The National Lottery has been with us since 25 May 1994. Like the white cliffs of Dover, it’s become an accepted part of British life. No one is forced to partake, but its participants do so eagerly. It gives the opportunity of becoming an overnight millionaire.
Half of the proceeds from tickets goes into the prize money. A quarter is spent on ‘good causes’ – charities and organisations can apply for National Lottery grants – and the remainder of the proceeds are divided up between the government and retailers.
No one who buys a lottery ticket would question whether doing so is a good idea or not. Christians, however, might have grave reservations about the whole enterprise.
The National Lottery promises great joy. People fantasise about winning, believing this would be a cure-all to solve all their life’s problems.
The Lord Jesus, however, stated that true joy is not material but spiritual. He said, ‘Take heed, and beware of all covetousness; for a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions’ (Luke 12:15).
True and lasting joy, according to the Bible, is having ‘the unsearchable riches of Christ’ (Ephesians 3:8) in our spiritual bank account – being a recipient of his saving grace; being a beneficiary of the eternal salvation he procured for us at Calvary.
These are the ‘solid joys and lasting treasures none but Zion’s children know’. Jesus gives what a National Lottery win cannot give. He said, ‘I came that they may have life and have it abundantly’ (John 10:10).