters. According to our faith, we are under obligation to protect rather than take advantage of our brother. For we are our brother’s keeper.
If we resort to gambling then all we would have accomplished is perfecting a way of transferring, wealth instead of creatively finding a way to improve one’s ability to earn. If we resort to gambling then all we would have accomplished is fine tuning a means of exploitation, even if you argue that it is mutual, since you say no one is forcing anyone else to be part of the scheme. If we resort to gambling then all we would have accomplished is institutionalizing a way of fostering selfishness. For no one gambles simply so as to give up of his resources to someone else who is luckier than he. Instead, he gambles with the hope of getting everything for himself. There is no thought for the man who as a result of his new found wealth today, will not have enough to care for his family tomorrow.
So, any system that finds its ability to flourish, its sustenance, its engine of growth in the selfish exploitation of others - is intrinsically wrong and unhealthy. People can’t be sacrificed in the name of making a buck. A person must be valued for the relationship which is shared than for the dollar sign which he represents. My Christian responsibility must lead me to assess my motivations and the consequences of my actions. I must therefore choose carefully with what things I will involve myself.
Secondly, GAMBLING IS PREDICATED ON THE NOTION OF GAINING WEALTH BY CHANCE. Based on our look at the creation narratives, it is clear that God’s intention was never that man should give over his way to prosperity to chance. Instead, he instructed man to be involved in purposeful, creative and personal toil so that he could eat the reward of his labour. Anything else would be a complete misunderstanding of his purposes, at best; or a willful disregard for his precept and example, at worst.
If we leave our earning to chance, then we fall prey to the encouragement to laziness. There is too much of a get rich quick mentality that is all too pervasive in our communities. This is the motivation for young men to wait until others have worked hard to acquire what they have and then in short time deprive them of it. This desire for wealth now, wealth for which you have not worked, is the same desire that is fostered by gambling. If the money put into horse racing, the slot machine, the lotto, the bingo, the raffle were put into some other kind of investment - there is the probability that the returns would be more guaranteed.
Also, if we leave our earning to chance, then we fall prey to the enticement to lack of dependence on God. When a person lives his life by chance, then he is making a statement about God. He is saying that God is unfaithful and cannot be trusted. Therefore it is more profitable and holds a better likely-hood that his needs will be met by some other means, than by God’s provision. The Scripture reminds us of God’s commitment to us in providing for our daily needs; and our experience is a constant reminder of God’s unflinching commitment to taking care of us. We can say with conviction the words of the Psalmist, “...I was young and now I am old, and I have never seen the righteous forsaken nor his offspring begging bread.”
Would you rather living by the remote possibility that your numbers could be played this week or by the certainty that God will take care of you?