I’ll take my Chances#1. “A dollar each way.”

I’ll take my Chances#1. “A dollar each way.”

Years ago, I knew two gamblers: one rich and the other broke. The rich man was a Christian who regularly wasted money on lottery tickets. He would tell me how generous towards God he was going to be with his winnings. It never happened! The broke man blew his money on horse races. He was addicted to the point where he would gamble away his family’s grocery money. One day, knowing that he had a wife and three small children at home, I gave him all the food I had in my flat. He was visibly moved, and without a word, mended his ways.

Gambling is a vice to which I cannot relate. And even if I, like the rich man, had plenty of money to waste, I couldn’t. There is just something about those mathematical odds being deliberately stacked against me that puts me off.

Does a gambler know this? Of course, he does! But though his mind is flooded with cold hard facts of doom, his senses are flooded with the burning excitement of possibility. The gambler does what every other person addicted to something does; he believes that luck will save him from the ultimate consequences of his folly. It seldom does.

When I was a schoolboy, I had a friend who would bet on harness racing. He would extract dollar notes from his friends and say, “A dollar each way.” They never won. They were dollars wasted on lessons in futility.

Gambling goes against God’s work ethic. For man to find fulfilment in his work he is to do an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. However, for a man to “win” in gambling, it necessitates that another man “lose.”

Most importantly, Christians are stewards of God’s things. How can we reconcile the belief that it is possible to get a better return on God’s money by betting it away, than by giving it away? God only blesses one of those options.

John Staiger


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