So, Pastor, I Won the Lottery and I Want to Give

by Dave Miller on May 20, 2013 · 68 comments

What would you do?

This weekend, some unnamed person in Zephyrhills, Florida, became an instant megamillionaire, winning $590 million (nearly 377 million one-time payout), in the Powerball lottery. What if this person was a member of your church? It would not be the first time that a church member won the lottery. What if this person came to you in a few weeks with a check  for $37.7 million (let’s just make him a good Baptist tither for record)? What would you do?

  • Would you take the check and get started with the plans for the new building project?
  • Would you tell him to keep his tainted, gambling money?
  • Would you work out another arrangement?

Perspectives

1) I doubt there are many lottery supporters or participants among us. Most of us would agree that the lottery provides a false hope of riches to many people who cannot afford to play. Gambling is foolish. Anyone dispute that?

2) On the other hand, there is no clear and unequivocal condemnation of gambling in the Bible. I’m guessing that the ancient Hebrews gathered at the camel races and took odds. But the Bible is absent of any “thou shalt not gamble” verses. Is gambling sinful? I’m not sure. It is unwise and causes a lot of heartache and pain to families. But is purchasing a ticket (David Worley, how much do they cost?) make you a sinner?

Obviously, if the head of a local escort service or a drug dealer wanted to give, I think we’d all decline. The proceeds of an ongoing criminal and immoral enterprise would hardly be what we would want funding our ministries, right? But buying a lottery ticket is certainly not the same as running a house of prostitution or dealing drugs. Apples and oranges.

3) It is easy in the theoretical to say, “No, I’d turn it down.” When someone stands in your office with a check for $37 million, our true convictions would be tested, would they not?

4) I wonder if the SBC has policies on something like that. If the winner of the lottery sent a check to the IMB or to NAMB, would they cash it or send it back? Maybe someone here knows.

5) Chances are good that your church HAS received donations that come from gambling winnings. You just didn’t know about it. Gambling is everywhere. You may never have a member who wins the powerball, but many of us will have members who have a good day at the races, or at the casino, or in their local poker game in the basement.

So, here are the questions I’d like you to consider and discuss.

1) Is buying a lottery ticket a sufficient offense that the church ought not to receive gifts based on the proceeds? What about other forms of gambling?

2) If we would turn down winnings from gambling, ought we also to enact church discipline against those who buy tickets? Who have a poker game in their basement? Who frequent the local casino boat?

3) A church could do a lot of good with the millions of dollars it would receive as a tithe here. On the other hand, the church and the community would know that it was benefiting from the proceeds of the lottery. Does the good outweigh the bad here?

4) Imagine yourself the lottery winner. Are you not obligated to give generously of your increase (regardless of the source?) If the church does not receive your offering, how can you be obedient to biblical commands?

5) Does your church have an established, written policy on this?

I go back and forth. I do not consider purchasing a lottery ticket to be per se sinful, but I think that the lottery is unwise and tends to be predatory against the poor. For that reason, it is best that Christians not participate and would encourage anyone who asked me not to buy tickets. But, if someone does and wins it, I am not sure that the money is so tainted that it ought to be refused by the church. My views on this are conflicted. I’m interested in the course of the discussion.

Maybe I’d just tell them to donate it to the Dave Miller Evangelistic Association.

1 John Harris May 20, 2013 at 1:01 pm

I would vote to buy land and build a building immediately.

Most churches who say they’d refuse it, accept money people earn by selling alcohol or cigarettes, or the shady used car salesman, or any other of a number of questionable means.

Money is amoral. They didn’t play the lottery SO THAT they could give, thus receiving the money is not advocation of it.

I would also never mention where the money came from. I would not glorify or reward how the money was obtained.

2 Dave Miller May 20, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Your scenario depends on how big the gift is. If a member wins the Powerball and suddenly tens of millions of dollars show up in the offering, people might figure that out.

You are right, though, that a lot of money from tainted and questionable business practices goes into offering plates every Sunday.

