What Would Jesus Say about the Powerball?

When the jackpot reaches into the hundreds of millions, we hear a lot about the Powerball drawing. If you aren’t familiar with the Powerball, think of it as a national lottery. According to their website, Powerball is ran by the Multi-State Lottery Association—a non profit, government benefit association started by the participating state lotteries. 43 states participate in the Powerball drawing.

In 2011, Americans spent $65.5 billion on Lottery tickets—a figure that has risen every year since 1965. Even the recession didn’t slow the sale of lottery tickets making people wonder if it creates an economic boost.

As of this writing, the Powerball jackpot sits at $500 million, sparking national headlines and increased sales of Powerball tickets.

But for Christians, the question has to be asked: What would Jesus say about the Powerball?

(Check this out: 5 ways to save money the God way)

Don’t Focus on Riches

‘And he [Jesus] said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” -Luke 12:15

The Bible is full of warnings against the love of money and Jesus warns us to not focus on our stuff or the pursuit of amassing even more possessions. The Christian life isn’t about possessions. It’s about a relationship that becomes so powerful that others can’t help but want the relationship that you have. More money doesn’t strengthen your Christian walk. In fact, the Bible speaks to the opposite being true.

There’s Value in Hard Work

“and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

Throughout the Old and New Testament, there is work—a lot of it. People worked hard. Not just directly for God but in their daily lives. Tending to fields, building giant structures, and long tedious work in vineyards are just a few of the tasks we find in the Bible. Jesus Himself was a carpenter further emphasizing the value of hard work for an honest wage. We are taught to work hard because it makes us better people and better Christians. How much sweeter is it when you succeed after working tirelessly?

Even if you did win the jackpot, that isn’t how God wants you to find blessings in your life because money by itself isn’t a blessing at all—at least not a Godly blessing.

Remember that You’re Spending My Money

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
-Psalm 24:1

Let’s set up a hypothetical situation. You’re one of Jesus’ disciples and he gives you $20. Later, He asks you, “what did you do with that $20?” (As if He doesn’t already know) If they had a Powerball drawing 2,000 years ago, would you feel OK about spending the money on lottery tickets?

All of the money you have comes from God. You worked hard to earn it but He gave you the mental and physical ability to do it.  On the other hand, how happy would Jesus be if you told Him that you used the $20 to buy a struggling family a meal or a child clean clothes?

You know that the odds of winning are so slim that there’s no realistic chance that  you’re going to do anything but throw that money away. How about throwing that money into somebody who could really use it?

Bottom Line

The accepted Christian stance is that gambling is sinful but let’s make this a heart issue. As somebody who has God living within them, you likely have a heart for giving. You know the feeling that comes from doing God’s work. You know how great you feel when God blesses somebody through something you do or say. If you’re like me, you’re addicted to that feeling and you’re willing to give up large amounts of time and money to meet the needs of people who desperately need help.

You know that the odds of winning are so slim that there’s no realistic chance that  you’re going to do anything but throw that money away. How about throwing that money into somebody who could really use it? If you have $20 to spend on the Powerball this month, you would have it next month too. What if you saved that money for a year and used the $240 for God’s work? If you have the heart of God, you’ll find much more pleasure in that than you will playing the lottery.