You Can't Win If You Don't Play

May 23, 2013

I grew up learning that playing the lottery is a sin because it's gambling.  But my dad used to walk up to the convenience store to purchase his lottery tickets.   It was my mother who said it was a sin.  But I'm sure had my dad won big she would not have rejected the money.

I don't think playing the lottery is a sin unless you are using money that should be going to something else, like the mortgage/rent, bills, food, kids clothing and other important things.   Or of course if it's an addiction, that's a problem.  But I'm talking about playing as long as it's not causing harm in any way.

So when I think about it, and if it's a large amount of money, I'll purchase a lottery ticket or two.  I used to buy Starbucks drinks a lot.  I think I'd rather buy a lottery ticket or two.

Reasons I'll play:  When someone wins big I'm happy for them, especially if they're hard working, well-deserving people.  But I also wish it could have been me.  I think of the amazing things I could do with the money--start a school, provide entrepreneurship programs for young women, and the list goes on.    

But I can't win if I don't play.  So I play when I think about it, without guilt.

I think I've played about 3-4 times the past few weeks.

And guess where I purchased the tickets?  At a nearby liquor store.

Growing up, I was taught not to go into a liquor store even it's just to buy a newspaper or soda because if someone sees you go in or come out they may think you're buying liquor (I was also taught drinking was a sin) and gossip would start.  This was another of my mother's rules, but I remember once there were no other stores around and my mother went into a liquor store to buy a newspaper and we (my brothers) were shocked and teased her about it.  I think by that time I was a young adult and she was growing out of some of her legalistic rules.   

Even in a grocery store as an adult I'd avoid the liquor isle.

It's amazing how what we learn at a young age sticks with us.   Which, of course, is not a bad thing, depending on what we're learning, of course.     

I no longer avoid liquor isles in the grocery.  I'm not a drinker but I no longer believe it's a sin to have a drink.  The Scriptures say don't get drunk, not don't have a drink.  Although for me because I don't drink it would only take one drink to get drunk.

Maybe the reason I bought my lottery tickets in a liquor store is rebellion.  But it feels good walking in and not caring who sees me.   Also, it seems that the winning tickets tend to come out of liquor stores as opposed to seven elevens.

I do wonder, though, when I win, how will my church feel about my tithe?