One aspect of this that I didn’t mention – sometimes people give as a way of sanctifying their behavior. “I did a bad thing, but at least I tithed on the money – so it must be okay.”

3 Nate May 20, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Dave, doesn’t a person have to give their name in the Powerball in order to collect? If so, then there is no way to give without everyone knowing.

4 Doug Hibbard May 20, 2013 at 2:42 pm

State law governs—most states require publication of lottery winner names, but Baptists had enough influence in South Carolina, for example, that you can claim the prize and be anonymous if you bought in that state.

Of course, they still can tell which store sold the ticket, and the press, for big prizes like this, will find you.

5 Bennett Willis May 20, 2013 at 1:17 pm

I donated $20 to the PowerBall drawing. I got one number–about par for the course. While I would expect to donate more than the 10% should I ever win, I would not expect anyone to turn the money down.

However, I don’t know of many churches that could survive the gift of this amount of money. I would expect to spread it around (both in time and in organizations).

As my first wife used to say, “The lottery is a tax on dreams.” It is fun to think about how I might distribute the money and changing my lifestyle is not something that I plan–but I might take on a full time “handy man” to take care of maintenance around the house and a few things along this line. And I might actually retire from my second career.

6 John Wylie May 20, 2013 at 1:42 pm

I am personally against the gambling industry for a number of reasons. First, it is against the Bible admonition of not striving to be rich. And second, having pastored for the last almost 14 years in Oklahoma I know firsthand the devastation gambling reaps in many families. Having said that I have read of churches who refused multi million dollar gifts based on their principle of being against gambling. My opinion, however, is different because I think that as long as it is used to advance the kingdom then I’m ok with it.

7 Dave Miller May 20, 2013 at 1:48 pm

True story: a man in my previous church came to me and said, “Pastor, I buy two lottery tickets every week – one for me and one for the church.”

I always wondered how he decided which was which. If one of his tickets hit, how would he know whether it was the one for the church or the one for him. I’ve suspected that if one of the tickets hit, there was a much greater than 50% chance that it would be HIS ticket that won, not the church’s.

8 Bennett Willis May 20, 2013 at 2:58 pm

I remember a friend talking about going to the Dog Races and placing some bets. He was in Florida on company business and his boss asked him how it went. His reply, “My dog did OK, but “the company’s” dog lost.

9 Jim Pemberton May 20, 2013 at 1:57 pm

“However, I don’t know of many churches that could survive the gift of this amount of money.”

I’ve pondered this at times before. If I were in the position to give counsel, I’d need some fiscal counsel of my own. Perhaps the money would be best not going into the general fund, but rather set aside and tied to a specific purpose that supports the particular vision of the church – not necessarily for growing the local church, but for particular outreach. It must be largely focused outward or it will eat the church alive like a corrupting acid. It can in no way be seen by individuals as an opportunity for people NOT to give because giving is sanctifying. Use it to plant a new church or use it to grow the missions ministry of the church. Use it to start a Christian school, help out the local pregnancy resource center, the local Christian teen outreach, the local Christian homeless shelter, the local Child Evangelism Fellowship chapter, the local sports ministry for at-risk kids, buy Bibles for the Gideons to be taken around the world. The list goes on. If your city lacks any of these kinds of ministries, use the money to start one with an eye to perpetuating it rather than starting something that can’t generate donations to continue. Just keep a chunk of change that size out of the general fund.

10 Christiane May 20, 2013 at 2:25 pm

children in homeless shelters could use shoes that fit their feet, that are purchased in proper shoe stores that sell shoes constructed for the feet of growing children . . . like Stride-Rites

I don’t know what is the greater gift . . . that someone pays, or that the same someone cares enough to recognize a child’s need and carries the mother and child to a good shoe store and provides payment

I think the caring is the greater gift. The money? without the caring, the money alone is not at all of the same value

11 Bennett Willis May 20, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Clearly, putting it into the general fund would be questionable. I think that Jim has mentioned several things that could be funded appropriately with the money. Maybe you would set up a foundation that would be managed by the church–but this would still be a lot of money for an organization to “get their head around.”

