Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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Sobering Thoughts About the Lottery

Author’s Note: I wrote this article around the time that the lottery was established in Texas. The article serves to show the ridiculous nature of such an activity.

The signs are popping up all over town, and presumably, all over the state. TEXAS LOTTERY…Play the Texas Lottery Here! It’s quite a phenomenon. I was in a 7-11 just a few days ago, waiting in a much longer line than usual, to purchase a few groceries. The reason for the long line was the lottery. Almost to a man, the people in front of me bought 1,2,5,6 lottery tickets, all hoping for the possible lucky ticket. It struck me at the time that the behavior of the people could be summed up in one word…GREED! Or to use a biblical term, COVETOUSNESS!

A few observations about the Texas version of the lottery.

On the occasion mentioned above, a lady came in with her little girl, holding in her hand three winning tickets. She and her daughter were dressed in rags, obviously they were very poor. Who knows how many tickets were purchased to get those three winners, the odds state that she would have to have bought 24. Think about it, purchasing 24 tickets at a dollar each to come up with three winners. Her total winnings? SIX DOLLARS. Makes great sense…Spend $24 to make $6. But the most amazing thing about the whole scene was that after redeeming her tickets, she spent the money buying five more tickets and a candy bar. She most probably had difficulty making ends meet each week, but she had plenty of money to blow on the lottery.

Have you seen the advertising for the lottery? Seven or Eight people jumping up and down with joy because they were winners. No losers in this commercial! Talk about Deceptive Advertising! The government fines companies for claiming their product can do things it can’t really do. And yet here is the Texas Government misleading the public by this commercial. Reality would be one in eight winning, and the one winner hardly jumping up and down, because after all, winning $2 is hardly a cause for that kind of joy.

A jogger called in to a radio program recently, complaining of his inability to finish his daily run. It seems he can’t stand litter on the side of the road, and in the first week of the lottery, he collected over 300 used tickets on his daily jogging route. I picked up a used ticket just today, hoping to find the odds of winning on the back. It was on the parking lot in front of a convenience store, and I had the pick of quite a few littering the grounds. I guess people are not only GREEDY, but they are also MESSY!

Oh, and a word about the odds. The possible prizes are $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100, $1,000, $10,000, and $1,000,000. The ticket says that the overall odds of winning are 1 in 7.90. I have already explained that it averages out to spending $8 to win $2. I am not sure of the odds of winning one of the $1,000,000 prizes. Probably about as likely as being hit by a lightning bolt on a clear day.

A toll-free number is given on the back of each ticket for those who have a gambling problem. Now isn’t that amazing. The state bombards its citizens with tempting and misleading advertising, subsidizing and legalizing gambling, tempting its citizens to be irresponsible, and attempts to apply a band-aid by putting a hot-line on the back of the ticket. It would be hilarious if it were not so tragic. But what can you expect from a society that attempts to deal with the AIDS epidemic by passing out sterilized needles and sexual prophylactics. A society that may soon deal with the drug problem by legalizing marijuana and cocaine. A society that can’t determine in its courts what is obscene and pornographic. A society that deals with the increase of teen-age pregnancy by legalizing abortion. A society which depends upon the beer companies to, in their advertising, warn us to drink sensibly. I could go on and on, but you get the point.

A direct word to all of us who are Christians. The lottery is going to cause problems in the Lord’s church. It may take a while, but someone who professes to be a child of God will begin to press the point, asking, “What is wrong with playing the lottery? What possible harm could come from it?” THERE IS NO POSSIBLE WAY TO JUSTIFY PLAYING THE LOTTERY! There is no possible justification for any type of gambling, even if it is sponsored by the state. It doesn’t matter if it is buying one ticket, or buying 1,000. It doesn’t matter if you can afford it or not. IT IS SIN! I am so afraid that some of my brethren will try to rationalize away the guilt, as has been done so many times. It is wrong, it is sinful, and to participate is to do so at the soul’s peril. Christians have tried to rationalize away the evil evident in such things as drinking, smoking, wearing short shorts and other immodest apparel, dancing, mixed swimming, long hair, second marriages, and on and on and on. This is just another threat to the purity of God’s priesthood. Don’t let yourself be fooled, and more importantly, DON’T FOOL YOURSELF!

Authors’ Note: In the above paragraph I warned, “The lottery is going to cause problems in the Lord’s church.” It it obvious that it already is. I have had conversations and studies with weak brethren who just “can’t see the harm”. Brethren, Beware! Satan is active and seeking to destroy your soul!