A Christian friend recently told me that she and two other Christian Friends had gone gambling at a casino. Gambling is something that is not talked about in my cultural circles however I gathered early on in my Christian walk that it was frowned upon ( along with drunken escapades and reading my horoscope in the local paper)  At first the no gambling thing seemed merely to be one of those cultural rules that Christians force on each other, a bit like the need for you to listen to Hillsong and wave your hands in the air and say Hallelujah. However the reason for not gambling as a Christian is not a cultural Puritanical rule but lies at the heart of what Jesus says here:   Luke 4:18-19

18“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
      because he has anointed me
      to preach good news to the poor.
   He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
      and recovery of sight for the blind,
   to release the oppressed,
    19to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
.

 On becoming a Christian , or in the theologically jargon, being Justified and made righteous we start on the hard path of sanctification, fought with difficulty but where we become more like Jesus , live for him and turn away from our sin on the road to Glorification. Part of this Justification/Sanctification process is learning that the money we have  has been given to us as  a trust, in that it is God’s and regardless of how much or how little we have it is to bring Glory to God. So the problem with Gambling (along with the problem of buying heaps of crap that you don’t need) is that we are  

1)      Wasting God’s money

2)      Relying on Chance. Nowhere in the Bible is chance (what gambling is based on) presented as a favourable thing instead we should be relying on the Holy spirit

3)      Casino’s in particular are renowned for attracting people on low incomes or those who can not afford to be gambling , they are set up to help people ‘get rich quick’ i.e. they are places where the love of money is the aim not the love of people, as much as their ‘charitable agencies’ may try to persuade you otherwise. I have a Christian friend who told me that many in his church spend hundreds of dollars in the pokies in a vain attempt to gain money only to find that they loose most of it and have nothing to give at church, which in his culture results in huge shame, so they in turn go back to the pokies to get more money for the church and so the cycle continues.

4)      Gambling splits our focus: we become fixated on the money and ‘luck’ and forget our calling to serve God with our money – How can we release others if our focus is on the money be it with Gambling/material gain or otherwise.

5)      Participating in the furthering of an industry that causes widespread pain and suffering for families – how can we set the captives free if we are contributing to their captivity?

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