Are raffle tickets sold in the church considered to be gambling?
Imagine a young boy going around his neighbourhood, trying to sell raffle tickets for his church.
“Please buy a raffle ticket from me sir”
“It’s for my church.”
“Isn’t this gambling son?”
“Not really, as long as it is for the church.”
Isn’t gambling, gambling? Can the outcome justify the means? Are we promoting God’s will or are we promoting sin? Can we steal as long as it is for the church? Or is stealing always stealing? What about killing, committing adultery… What is our message to the world? As long as we can justify our actions it’s not sin, or is it?
What does the Bible say about that? Let us open the Scriptures and find out.
Why should one give?
1. 1 Cor 13:3 “If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.” NIV
It is clear that the number one reason to give is love. Love towards God and love towards our fellow men. I wonder what the apostle Paul would have written if gambling was used in his days in order to solicit donations. I don’t think he would be too pleased about that.
But Why not? Is it love towards God and our fellow men if we give money hoping to get something in return? Or is this love towards ourselves? Does soliciting funds for a good cause by means of raffle tickets encourage others to give out of love, or does it encourage them to think of themselves first? “Would you like to buy a raffle ticket? You could win a brand new Toyota Camry!”
2. Acts 20:35 “Remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” NIV
The second reason to give is because there is such a blessing attached to giving. More so than in receiving! I like receiving presents at Christmas time, but nothing beats when I am watching my wife and children opening the special presents I have for them. I would prefer receiving nothing and watching their excitement, than receiving anything and missing that opportunity. Wouldn’t you? Why? Because there is a greater blessing in giving than in receiving!
If we give because we would like to win something, we are giving with the hope of receiving something, and are missing a great opportunity to receive a special blessing from the Lord.
3. 2 Cor 9:2 “For I know your eagerness to help, and I have been boasting about it to the Macedonians, telling them that since last year you in Achaia were ready to give; and your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action.” NIV
2 Cor 9:7-9 “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” NIV
One gives because he wants to and he cheerfully does it. Nobody compels him. Nobody entices him to give in the hope to get something in return. Why would he want anything in return? Doesn’t God provide “all” that we need? Isn’t it in God that we trust, and not in chance games?
The Bible encourages us Matt 10:8 “Freely you have received, freely give.” NIV
4. The biggest reason to give is God’s own example. Look at everything He gave us freely, besides life itself.
John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” NIV
He gave us eternal life. His cost: Jesus Christ! Quite steep, don’t you think!
Rom 3:23-24 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” NIV
Grace is given to us freely. It doesn’t cost us one cent. His cost: Jesus Christ!
1 Cor 2:12 “We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.” NIV
He has given us His guide, His Holy Spirit. All this is given to us freely. His cost: Jesus Christ.
We could enumerate hundreds of other blessings He gives us freely. Why is He doing this for us? Is He doing this so He could win something? Hardly. Everything belongs to Him. He does it out of love. He could have zapped us out of existence and nobody would have known any better, but He didn’t do this. Instead when we decided to sin and go our own way, He decided to send His own son and carry our own penalty. He died, so that we would not die for eternity. He died so that we could have eternal life. Shouldn’t we follow His example and give freely without any selfish desires?
My friend, God loves you and He wants you to experience Him fully in your life. He wants you to be His friend. Why don’t you accept His friendship now by answering His call at http://www.answers2prayer.org/saviours_call.html . You won’t ever regret it!
Yes. Gambling in any form is a sin. Websters Dictionarys definition of Gambling is “playing a game of chance for stakes.”
Gambling promotes lust, love of money, covetousness which is “a desire to have more” (1 Cor. 5:10-11).
God wants people to work in order to secure funding for daily living—for self, family, and the needy (1 Timothy 5:8; Galatians 6:10).
“Making money to live” is different from “living to make money.” God warned constantly throughout human history to eliminate from the mind greed, the desire for things, the lust to accumulate this world’s riches (Matthew 6:19-21; Luke 12:15-21; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:1-5; 1 John 2:15-17).
Although it may sound great to have raffles in order to fund church things and events, unfortunately there is just no way around the fact that a raffle is as much gambling as sitting in a casino in Las Vegas. The bottom line is the same. Trying to “GET.” Taking a chance to “WIN” something. The Lord wants us to work for our lot in life and for whatever we need for anything. Trying to get something for nothing is a gamble. Simply put: It’s Sin!
The mind set with which we partake of this venture defines our purpose. I do not gamble, however, I have purchased tickets (which I consider a donation) and mentioned that if I win (never happened) to donate the winning or sell it and use the money for the church.
If however, we are trying to get a THING, by using money, then perhaps we are worshiping the wrong god.
In Australia raffles are considered to be gambling and fall under the control of the licensing and gaming administration. To be legal, a raffle which is known also as a ‘minor art union’ must be run by an organization which is licensed to do so. Commonly these are sporting clubs, school parents and citizen’s committees, charitable organizations. Indeed, without the ability to run minor and sometimes major art unions as fund raisers, many of these organizations could not exist. There are rules concerning the value of the prize and the price of tickets permitted under a license. There are also rules which require the prize/s to comprise a set percentage of the take when the raffle is sold out. Records must be kept and are subject to audit. There are penalties for infringement of the rules and for unlicensed running of a raffle; e.g. By an individual for personal gain.
Because raffles are invariably in support of a worthy cause most people buy a ticket not so much in the expectation of winning, but to give support to the cause. They do not seem to carry the same stigma as placing money with a bookmaker for instance, or playing at a casino, where the sole purpose is to get rich quick without personal effort.
However, to run a raffle in a church would seem to me to desecrate the house of God. I have not personally ever witnessed this done, although it must be somewhere because of the question. I would refer to the story where Jesus routed the money changers etc., in the Temple. The use of God’s house and exploitation of those gathered to worship there in order to fund raise, other than by free will giving, would, I believe, provoke Jesus to use the whip were He there in person.
In answer to the question therefore; Yes, raffles are gambling, and being conducted in a church will not change that. I cannot speak to the laws of countries other than Australia.