Whether as a youth or adult, Christianity remains the same. As a Christian living the life of Christ everywhere, every time and in everything should be the desire and the upmost goal pursued.
Bearing Christian names, going to Church regularly, being involved in religious programmes do not make any one a Christian but your submission to Jesus Christ as your Lord and personal Saviour makes Him your father and you as His son.
It is a very disheartening trend in the world today that Christian young men (youths) indulge themselves in several ungodly things like pornography, masturbation, Gambling (betting), and so on. There is no longer a seen difference between Christian youths and unbelievers in the world.
Times have changed. In past generations gambling was an evil and a criminal activity. It has become an accepted, glamorous and popular pastime for many. Once, the government outlawed and prosecuted those who were involved in gambling. Now, the government is the chief sponsor of gambling.
It would be helpful to develop a working definition of what we mean by “gambling”. We should also point out that there are varying kinds of gambling, e.g. the local bingo hall and the hard-core, back room poker game. Some are referred to as “innocent” and others as “criminal”. Here are some definitions:
Gambling can be defined as “risking money in an attempt to multiply the money on something that is against the odds.”
Webster’s Dictionary: “to play games of chance for money or other stake.”
A Popular definition: “Getting something for nothing”. This can be expanded to, “Getting something for nothing without rendering service or exchange of goods, and is essentially stealing and a form of robbery”.
It is to “assume irresponsible risk in hope of unearned gain at the expense of less fortunate players.”
Connected with gambling is the strong element of uncertainty, the large chance of losing. It involves taking a risk in order to obtain something for nothing and often means losing what one has and obtaining nothing. Gambling is “betting on chance”.
MOTIVATION FOR GAMBLING – WHY PEOPLE GAMBLE
- Fun & Recreation
- Social Contact
- To Become Rich / Win Money
- To recover financially
- For Competition
- Escape Problems: It is for some a way of escape. 1. from boredom 2. From pressures and 3. Routines of life.
- To earn a living
- An addiction
WHY CHRISTIAN YOUTHS SHOULD NOT GAMBLE:
Belief in the Sovereign God:
The Bible emphasizes the sovereignty of God while gambling is based upon chance – trusting in “Lady Luck”.
Gambling expresses a lack of trust in God – The Bible teaches that Christians are to look to God as their provider, and that we are to be content with the material blessings we receive from His hand.
The Lord’s Prayer directs us to pray, “Give us our daily bread”.
To engage in gambling indicates both a lack of trust in and dissatisfaction with God’s provision. See, for instance, Matthew 6:25-34; Philippians 4:11-12, 4:19; 1Timothy 6:6; Hebrews 13:5; Matt. 10:29-31; Proverbs 3:5-6
Danger of materialism
The Bible condemns materialism, while gambling promotes it. (Matthew 6:24-25; Luke 12:13-21 – The parable of the Rich Farmer)
Danger of the Love of Money
The Bible does warn us to avoid the love of money (1 Timothy 6:10; Hebrews 13:5; 1 Tim. 6:6-10; 17-19).
Danger of the Get Rich Quick mentality
Scripture encourages us to stay away from attempts to “get rich quick”.
Proverbs 10:2; Proverbs 13:11 – “easy come easy go”; Proverbs 20:21 – quick money does not always last; Proverbs 23:4-5
Wealth Does not Satisfy or bring true Rest
Satisfaction is never found in wealth. More money breeds a love for more money. (Ecclesiastes 5:10-12)
Directions on what to do with our money
There are far better things we can be doing with our money than gambling it away. If we do have excess that we can easily dispense with there is something better than gambling it away – do acts of kindness. Luke 6:38; 2 Corinthians 9:7-9
Three Principles – Work, Save, Give
The Bible admonishes us to work creatively and for the benefit of others (Eph. 4:28), while gambling fosters a “something for nothing” attitude. Genesis 2:15; Exodus 20:9; Ephesians 4:28
Gambling destroys the work ethic
There are many Bible passages that deal with the need for and benefit of a good work ethic.
Colossians 3:23-24; 2 Thessalonians 3:7, 10-11; Proverbs 6:6-11; Proverbs 12:11; Proverbs 20:4
DANGERS ASSOCIATED WITH GAMBLING
Addiction is a problem
We are told that one out of 10 adults who gamble will become addicted. Like alcoholism and drug addiction, compulsive gambling is costly to the economy. Families are the ones who suffer the most.
