Something for Nothing?

The highway of the upright avoids evil.
Proverbs 16:17

When parents of a twelve-year-old Connecticut boy caught him stealing twenty dollars, they suspected he might have a problem with drugs. But they discovered their youngster was stealing from his own home to feed a different addiction: betting on basketball games. Gambling among adults, and even teens and younger children, has proliferated since our state governments began embracing lotteries as a “something for nothing” source of revenue in the early 1990s. Buying a lottery ticket has become an almost patriotic act.

Yet the apostle Paul warns what happens when we are careless with God’s money: “People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction” (1 Timothy 6:9). Indeed, gambling addictions have been linked to substance abuse, suicide, and child abuse, resulting in the destruction of families.

The easiest way to protect your family from the ills of gambling, of course, is to refuse to play the game. For instance, we have traveled to Las Vegas without ever putting a nickel in a slot machine, even though two rolls of coins came with our hotel reservations. As Scripture says, “Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil” (Proverbs 4:27). Sometimes the obvious solution is the most effective one of all.

Before you say good night…

  • Do you play the lottery or dabble in other forms of gambling?
  • If so, what impact do you think it has on your kids?
  • How does God feel about these activities?

Dear God, we admit that we sometimes act without considering the consequences of our deeds. Grant us strength to resist foolish ways and to protect our families from the evil that surrounds us. Amen.

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This devotional is taken from Night Light for Parents. Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reservedUsed with permission.