Speaking seriously on the thought, there are “community foundations” who take money like this and then disburse it as you ask them to. They invest revenue from the money into projects that they feel are important, but allow you to give money to any charitable organization or churches.

12 Christiane May 20, 2013 at 1:59 pm

“But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly as this?
FOR ALL THINGS COME FROM YOU,
AND OF YOUR OWN
HAVE WE GIVEN YOU.”

(1 Chronicles 29:14)

13 Doug Hibbard May 20, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Given my vehicle issues today, anyone, lottery winner or no, is welcome to contribute to the “Doug needs a replacement vehicle fun.” Email me for details.

14 David Coggins May 20, 2013 at 2:45 pm

Having served in states with lotteries and been involved in local benevolence, and also walked past hungry children as I was going into stores where the parent stood outside scratching their card, can we really in good conscience accept money that we know was earned at the expense of those who are the least of these in our society? If we take the money do we then lose the right to speak against such ills that affect our society?

15 Louis May 20, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Accept the gift.

16 Mike Leake May 20, 2013 at 3:15 pm

Take the 37 million to Vegas or give it to your favorite prosperity teacher and watch it multiply 100 fold.

17 Bruce H. May 20, 2013 at 8:21 pm

Mike Murdock :-)

18 Dave Miller May 20, 2013 at 9:20 pm

That might just work, Mike.

19 volfan007 May 20, 2013 at 3:19 pm

1. The Devil has had that money long enough…time to put it to work for the Kingdom of God.

2. I dont play the lottery. I value the money I have too much to throw it away like that. So, I have nooo idea how much a ticket costs. :)

3. A “Dont ask, Dont tell” policy is good in this matter……just take the huge gift, and thank them…..then, use that huge amount of money to do something awesome with it.

4. Every lottery winner should give at least a tithe to their Pastor….of course, the NT teaches GIVING!

David

PS. The Church where I am, voted a long time ago to not accept money won by gambling. This is not my own personal belief, but it is the policy of my Church. Thus, the “Dont Ask; Dont Tell” policy should kick in….. :)

20 Dale Pugh May 21, 2013 at 9:46 am

I’m with 007 (and I love his movies, too). I can think of no better use for Satan’s money than God’s kingdom work.

21 Greg Buchanan May 20, 2013 at 3:32 pm

Wouldn’t the parable of the shrewd manager apply here? I’ve always taken that to mean that if we should use what is at hand for the kingdom. The world deals more shrewdly with one another than we often do.

Shouldn’t we use what is at hand for the blessing of many that God is glorified? Wouldn’t it be the literal demonstration of redemption: taking that which is less than honorable and making it fully honorable?

I’m just thinking out loud…

22 Matt Brady May 20, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Or perhaps it is justifying what is dishonorable.

Are lottery winnings filthy lucre?

23 Bruce H. May 20, 2013 at 8:27 pm

Matt,

No more that pyramid schemes. Amway, Shaklee, A.L. Williams, Mary Kay, Cutco, Pampered Chef and others. We take their money and many use the church as their base to recruit. But we don’t say anything. Shhhh!

24 Les Prouty May 20, 2013 at 11:25 pm

Bruce,

Check the definition of pyramid schemes. I don’t think Amway, Mary Kay, Cuto and Pampered Chef are such. I think they are examples of multi level marketing. I don’t know about the others and I don’t have an interest in any of them. Just saying about definitions.

Les

25 Bruce H. May 20, 2013 at 11:42 pm

Les,

Someone very close to me was in Pampered Chef for 4 years. She had to build a team in order to make any money. The motivator was to become a Director, which was the carrot. The drive was money. She worked all that time for less than minimum wage, even at a loss most of the time. The church was the pool of contacts and you kept milking them. Not a pyramid scheme in the strictest sense of the word, but a pretty good shadow.

A person was very nice to me in the church and invited me to this special meeting that they couldn’t tell me about. Once there, the pressure was on. It was Amway. When I turned them down they were not as nice to me any more. This shouldn’t be anywhere near the church because of the offense it creates. Not all are offended, but many, and that is enough.

