It Might Not Be Greed

I shouldn’t speak for others because I gave up buying even the occasional lottery ticket a long time ago. However, some lotteries are state-specific and others are multi-state, so there are many opportunities to participate by those who are so inclined.

Even though normally legal, lotteries are still a form of gambling which most (though not all) churches frown on. Some churches are in fact delighted to receive charitable donations from those who have won even a small but nice amount in one of the many lotteries that exist nowadays. It makes it possible to add an annex to the building, repair the roof, or resurface the parking lot so members don’t trip and fall.

Other churches are so rigid they will likely kick you out or deny privileges just for buying a raffle ticket in a fundraiser to help the local animal shelter. But as always, there is dogma, there is personal interpretation of that dogma, and then there are social expectations which have nothing to do with that church’s actual doctrine. In addition, religious canon does get changed, sometimes from one decade to the next. And those who write quasi-officially on official topics may get discredited by the sands of time.

In any event, if you’re going to buy a simple raffle ticket for a worthy cause that too many other people are too cheap or too righteous to support in other ways, you could just keep quiet about it. The good Lord cares about what is in your heart, not what the overly pious think is in your heart. If you still feel the need to ask your ecclesiastical leader if it’s ok to buy the raffle ticket, go ahead. Just don’t be disappointed when you don’t hear what you need to hear.

Reasons Why People Buy Lottery Tickets

I do remember why I used to buy the occasional lottery ticket when I did decades ago. There is often a time of desperation in a person’s life, a low point in someone’s faith where there seems to be no way out of an intolerable situation, financial or otherwise. What is flat-out needed is money to escape the situation: any food bank can only do so much while you’re going to school to retrain; unemployment benefits that you earned only last for so many months; only so many friends are available for you to beg to watch the kids or keep an eye on a sick spouse. When the list of volunteers disappears, you may need cash to hire someone to help, cash to pay the most urgent bills, cash to escape from abuse, and on it goes. Not everyone leads the picture perfect life of the Brady Bunch.

At other times, people are driven by the needs of others who are suffering far more than they are. Those are the people many truly want to help. And they may have semi-firm plans for which charities they’re going to support, or the foundation they’re going to set up. Listen to any news broadcast from those standing in line to buy lottery tickets. Always the reporters ask, “What will you do if you win?” Most of those responding say they’ll take care of a personal dream, sometimes that they’ll help their families, and very often that they’ll donate most of the money to charity after the government collects the lion’s share in taxes.

Those who personally need money the most are not often those who win lotteries, but sometimes they are, and that’s when a shiver of sharks moves in to torment, maim and kill, instead of just the lone predator who has smelled blood. Beware the two-legged shark (male or female). It is far more dangerous than its ocean counterpart.

Get Your Team Set Up First

Of course, winners first need a COMPETENT legal, tax and financial team before anyone writes one single check. Not getting that team together is the reason lottery winners or anyone receiving a windfall of any kind fall victim to scam artists and other criminals. You definitely don’t go on national television before you’ve even taken your winning ticket to the lottery commission for validation!! There isn’t anything much more stupid than that, especially coming from their lawyer who should know better. They could have been mugged for the ticket or lost it or…or…or….

So-called advice from weaker lawyers is less than worthless. It is life-destroying. That particular person just recently in the news has overly publicized people who will now be stalked or worse. Far better to keep the news at least within the state as much as possible, where they already know who their real relatives and (former?) friends are, not the worms who will crawl out of the woodwork across the nation.

In their innocence, the latest winners have asked for their privacy to now be respected going forward. Really? I think you are trying to close the barn door after the horse has bolted, folks.

For serious reasons we are cautioned to avoid any form of gambling. One major problem with lotteries is that organized crime strives constantly to move in. State officials monitor what goes on behind the scenes and have even uncovered instances where drawings were rigged by individuals. Another major problem is that buying tickets can quickly become addictive. People have spent the grocery budget and the mortgage payment on tickets month after month, leaving spouse and children hungry and homeless.

Whatever the reasons – misguided or otherwise – that people have for buying lottery tickets, greed is seldom the real reason. They are usually feeling fearful or trapped and/or feeling helpless to assist those in desperate need that so many are ignoring. And if greed were the reason, the more tickets that are bought by one person, the more they dilute chances of winning anyway because every other player is likely doing the same thing.

If we could just remember that all we send into the lives of others comes back into our own (Edwin Markham). That is the best way to help, to give out of what we already have. Our Savior will repay us an hundredfold for kindness to others.

Disclaimer: My blog posts are statements of opinion only. I am not in the business of giving financial, legal, medical or any other type of advice. See Terms of Use and Disclaimer for further disclaimers.

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