Summary: Does the Bible say "Thou shalt not gamble"? No. What then does the Bible have to say about gambling?
Gambling – Wall Street vs. Lotto
By: JB Hall
There are 3 basic differences between the stock market and gambling (the Lotto).
1. The difference between “investment and scheme”
2. The difference between trusting “God” and trusting “luck”
3. The difference between profiting “with” others and profiting “from” others
Let’s examine each in the light of scripture.
1. The difference between “investment” and “scheme” – While both involve risk, the difference between investment and scheme lies in our purpose and strategy. God’s plan for us to accumulate wealth involves following His principles, such as labor (II Thessalonians 3:10), faithfulness, or consistence (Proverbs 28:20), and self-control (Proverbs 21:20). It also involves process, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Galations 6:9) In other words, we are to “invest” our resources (labor, knowledge, money, etc.), guided by scriptural principles, allowing God to increase our “investment” in due season. When we try to circumvent God’s principles and process by a get rich quick strategy, we misunderstand the purpose of wealth accumulation (the blessing of God’s provision, for our good and to His glory, by our exercising faith in following His principles and patiently waiting for Him to give the increase), and our strategy becomes a scheme instead of an investment.
2. The difference between trusting “God” and trusting “luck” – God’s thoughts toward you are “…thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” (Jeremiah 29:11) In Matthew 6:33 Jesus instructs, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” I Peter 5:6 says, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:” We trust God when we humble ourselves before Him, believing He will not do us evil but will provide for our needs and promote, or exalt, us in due time, as His word says. When we do not trust God to provide for us and promote us, we will try to assume responsibility for our own care and seek to provide for all our future needs now (immediately), and promote ourselves quickly, not in due season. In doing so, we are relying on luck to supply our needs instead of God. God desires our faith, trusting Him to supply our needs, not luck.
3. The difference between profiting “with” others and profiting “from” others – Philippians 2:3-4 say, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” Investment enables the profiting of all involved. Gambling seeks to bring profit to one at the expense of others. Here’s an illustration: Let’s say I agree to cut your lawn for $20.00. I “invest” my time and labor with the expectation that I will be financially compensated for my “investment”. Then, when you pay me, my investment of time and labor has yielded a return, but you, too have profited from my time and labor. I then decide to “invest” $10.00 of my earnings into the stock of a company that provides lawn-cutting services. That $10.00 provides the company operating capital to perform their service, purchase equipment, pay their employees, and expand their business. The people who contract their services profit from the services they provide. Additionally, as the company prospers, and the value of the stock increases, I, too, receive financial compensation as a dividend on my “investment”. Everyone involved profited. On the other hand, if I purchase a lottery ticket and win, I profited, but everyone whose money I won, lost their money. This is selfishly supplying my needs at the expense of others.