26 Les Prouty May 21, 2013 at 12:52 am

Bruce,

I understand. Some can be way over the top with these things.

27 Pastor Al Brodbent May 21, 2013 at 5:08 pm

Les; Thank you for this bit of information. I definitely thought those programs were “Pyramid Schemes” until I read your comment and then went and checked it out. YOU ARE RIGHT. Those are not Pyramid schemes as there is a product involved.

28 Matt Brady May 21, 2013 at 12:32 pm

Multi level marketing aside, you didn’t answer the question. Are lottery winnings filthy lucre?

29 Bruce H. May 21, 2013 at 1:04 pm

Matt,

The lottery is in the same pool as cigarettes, cigars and cards. Baptist would be viewed on this conduct very similar to the other vices preached against in the past. Give it 100 years and let’s see. Let’s start preaching on self control and how much we eat. That will take away from these vices so we can buy lottery tickets in the future.

30 Bart Barber May 21, 2013 at 1:39 pm

Yes, they are. It is food taken out of the mouths of the children of poor, ignorant people who have given away their meager for absolutely nothing in return. The most blood is on the hands of the state governments that promote this regressive tax upon people’s stupidity and inability to perform simple math.

31 Bart Barber May 21, 2013 at 1:40 pm

In case you all didn’t notice, I had an opinion about this. :-)

32 Dave Miller May 21, 2013 at 3:02 pm

You need to learn not to hold back, Bart. Tell us what you really think. Just don’t make it long and dull.

33 Christiane May 21, 2013 at 3:24 pm

I once had someone explain it to me, this way:

‘The lottery is the poor man’s stock market.’

34 Bart Barber May 21, 2013 at 3:51 pm

:-)

35 Tim G May 20, 2013 at 4:09 pm

I lived in Louisiana and served in a church within 2 miles of the Riverboat Casinos. We fought them coming in big time. We lost. Once they came in, so did all the problems of such and so did people. We had people attending our church who both man and wife worked at or for the Riverboats in some way.

Three scenarios:
They wanted to buy our church bus – I jacked the price up by $5,000 and tried to sell it! They almost bought it.

People who worked at the or apart of the Casinos would tithe and give. I did not refuse their tithe or gifts. We openly taught on the evil of gambling etc. even with them present – they continued to attend – two or three families joined (and they knew we opposed the boats arrival).

We had chips in the offering plate one week – could not get any deacons to go cash them in. :)

After much prayer and study on it I realized something – what would I do if I planted a church in the middle of Las Vegas – where 90% work for the gaming industry? And I responded as I would have in that scenario. The people needed Jesus regardless of where they worked.

With that said, do we ask where money comes from when given? I have seen large gifts of 6 figures and not once did I ask pertaining to the origin. Again, as someone had already said, the money itself is not evil. J Frank Norris was being roughed up by fellow preachers for accepting tithes from Mob guys he led to the Lord. They said it was tainted. Norris replied “it taint enough!”. :)

36 Pastor Al Brodbent May 21, 2013 at 5:11 pm

Tim: You never did tell us who cashed the chips in? I’ll bet (oops) they got cashed in. LOL

37 William Thornton May 20, 2013 at 4:11 pm

You who think such a gift could be made anonymously and/or without disclosing the source, go buy a lottery ticket now. You have about the same probability of maintaining anonymity and of winning.

True story: Local very wealthy man was into race horses, a sport invariably connected to gambling. A fine horse was bred and the colt was sure to have some value. the man said he would give his church whatever the colt brought at auction to build a new building. The little guy brought several million. They have a very nice building. In time the story will be mostly forgotten but for now this church is known as the church paid for by the racehorse.

No pastor could survive this. If he declines the money, he is toast. If he accepts the money, strife will destroy the congregation and he will be caught in the middle.

Of course, we pastors always think we have the right stuff and that it is those lesser pastors who wouldn’t be able to manage.

