You Bet Your Life

26 09 2009

There is nothing new about gambling.  As Jesus died on the cross, there was a dice game going on below His feet to determine who would win possession of His garment.  Traditionally, gambling has always been considered a “seedy” business, being labeled a “vice” in days gone by.   A Webster’s dictionary defines vice, “a moral depravity or corruption”.  In recent days, it has undergone somewhat of a face-lift and is now classified as “harmless adult entertainment”.  It is still the big bad wolf, but is dressed in grandma’s nightgown and presents itself as “harmless”.  Non-suspecting dabblers with good intentions, now wear the label of “victim”.  Christians are “caught up in this nation-wide obsession.  Starting with the lottery, many states have legalized gambling in order to get a slice of the pie.  Casino gambling is on the ballot in my states for the fourth time.  They promise jobs and economic stability because the proceeds of gambling never leave the state.  They will keep throwing out meaningless statistics until people start believing them.

The real winners of gambling are the casinos, racetracks, or video poker owners.  The house will always win.  They will entice and manipulate anyone who will listen that their industry will benefit schools, taxpayers, and struggling economies.  For the next few posts, I would like to give a sane and Biblical response to the real losers.

My definition for gambling would be, “satisfying a covetous desire for an immediate gain by risking an immediate lose”.  Note key word… COVETOUS DESIRE – it is the love of money that is the root of all evil (I Timothy 6:10).  Covetousness is addressed in the 10th Commandment.  In Colossians 3:5 covetousness is equated with idolatry.

RISK – is the possibility that something may be lost.  Risk is a daily occurrence.  Every time we get into our car there is a risk of being in an accident.  Gambling is an artificial risk that is motivated by a desire for quick cash.

IMMEDIATE GAIN – it’s a “get rich quick”, “gotta have it now” attitude.  Proverbs 28:20 tells us that, “He that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent”.

Gambling is deceptive.  It is hid behind the guise of entertainment, the benefits it gives to tax payers, and the soft sell of giving responsible citizens the freedom of choice.  In reality, it is an addiction played upon by shrewd businessmen, who know the value of “odds”, (sometimes that “businessman” is the government).  Gambling is the only industry that does not create anything, it is a parasite.  It exists only to suck away the productivity and dreams of others.  By its very nature, gambling involves 8 things…

1.  The enticement of not quitting

If you win, what have you got to lose to keep playing?  If you lose, why not keep playing to break even?  Some people pride themselves in knowing when to quit.  No one could deny the temptation of not quitting.

2.  The potential of increasing poverty

Even though gambling is touted as the ticket out of poverty, it often preys upon the desperation of the poor.  Pawn Shops locate themselves as close as they can to casinos as possible, so as to fleece those who are desperate of cash.

3.  The erosion of the work ethic

Who needs to work when all you need to do is play?

4.  The fantasy of striking it rich

It is a fantasy because very few people ever do.  Those who want you to spend even more money gambling manipulate that fantasy.  So what’s wrong with that?  The fantasy of gambling is first cousin to the love of money, which is the root of all evil.

5.  The loss of self control

The addiction of gambling is so strong that by its very nature will push you to depths (or debts) that you never planned on going.  Even a disciplined gambler has weak moments.

6.  The inflaming of human greed

They very nature of gambling is greed:  “I gotta have more”.  Proverbs 15:27 tells us, “He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house”.  Greed is not a dog you need to keep feeding, or pretty soon it will be big enough to eat you!

7.  The threat of progressive damage

Gambling has a tendency to affect other areas of life.  It affects our spouse, children, job, ability to meet our budget, relationships, etc.  It may not do any damage at first, but the threat of damage is real.

8.   The involvement of organized crime

Just because the government legalizes it doesn’t mean the mob will keep their hands off it!  Mob involvement may be easily masked and hard to nail down, but you can know a tree by its fruit.

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