Tuesday, 05 April 2016 06:52

A Perilous Path

Written by  Bob Crittendon
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The Bible warns us against empty pursuits - the thirst to have more money, to gain more material resources, and perhaps to “hit the jackpot” in life. 

Proverbs 13:7 offers: “There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing; And one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches.” (NKJV).  In Proverbs 13:11 (NKJV), the Bible says: “Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished, But he who gathers by labor will increase.”

That verse says in the New Living Translation: “Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows over time.”


I did a series of commentaries on The Meeting House on Faith Radio on the perils of gambling, which I believe is a clearly unscriptural practice.  I wanted to share some comments here.


There is evidence that even those who “win” become losers.  An NBC News story about the lottery quotes Paul Golden, a spokesman for the Denver-based non-profit National Endowment for Financial Education: “The perception is that you’re never going to worry about money again. In fact, you’re going to have to worry about it more than you ever, ever have before.”


Ron Riggio, a Claremont McKenna professor of leadership and organizational psychology who has studied past lottery winners, said: “Everyone believes that money is going to bring them happiness, but there’s no real evidence of that.” The story also points to research from the University of British Columbia, which found that when people prioritize to have more time at the expense of having less money, they’re happier.


The story also quotes Gary Buffone, a psychologist and expert on happiness and money, who told the TODAY show in response to those findings: “People who prioritize time over money make more effort to invest in activities that are expected to generate a more stable sense of happiness or enjoyment, such as developing strong social relationships, finding enjoyable hobbies and exercising.”


The article did highlight a winner who had carefully managed her finances and things went okay, but also focused on a winner who became a loser, who is quoted as saying five years after his win, “Everybody dreams of winning money, but nobody realizes the nightmares that come out of the woodwork, or the problems.”


Financial expert Dave Ramsey says on his website:


Perhaps the quickest way to ruin your life is to win the lottery.


Don’t laugh. Lots of people think that instantly coming into a few million dollars means life on easy street, money that will be around forever, and no need for responsibility or work.


The truth is very rarely does it work out like that for a lottery winner. Unfortunately, a new study published in the Journal of Behavioral Decision Making finds that people who feel poor are more eager to spend money in an attempt to get rich (this is a good “duh” moment). One recent report found that families who make under $12,400 spend about $645 a year on lottery tickets.


Dave says that, “When you are feeling the money crunch, the last thing you want to do is spend what little money you have on a super-long shot for money. The odds of winning a lottery are literally about one in 125 million.  He points out:


You are 66 times more likely to die from a snake bite.


You are 2,001 times more likely to die in the electric chair!


You are 2,201 times more likely to die from a hornet, wasp or bee sting.


You are 1,488,095 times more likely to die in a car wreck on the way to the gas station to buy the lottery ticket.


He adds, “Banking on winning the lottery is about as ridiculous as it gets!”  Ramsey also says, “Forget the lotto. Working hard and saving money is the only surefire way to make money...”


There is one of our takeaways right there!  The Bible has a prescription for sound financial well-being, and it doesn’t involve the “get rich quick” approach that the lottery and casino gambling offer.  


The Bible also teaches that the accumulation of wealth does not purchase happiness.  We are taught to seek Christ as our sufficiency, to set our desires on the things of His Kingdom.  We are instructed not to love money, but to be content in Him.  It’s been said that God doesn’t want us not to have things, but He does not want things to have us.  


Finally, it is unconscionable that there are lawmakers in our state who would suggest using this type of scheme as a fundraising measure for a cash-strapped state government.  As people of faith, it is important that we continue to speak out - you can pray and encourage state legislators to resist the temptation to abandon sound monetary principles and embrace an unstable revenue source.



Last modified on Tuesday, 05 April 2016 07:02
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