38 volfan007 May 20, 2013 at 4:22 pm

At one time, I pastored a Church that was very close to Tunica, MS….where they have many casinos. We had people in our Church, who worked at the Casinos. Most of them were EMT’s, or hotel managers, or restaurant managers, etc. I dont think we actually had any card dealers, but anyway. We never turned their money down. And, like Tim G., I still preached about how foolish it was to gamble….it’s throwing money down the drain. In fact, back when I was the Pastor of that Church in MS, there was $1 million dollars lost every day at those casinos. And, I heard and saw, first hand, just how bad gambling is…..people losing their cars, houses, businesses… people committing suicide over losing everything….people needing food, electric bills not paid, etc. Gambling is certainly a very foolish thing.

But, I loved the people, who worked at the casinos, and I didnt condemn them for trying to make a living….to feed their families. And, we didnt make a big deal about where the money came from, that was in our offering plates.

David

39 Greg Harvey May 20, 2013 at 4:25 pm

Mark Denison at Baybrook Baptist in Friendswood–the church where I was a member both prior and after marrying my wife who was also a member there–had a member win the lottery and offer money to the church which Mark accepted. I personally would have rejected the money on the basis that God doesn’t need it, but I don’t see any real problem in accepting it.

BUT it does point out that there ought to be a line past which money isn’t laundered by being accepted by the church. And lottery money at least is near that line. Drug money? Proceeds of theft? Prostitution? Government corruption (including bribes and other “expedition” fees)? We need to know what the line is.

Gambling is something Southern Baptists have traditionally railed against largely because of its out-of-proportion impact on the poor but more generally because of the “something-for-nothing” mentality that goes with it. I honestly cannot in good conscience buy a lottery ticket–only held one in my life and it was thrust into my hands by a friend who bought it for me and “gave” it to me–because I feel buying such a ticket tells God that you’re disappointed with what he’s provided for you.

But I did spend a roll of nickels on nickel slots on a trip to Vegas for Comdex just to compare the feeling to playing a pinball game or video game. My dad was annoyed at me–he provided the transportation that day–because I didn’t walk away when I “won something” from the slot machine. I told him that wasn’t why I was doing it. My conclusion was that due to the slot machine requiring zero skill, it wasn’t as interesting to me as a pinball game or a video game. But I recognize that in the 50s and 60s (and including pool into the 70s and beyond) there is a gambling culture associated with pinball and pool especially though in my experience less so for video game parlors (which doesn’t mean “none”, just “less”.)

A recent NCAA report–entirely unsurprisingly–found that NCAA men’s golf team members were more likely to actively gamble than any other sport. For those who think of golf as a pristine sporting endeavor. I generally think we have bigger fish to fry than our rather mundane, traditional morality crusades. Though I do agree that you’re known by the company you keep…which is exactly why a church ought to turn down gambling proceeds.

40 Don May 20, 2013 at 4:25 pm

I’m always happy to put the devil’s $ in the work of the Lord. :-)

41 Pastor Harold May 20, 2013 at 4:39 pm

I have heard from several pastors of a church in West Memphis, AR (or near there) where an elderly lady left a fortune to her small church after she died and it destroyed the church. They built a large building with all the bells and whistles. Then increased the staff’s pay and stuck the rest in the bank. No one gave to the church because they thought the church had enough, no one worked because they could hire it done, and they split up arguing over how to spend the money that was left.

No matter how hard they try this same outcome would likely happen to any small church with an instant large sum dropped in there lap.

However, I do feel it is the responsibility of every Christian to give their tithes to their local church. Anything above that, they can send it where ever they want to.

So I pray that if there are members of our church playing the lottery, that they will never ever win anything. That would save this pastor the head ache that would instantly show up the moment the plate was counted.

42 William Thornton May 20, 2013 at 5:06 pm

How about secondary boycotts? Here in GA the lottery pays for the college tuition of average and above students. I never paid a dime in tuition for any of my kids and often thought of that while waiting in line behind someone buying a few lottery or scratch off tickets?

I know exactly one person who did not apply for the scholarship money because of its source.

Tax o poor and stupid people and wealth transfer from poor (whose kids do mot attend college in proprtions comparable to middle and upper class) to middle class people.

