Should A Church Accept Lottery Winnings As Offerings?

Should A Church Accept Lottery Winnings As Offerings? March 22, 2016

Should a church accept gambling or lottery winnings from members as part of their offerings?

Playing for the Lord?

I have heard a few Christians in my life say that they’d love to win the lottery and then donate it all to the church or a charity but rarely does this ever happen. In 2008 a church member who won $6 million dollars placed $600,000 into his churches offering plate. Another church member donated their winning ticket which was worth $3 million dollars! That broke down into about $100,000 annually for the next twenty years. The church only had 654 members in it. So, is it right to accept money that’s been won through a lottery or through gambling? I believe donating their winnings from gambling is clearly wrong. At least it is for me but what about offerings from those who win it big?

Gambling is Sin

There is no doubt that gambling is sin. Some people can just go out and set a limit on what they’ll spend like $200 but when winning becomes the focus and not just having fun, then that desire for money is nothing less than covetousness and the pursuit of money can become an idol, however Christ will not build His church on the backs of the poor. The casino nearest to us told one of their employees that it’s really busy at the very start of the month because that’s when all the welfare checks come in. When someone wins money, and most do not since this is a business, they can become more easily addicted and a gambling addiction can lead to bankruptcy, divorce, substance abuse, domestic violence, crime, and alcoholism (our local casino gives “complimentary” drinks to gamblers). Such crimes have spiked in areas near the casino since it first opened.

For-the-love-of-money-is (2)

Is Lottery Playing a Sin?

This gets back to the previous paragraph. The lottery is a sin for those who believe it is sin to them but playing an occasional scratch and win is not what I mean by someone playing the lottery. The real issue is whether someone plays the lottery simply for the pursuit or desire for money and they’re willing to spend a lot of money neither they, nor their families can afford. Jesus once spoke to a rich young man who went away sad because he had so much and didn’t want to part with any of it. Jesus shows us that money was this man’s god and that he was worshipping it by putting his money first before God (Mark 10:17-27), thus proving that “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs” (1st Tim 6:10).

Accept it or Not?

One pastor I spoke to said that money from lotteries was “dirty money” and that neither he nor his church wanted any part of it. It’s almost like “blood money” because so many lives are wrecked by gambling and playing the lottery. That’s the reason he wouldn’t accept it, nor would I. I asked the church one time if they would accept lottery winnings and every single person there agreed that they didn’t want to use any money like this for Jesus’ church. It just didn’t feel right to them and it doesn’t feel right to me. Would the church be benefited? Yes, at least as far as their physical needs were concerned but what would this do to the church spiritually? Would it be worth it? It would not be in my opinion.

Conclusion

I know that many will disagree with me on this article. They don’t see it as blood money like Judas giving back the thirty pieces of silver to the Jews. I can understand why you might think that money would help the church but I think it would not do the church any good at all in the long run. It might make the church change and coming into a lot of change can create a lot of change. Not only in churches but in individuals too, therefore my suggestion is that a church should not accept winnings from the lottery or from winning gamblers.

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.

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