Vol. 3, No. 3
The prevalence of games of chance in our modern society is a tragedy. Through this vice, homes are destroyed; finances wasted; and lives marred. Yet, in spite of these ills there is an eager acceptance of any kind of gambling. But, an even greater tragedy is that the Lord's people seem to be insensitive to this. Why? Could it be that ignorance has led to silent consent? Here are some scriptural principles that apply to gambling that the Bible classes should discuss. We should begin in the primary grades teaching why the child of God cannot participate in games of chance. Note now these simple, scriptural reasons why gambling is wrong.
Gambling is prompted by covetousness (Colossians 3:5; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Romans 7:7; Luke 12:15; Hebrews 13:5; 1 Timothy 6:10).
Gambling is poor stewardship of our resources (1 Corinthians 4:2; Matthew 25:14-30).
Gambling ruins the work ethic (Ephesians 4:28; Luke 9:11-27; Proverbs 28:19; 13:11).
Gambling is theft in disguise (Romans 12:17).
Gambling cannot follow Romans 13:10 for it hopes to take advantage of others.
Gambling produces evil fruit (Matthew 7:16-17).
Gambling misplaces trust in God's provisions (Proverbs 30:8-9).
Gambling teaches that the end justifies the means (i.e., school raffles for "worthy" projects) (Romans 3:8).
Gambling cannot follow the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12).
Gambling seeks to get "something for nothing" contrary to God's will (Genesis 3:19; Ephesians 4:28; Proverbs 28:20).
Gambling encourages sloth and laziness (Matthew 25:26; 1 Thessalonians 4:11; 2 Thessalonians 3:10).
Gambling is a habit-forming practice that destroys self-control (2 Timothy 3:3).
Gambling associates you with evil companions (1 Corinthians 15:33).
Gambling encourages selfishness and heartlessness (Galatians 6:10; Romans 13:10).
Gambling encourages discontent in life (1 Timothy 6:6-9; Psalm 62:10).
The Holy Spirit saw the potential danger of discouragement, so he instructed Paul to write, "And let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not" (Galatians 6:9). But one prominent avenue through which people become discouraged is through confusing success with faithfulness.
Often, Christians become discouraged simply because they do not feel successful in their Christian walk. All too often, our self-appointed goals go unmet, thus we become discouraged. A wife may have set as a goal the conversion of her husband. Parents may have set as a goal the spiritual development of their children. A Christian may have set as a goal the conversion of his neighbor. And on and on we could go with our self-appointed goals for success.
While there is nothing wrong with self-appointed goals, and I would encourage all people to have some, it needs to be realized that they will often go unmet. When this occurs, too often, we tend to view ourselves as unsuccessful and we become discouraged.
However, allow me to encourage you to rethink this matter. Is being unsuccessful a reason to lose courage? Does being unsuccessful equate to being unfaithful to God? Some of the greatest men of God wee unsuccessful but still pleasing to God. Noah was given a mission to preach to the wicked world in which he lived (2 Peter 2:5). The goal of that mission was to save lost souls. Now then, was Noah successful in achieving his goal? No, but he was faithful to the mission that God had given him.
What about the prophets? Were they not given the mission to preach to the people? Was not their goal to bring about repentance? Although they were not successful in reaching their goals, they were nonetheless faithful to the mission that God had given them.
If one's standing with God were to be determined by the kind of success he had, then men like Noah, Elijah, Jeremiah, the apostles and even Jesus were displeasing to God. Certainly, we know better than that. Thus, we must conclude that our lives are not measured by the amount of success we achieve.
Actually, our lives are measured by the kind of faithfulness we have shown. One can be faithful to God's mission, yet unsuccessful at the goal of God's mission. God never commanded his servants to be successful, but he did command them to be faithful.
The following show God's desire is for faithfulness in his children: "It is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful" (1 Corinthians 4:2). "His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant: thou has been faithful over a few things, I will set thee over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy lord" (Matthew 25:21). "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee the crown of life" (Revelation 2:10).
We all would be helped if we would but learn that our relationship with God is not determined by the actions and responses of others, but by our own actions. We all should realize that our relationship with God is not determined by our successes, but by our faithfulness. By learning this one lesson, many should be able to rid themselves of needless discouragement and guilt.