A second consequence of lottery paid tuition is that families who saved for their kids college expenses were able to buy condos and houses (and no double quite a few new cars) for their kids during their college years.

A third consequence was schools feeling less restraint in jacking up tuition’ after all the gambling saps pay it, not the students.

It is deleterious to society as a whole but is now unalterably part of the fabric of our culture.

43 Bob Cleveland May 20, 2013 at 5:08 pm

If we preach against it, we can’t take the money.

If someone gave me a ticket .. first, I wouldn’t accept it .. and that ticket was the winner, I just could not accept the money. I teach against gambling and how could I?

And the Bible is clear as to how the church is to be reported.

The scenario you mentioned would put us to the real test. And if it happened and you refused the money, that would put your teaching to the test.

Old story about the man who offers a preacher a “contribution” if he will not oppose a liquor license. The man keeps upping the ante, until he offers the preacher $10,000. At which point the preacher decks him.

When he woke up, he asked the preacher why he’d done that. The preacher said “Because you were getting close to my price”.

What’s our price?

44 Bob Cleveland May 20, 2013 at 5:09 pm

Whoops .. “reported” should be “supported”.

45 Howell Scott May 20, 2013 at 5:14 pm

In New Mexico, we not only have a lottery (including Powerball), but we also have “Lottery Scholarships” which are given to students in New Mexico’s public universities after their first semester, provided they keep a certain grade point average. These scholarships pay for at least tuition and maybe even books. If we are still in NM (which I hope) when our sons are old enough to benefit from the “Lottery Scholarships,” we will not turn them down. Same goes for a tithe or an offering on lotto winnings for the church.

I look at Lotteries as nothing more than a regressive tax which disproportionately hits the poor. Since I loathe taxes anyway, I don’t play the lotto simply for that reason. However, I will say that I was tempted a time or two last week to purchase a Powerball ticket. Even though I ultimately didn’t, I did grapple with the hypothetical of standing up and telling my congregation that I had sinned by winning $590 million by playing the lotto ;-)

46 Dave Miller May 20, 2013 at 9:23 pm

You know, Howell, if your church didn’t forgive you for winning the lottery, the 377 million would cushion the blow!

47 Robert Vaughn May 20, 2013 at 5:28 pm

At our church we believe that gambling violates several principles, despite their being no specific prohibition against it. Therefore we would consider it consistent with our stand to refuse the gambling money. Offerings are given in an offering box, and we don’t research every donation that is made (in our situation most all donations come from known sources — church members; we don’t ask anyone else to support the church, but a visitor could also drop something in the box). If we knew that it was from gambling we would not take it. John Harris mentioned that churches who refuse gambling money are accepting money that people earn by any number of questionable means. Maybe some are. Maybe some don’t care. If we know that our members are earning money by questionable means (as in immoral, illegal, unscriptural, etc.), they would be subject to church discipline.

48 Bill Mac May 20, 2013 at 6:05 pm

Honestly, I would advise the person to spread whatever they wanted to give to charity around as widely as possible. I would not advise them to drop it all into our church. That much money would ruin us. BGEA, Samaritan’s Purse, World Vision, IMB, etc. I would also ask them to get financial planning help at once and pray that once their winnings were known that it would not ruin their life. I would also consider at least one sermon directed at trying to prevent church members from contacting the winner and trying to sponge off them.

49 Barry May 20, 2013 at 6:21 pm

Luke 7 :36 ff (among other accounts) a “sinner” (Mary) bought perfume and poured it on the feet of Jesus as an act of worship. Jesus never question where the money to but the perfume came from. No doubt the money came from her sinful activity. If it is good enough for Jesus…it is certainly good enough for His church. If you reject it, send it our way. We will use whatever God provides, however He choose to provide it, for His glory.

50 Christiane May 20, 2013 at 6:38 pm
51 Frank L. May 20, 2013 at 7:09 pm

“””Is gambling sinful? I’m not sure”””

Isn’t “love your neighbor” a pretty clear injunction against gambling?

