Charge them that are rich in this world,
that they be not highminded,
nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God,
who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
1 Timothy 6:17
This is an area where most Christians would know that it is not Christ honouring to be involved in such activities. Like it or not, life is a gamble, if I may use this word loosely. We often have to make decisions everyday where certain results may not turn out to be favourable as we hope it might be. We invest time and money to pursue an education in a certain field and subsequently, career prospect for that profession may turn out to be less than ideal due to the unpredictable economic circumstance of that time. We invest money to purchase a home for investment planning for our retirement and unfortunately, the property market crashed. Such is life where time and chance happen unto all men.
However, we must not confuse such economic decision making with irrational gambling activities motivated by greed. Ever since Adam fell in the Garden of Eden, nature has become parsimonious. We have to put in more effort to make ends meet. Life is hard! It is everyone’s dream of a life of ease contrary to what God has pronounced on sinful men that, “in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread.” Man is a rebel. Man wants to avoid the inevitable curse that came with the fall of man.
Gambling is one choice instrument as many falsely believe that this is the way out of the economic trap. Gambling offers a disproportionate rate of return on investment that is too good to be true. However, the chances of cashing out on their returns are almost impossible to materialize. Whether in economic good times or bad times, lottery shops and casinos are always full of people. It is good business to operate gaming houses. Like it or not, whether or not the government legalizes gambling, people are still going to gamble. At least, if you buy a lottery ticket from a government operated outlet, you are more likely to get your winnings should you strike the correct bet. Some people has appealed to the government to allow casinos to operate in Singapore to weather the economic downturn and it is quite possible that such operations would generate substantial business for the country. It is the good sense of some ministers who still refuse to allow such business to be set up here as undesirable social consequences would be the result of trade off for some economic gain.
For a Christian, he is admonished to walk by faith and not by sight because the rich and poor meet together and the Lord is the maker of them all. “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” (Hebrews 13:5) Let us listen to what Solomon had to say about such matter. “He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him. Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom. Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven. For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation?” (Proverbs 28:22; 23:4&5; 27:24) David also said in Psalm 62:10b, “if riches increase, set not your heart upon them”.
The apostle Paul instructed Timothy to warn Christians who trust in riches instead of the living God as follows: “Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. But godliness and contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. Charge them that are rich in this world that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” (1 Timothy 6:5-10,17-19)
The Bible contains more warnings for the rich than for the poor. The rich are told to be careful to maintain good work with their wealth. Good work does not mean the accumulation of more wealth but using their wealth to glorify God by way of distribution and willingness to communicate. Greed will lead a person to dice with the queen of chance on gambling and mortgage away his children’s future!
One final warning from our Lord Jesus Christ, “Take heed, and beware of covetousness, for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:15;20 & 21)
For a general perspective of gambling according to the world, read the article below.
Put The Sin Back Into Sin City
For more study on this issue, please read What Is Wrong With Gambling? by Dr. Doug Stauffer.