One of the things a Christian should maintain is “freedom” from all kinds of addictions. He must be in control of his life. He must be in control of our money, tempers, diet, and hobbies. (1 Cor. 6:12)
“Crime rates in casino communities are 84% higher than the national average.” (US News & World Report 1/15/96)
- Family issues:
- Business: (Proverbs 22:16 says)
Gain at the Expense of Others
Gambling is nothing more than making gain at the expense of another. Every winning prize is plucked from the pockets of unfortunate and vulnerable people. You win at the expense and hurt of others. Your gain is at the expense of others who receive nothing in return for your profit.
The Poor are Victimized (Proverbs 22:16)
Gambling Hurts the Poor
The Rich are made Richer and the Poor Poorer (Proverbs 21:20; Proverbs 22:16b)
ACTIVITIES THAT ARE GAMBLING
In the following examples, all the elements of gambling are present.
Casino gambling: slot machines, roulette wheels, dice and card games, numbers games, etc., played for stakes.
Racetrack betting on horses, dogs.
Lotteries and online betting like bet9ja, sporting bet, sure-bet, naira-bet e.t.c.
Charity and church-sponsored bingo, raffles, etc. If someone says, “It’s for a good cause,” then just make a donation and skip the gambling!
Bazaar and fair booths where you pay to spin a wheel and try to win a prize, etc.
Amateur gambling including poker games for money, office pools, matching quarters for cokes or coffee, playing marbles for keeps. Also included are some athletic leagues where winners are not just awarded a trophy or plaque, but players put money into a “kitty” then play to try to win some of the money. Even if small amounts of money are involved, such activities still violate Bible principles. Further, they establish a precedent that makes it impossible for one to consistently object to other people’s gambling. Where do you draw the line and say, “This much money risked is all right, but any more is immoral?”
ACTIVITIES THAT ARE NOT GAMBLING
People sometimes confuse the issue by claiming that certain acts are gambling, even though some essential elements of gambling are missing.
Crossing the street, driving a car
Some people say, “Everything in life involves a gamble.” This confuses risk with gambling. Not all risks involve gambling. These acts involve no wager and no stakes. There is no agreement to try to take someone else’s possessions.
Games without stakes or bets
The same games, on which people sometimes bet, can be played simply for fun with no possessions put at risk. This too is not gambling.
Farming, owning a business, etc.
Some say this is gambling because one risks losing money. But again there is no wager, but there is compensation. There is no agreement to take other people’s property without compensation. The intent is to produce goods or services of benefit to others in exchange for that which benefits us. This is expressly authorized in Scripture.
Investing in stock
Some say this is gambling, but what is stock? Stock is a means for people to become part owners of a company. Buying stock is no more inherently gambling than is ownership of any other business. The intent is to make a profit by producing something of benefit to customers. Investors receive their share of these profits in the form of dividends or increases in the value of the stock.
Further, when stock is sold, both buyer and seller agree on the price. There is no wager – no prior agreement to risk loss at another’s expense. If either thinks the price is unfair, they refuse to deal. (It may be possible to gamble or otherwise sin in the stock market, but buying stock does not inherently constitute gambling.)
Some think insurance is gambling. But again, there is no wager and there is compensation. No one agrees to gain at the expense of someone else’s loss. On the contrary, the whole purpose of insurance is to compensate the insured if he does have a loss (such as death, car wreck, hospitalization, etc.). If no such loss occurs, the customer has purchased the peace of mind of knowing he would have been compensated if he had experienced a loss. Regardless of whether or not this is a wise investment, the point here is that it is not gambling.
In short, none of these examples constitute gambling, since no one necessarily wants uncompensated losses to occur. But the gambler always wants financial loss to occur, because he hopes to profit from those losses.
In conclusion, “Some Christians argue that gambling does no harm. However, the scripture is clear that this activity is sinful. Anytime someone is enticed to gain money at someone else’s certain loss, this is definitely not practicing the principals taught by Christ. Also, the practice of gambling takes away from the Bible’s principals of economics—working, saving and giving. Discipline and accountability for spending are ignored. Gambling preys on the weakness of others.”
Pedetin Daniel, Sao is a graduate of Mass Communication from the Polytechnic, Ibadan. He presently works with an online based education news organisation in Ibadan, Oyo State Nigeria. Daniel is a gospel teacher, drama minister, writer and a counsellor passionate about raising youth fit in the hand of God to bring revival.