Gambling is predicated on taking advantage of others–for one to win, many must lose. Part of those who lose in the American variety are innocent children who go without necessities while the parents gamble in hopes of providing a better life.

I agree that there is no “Thou shalt not gamble,” but the Ten Commandments were illustrative, not exhaustive, in regard to God’s standard of holiness.

The principle of holiness goes much further than any particular prohibitive text. For example: there is not text that says, “Thou shalt not jump out of an airplane without a parachute.” However, if one chooses to do so, then the principle of gravity is going to bring significant consequences to bear on the act.

God’s holiness is a principle much broader and much more powerful than gravity. No decision or action gets a free pass simply because there is no particular chapter and verse to quote.

52 Job May 20, 2013 at 7:25 pm

No gambling earnings to the church. While casting of lots was done in the Bible, our modern gambling system exploits the poor. In some states – including my own – it largely constitutes a wealth transfer from mostly lower income people to mostly upper income people to defray the cost of college education for people who in most cases can pay the full cost themselves. It also feeds gambling addictions and has been associated with crime. Also, in our state, it has opened the door from simple lottery tickets to other types of gaming, and there have been proposals to open full blown casinos, which of course increase prostitution, drug use and other crimes.

Count me as against.

53 Donald May 20, 2013 at 8:37 pm

“people who in most cases can pay the full cost themselves.”

Not arguing for gambling, but are you writing the check for a college education?

54 Bruce H. May 20, 2013 at 8:01 pm

If the winner of the lottery wanted to tithe $37.7 million to the cause of Christ in one church, the pastor would be wise to turn it down. You can’t keep that a secret. However, recommending it be divided and dispersed anonymously to great causes would be wise. There are enough great causes that could use $250K without knowing where it came from. Scholarships can be established. A rescue mission could be set up. Many other things can be done with it.

However, the person who gives the money should be involved in its disbursement and work it until it is all gone. They didn’t earn the money, so they should earn through the service of themselves to others that it benefits.

55 Jess Alford May 20, 2013 at 8:38 pm

I would say keep your tainted money from gambling. I don’t care if it is one dollar or thirty seven million. I said no to one individual who was gambling and wanted to give the church four thousand dollars of his winnings. I would do the same if it had been four million.

If someone can show me in the scriptures that God is a God of chance,
I would gladly change me mind.

56 Rick Patrick May 21, 2013 at 7:48 am

Take the donation. Buy a fancy, bright sport coat the color of money. Wear it to the convention. Use your influence to gain an important office that is only one heartbeat away from being one heartbeat away from being President. Move to Iowa where you can direct your vast media empire in obscurity.

We know your game, Miller. They don’t call it POWER Ball for nothing!

57 Greg Harvey May 21, 2013 at 9:19 am

That lime-green suit of his reminds me more of the tax preparer shops that put the live Statue of Liberty out front to attract business than sinister dollar grubbers (no offense intended to those sharing the last name of our federal currency with a certain televangelist.)

But I think we will all breathe a sigh of relief that Dave’s inestimable talents and skills weren’t put to good use for his entire term via the heartbreaking, untimely calling home of Fred and “that other guy” who serves much more calmly than Joe Biden! No!! Not just exclamation points!!! But an emoticon, too!!!! :P

58 James Shaver May 21, 2013 at 8:28 am

Why would we ever refuse money from Gambling winnings when we accept them every Sunday from the Great Ponzi Scheme known as Social Security?

Few if any of the elderly in your church or mine paid into Social Security every dime that they have received in benefits.

I know for a fact that my parents didn’t and I’m pretty sure my wife and I will wind up reaping more than we ever sowed.

Talk about getting something for nothing!

59 Jess Alford May 21, 2013 at 1:23 pm

Many of us have got more out of health insurance than we paid in,
is that a ponzi scheme too?

60 Jim Shaver May 21, 2013 at 3:40 pm

No it’s just a sophisticated form of gambling. You’re gambling that you’re going to need the insurance payout and are willing to pay the premium and the insurance company is gambling that more policy holders won’t need it than will need it.

Somebody always pays for those who get more out than they pay in.

