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The Spiritual Lottery

There is an epidemic of gambling the world over. Cash-strapped governments are so desperate that they are only too eager to promote and encourage gambling in their nations and towns. Gambling on the Internet is also big business. Yet I know many people who would never step foot in a casino or go online to gamble who engage in a form of gambling on a regular basis. I call it the spiritual lottery.

I watched the other day as someone on television promised the blessing of God if the people watching would simply send in a certain amount of money. I have seen this tactic before as articulate and credible sources promise the blessing of wisdom, business success or unlimited returns for a gift to this or that ministry. It occurred to me that these people were running something akin to a spiritual lottery. Let me explain.

When someone goes to a casino, they go in hopes of spending a little money and somehow making a lot of money in return. They may play certain card games or feed coins all night into slot machines, and they always hope that the next game or spin will bring them luck, that the next play will make them rich and bring them their dreams.

When someone promises that your next gift will be the one that will "put you over the top," isn't it the same principle? Isn't the giver hoping for the same thing that the casino player is looking for? Aren't they both looking for a shortcut to prosperity?

I know I should give and be generous. I know God will bless me when I do. Yet to expect my marriage to be blessed for a $1,000 gift or to receive the promise of wisdom for a $951 gift (since there are 951 verses in Proverbs) is absurd. So why do these peddlers promise such returns? They promise because it works; people fall for it all the time. Why? They are playing a spiritual lottery of sorts, and looking for a shortcut to wealth.

I call these people peddlers because, in most cases, that's what they are. They are peddling God's word, cloaking it in promises of untold returns to those who will invest. What is a peddler? One dictionary defines a peddler as "one who deals in or promotes something intangible (as a personal asset or an idea)." There were peddlers in Paul's day as well, for he wrote: "For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God" (2 Corinthians 2:17 emphasis added).

There are no shortcuts to prosperity. It comes through hard work, wise investments and the grace of God. Prosperity seldom if ever comes solely through giving, although giving is a hallmark of many prosperous people. Proverbs 3:9-10 states: "Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. " It does not state that you give to get wealth; it directs you to give out of your wealth and it will be preserved. You don't give to manipulate God into blessing you. You give to honor God for how He has already blessed you. You don't give "betting" that your $15 will bring great returns.

So the next time someone comes along and promises a certain blessing if you give, don't fall for it. You can still give if you so choose, but don't do so to play the lottery. Give because you want to give. If God blesses you beyond your wildest dreams, that's great. If He doesn't, that's great, too. It's time we stopped supporting the spiritual lottery wherever it is run, and returned to giving for the pure joy of sharing God's blessings with others.

If you agree or disagree with what I've written, feel free to write your response on the site where this entry is posted.



I totally agree with you. Thank you for speaking out. You are the man DR. J.

Jacqueline L. Roland

Hi Dr. J,
I agree with you on the spiritual lottery, I was watching a preacher yesterday as well on giving a certain amount for the salvation of your family come Easter Sunday, and the Holy Spirit in me does not agree with this, for the Word of God says "As for me and my household SHALL be saved", you can not buy the promises of God, Jesus did that at the Cross. I am a giver and I give back what is God's, and more as He directs me, but to pervert God's Word for your kingdom is so wrong. Thanks for being bold enough to stand up Dr. J

Blessings to you,
Jacqueline Roland
Big Spring, TX

Kathy Banashak

I also agree with you. Also whenever anyone on T.V. talks about giving offerings, they are sure to emphasize that you need to send them to their ministry, not your local church or other ministry that is serving God.


Dr John,

Your words are always full of wisdom in this day of 'feel-good' churches. it is SO EASY to fall for such promises.At times when you are very desperate for something and the pastor says that special offering message full of riches,promise, blessing, it lures you into giving, even if you really did not want to. But God's word encourages us to give according to our own desire; to give as the Spirit leads. You really emphasize on the truth. Would you also share something about the laying of hands on others. The Bible warns against laying your hands on everyone, yet we do it everyday in churches. thank you


I thank everyone for their wonderful comments on the Spiritual Lottery and to more especially to Dr Stanko to be bold enough to speak on the issue. the word of God says that freely we receive, freely we shall give. I have always believed that if God inspires or sends you to do His work in any capacity, He will make every provision for that job to be fulfilled. He is is the Lord that makes the things that are not as though they are. This message of Spiritual Lottery should be sent to all christians for spiritual wisdom. Once again Thank you John Stanko and all who agreed on this Devine Wisdom. Stay Blessed. Grace - London - UK

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