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Tenth Commandment - Thou Shall Not Covet - Gambling


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What is covetousness?

A strong desire after the possession of worldly things; covetousness or to covet means to crave or desire, especially in excessive or improper ways. Coveting can also include our wanting far more than we would legitimately deserve or that would be our rightful share. The Tenth Commandment does not tell us that all of our desires are immoral. It tells us that some desires are wrong.

Coveting is an immoral longing for something that is not rightfully ours. That is usually because the object of our desire already belongs to someone else. The focus of the Tenth Commandment is that we are not to illicitly desire anything that already belongs to others. The opposite of coveting is a positive desire to help others preserve and protect their blessings from God. We should rejoice when other people are blessed. Our desire should be to contribute to the well being of others and to make our presence in their lives a blessing to them.

Motivation for gambling is to Covet and Violate 10th Commandment

1 Timothy 6:10 (New International Version): For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. Gambling is a way to bypass work, but the Bible counsels us to persevere and work hard: Proverbs 10:4 (New International Version): Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth. We should be wise stewards of what God gives us whether this is our time, talent and/or treasure. Wise stewardship is one of the key principles in the Bible.

What does the Bible say about gambling?

Wise stewardship of extra money calls believers to invest it in the Lords work or to save it for an emergency. Gamblers rather lose their extra money as well as money that should be used for living expenses in games in which the odds are stacked against them. Gamblers may believe they earn their money with their own labor and may spend it as they please, yet God gives people the talent and health to carry out their jobs, and their very life is a gift from him as well.

The Bible forbids a covetous attitude in the Tenth Commandment: "Exodus 20:17(New International Version): You shall not covet your neighbors house. You shall not covet your neighbors wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

Gamblers covet more money, and they also covet the things money can buy, such as cars, boats, houses, expensive jewelry and clothing. With gambling there is also the potential for it to turn into an addiction, like drugs or alcohol.

History of Gambling in America

According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, 2 million U.S. adults are pathological gamblers and another 4 to 6 million are problem gamblers. As with any other addiction this addiction can destroy the stability of the family, lead to job loss, and cause a person to lose control of their life: Not too many years ago, gambling in this country was forbidden and gambling is still illegal in some states.

I believe that all the states needing revenue to support this and that bill, and the lifestyle that the state cannot really afford for whatever reason, have set up the lotteries, holding out the potential of great wealth to those who participate. Families continually spend beyond their means. Some of the poor have actually papered their walls with losing lottery tickets that they could not afford to purchase in the first place. On the back of Canadian lottery tickets, they even have an 800 number to call if one is addicted. States, because of foolish spending, have authorized gambling casinos to garner greater riches for state coffers, while the average citizen takes his hard-earned money and tries to strike it rich. The result is that the state gets richer; and the gambler, poorer. I had a friend with whom I worked for years. He was a fine man, but he was addicted to gambling. I remember he told us about the time that he went to Las Vegas and won $900. That does not sound like much, but back then it was quite a bit. He always saved his money and went up there. However, he never told me all of the times that he lost. It is always the carrot on the stick, the thought of obtaining something without working for it. The result is that work ethics, steady savings, and relying on God go by the wayside in the hope of getting rich without effort.

Proverbs 13:11 (New International Version): Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow. Wealth gotten by dishonesty shall be dimished but he that gathers by labor shall increase.

Gambling And Taking Risks

Supporters of gambling like to contend that all of life is a gamble. They say that where “chance” is involved gambling occurs. Athens Clay Pullias addresses this charge as follows: “The gambler often justifies his gambling by saying that everything in life involves chance, or he may say that everything we do involves risk and danger. These things, of course, are true.

The Gambling Bible Study

Gambling is different than the taking of risks that are essential to productive living in that it involves the creation of unnecessary risks, which may endanger financial security. The creation of these risks undermines, and eventually will destroy the Christian virtues of productive work, thrift, and the desire to earn what one claims the right to have. Gambling is sinful because it involves the desire to obtain something for nothing, thus, the farmer who plants crops in anticipation of selling them, and the investor in stock and bonds who seeks to make a profit, are not gambling. Athens Pullias suggests that this area becomes much clearer if one asks certain questions. He writes: “The line between the wickedness of gambling and the hazards of investment is unmistakably clear.

Biblical Principles That Oppose Gambling:

The Stewardship Principle.

God reminds us that the earth and all that it contains belong to him. The Psalmist stated in Psalm 24:1 (New International Version): The earth is the LORDs, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it

Christians are commanded to be, good stewards of the manifold grace of God: 1 Peter 4:10 (New International Version): Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of Gods grace in its various forms.

The Lord taught that there will come a day in which we will give an account of our stewardship in Luke 16:1-2 (New International Version): Jesus told his disciples: There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. So he called him in and asked him, What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.

Paul makes it clear in 1 Corinthians 4:2 (New International Version): Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. Christians do not have the right to waste, squander, or gamble away that which the Lord has entrusted to them. Many spend money needed for clothing and food for their families on lottery tickets in hope of “striking it rich.” It is often times the case that those who can least afford to lose their money are the one’s who are the most addicted to gambling. The gambling industry would not be the billion-dollar business it is were it not for people’s bad stewardship and greed.

The Work Principle.

2 Thessalonians 3:10 (New International Version): For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat. Most gamblers hope to strike it rich or at least win enough money so they will not have to work. The Bible says that the lazy person who will not work should not eat. Those that subscribe to the philosophy of wanting something for nothing, violate the work principle given by God.



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