It happens in the stock market, in the insurance business, in the Social Security system, and in the Lottery.

61 Jim Pemberton May 21, 2013 at 4:42 pm

You’re right about the lottery.

Regarding the stock market, only sometimes does someone make money on someone else’s loss. There are people who lead the stock market to generate funds for themselves in that way. But in principle, the stock market isn’t a zero-sum game. If used righteously, it’s a tool for generating wealth that wasn’t there before. The investors in that case should rightly benefit from the wealth that their capitol helped to create.

The insurance business it tied to the stock market and it depends on whether the insurance company invests morally or not as outlined above.

Social security… sheesh. Government doesn’t create wealth. This works differently than the lottery, but it’s the government’s way of trading taxes from different time periods and ultimately buying votes in the process.

62 William Thornton May 21, 2013 at 8:33 am

The fact that the recent big jackpot generates discussion here is evidence of the great power of large sums of money on almost all of us. The lotto marketing theme ‘this is what dreams are made of’ or similar is a bullseye into our nature.

63 John Wylie May 21, 2013 at 9:02 am

Hey Dave Miller,

I know this may not be the appropriate venue but does anyone know how to get in touch with Ryan Abernathy and see if he’s ok and find out what we can do to help the folks in Moore, OK?

64 Bruce H. May 21, 2013 at 2:47 pm

Maybe we ought to look at our mortgage on our house and church. The interest we lose each month is ridiculous. It is a waste when we choose not to go debt free. If you are not debt free, do not gamble.

“Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8

65 Pastor Al Brodbent May 21, 2013 at 5:18 pm

My problem with this issue is, it appears, we only deal with one half. In prostitution, for years, we only prosecuted the prostitutes. That is all you eve heard about. In recent years I see more exposure on the “Johns” and how law enforcement realizes there is two sides to this issue.

What I am saying is this: Is the sin in winning or buying the ticket? If we don’t “church discipline” anyone we know who buys a ticket how can we now act against the winner?

66 John Fariss May 22, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Of course I am against gambling, and against any form of lottery. They legalized it here in Maryland last election (as they did “gay marriage”) but both were things I worked against and voted against. But would I accept a tithe from gambling money? With volfan007, and I believe it was first Billy Sunday, I would say, “The Devil has had that money long enough…time to put it to work for the Kingdom of God.”

John

67 john May 22, 2013 at 4:20 pm

If I got the money I would simply assume it was so predestined as I am a Calvinist. :) There is no tainted money or Devil’s money. It all belongs to God. I would be delighted to use it to contributing to church plants, students education, and medical charities. No one would call it tainted if one gave it all to a charity.

68 Ellen May 29, 2013 at 7:33 am

If a person wins the lottery, whether it is sinful or not is all relative. I think that a lot of it depends on whether you will give them any of it, or if you do give, what do you expect from them in return. I used to go to a church that constantly demanded money from the members every week. It would interesting to see how that congregation would act around me. So, if I won the lottery, I would not tell anyone.

If someone wins the lottery, it is wise to get an attorney and have the money claimed through a trust. Also, I found out that five states do not have a law that says that the winner’s name be released (KS, OH, DE, MD, ND). This only applies with the Powerball, so if it’s another lottery, be sure to get an attorney to protect yourself.

If won the lottery, I would first want to get the money in order; getting a trust, and good investments. I would then decide how much money I would give weekly to my church. I know that I would not be giving millions in one sitting (too suspicious). In the back of my mind, if I gave a huge amount at once, I would be concerned that the church might squander it and then want more. I do not feel that I need to disclose where I got so much money. Besides, there are many other charities that I would be giving money to in the same way.

There is always going to be some debate about playing the lottery or gambling. Some people who condemn the lottery will perhaps become envious if someone else wins and start making comments like: what are you going to do with all that money?, that could feed a lot of children. The comments are endless, and all kinds of people will always have something to say. I think in the back of other people’s minds is if they make remarks about another person’s winnings, it is their own envy and greed leading to their own gluttony and anger or wrath towards someone.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: