“Come on, Take the Money and Run. Woo, Woo!” (couldn’t resist a little Steve Miller Band in this posting)
In my methodist church they have stated that a lottery is in congruent with Christian practice.. or more exactly.
Gambling is a menace to society, deadly to the best interests of moral, social, economic, and spiritual life, and destructive of good government. As an act of faith and concern, Christians should abstain from gambling and should strive to minister to those victimized by the practice.
Where gambling has become addictive, the Church will encourage such individuals to receive therapeutic assistance so that the individual’s energies may be redirected into positive and constructive ends.
The Church should promote standards and personal lifestyles that would make unnecessary and undesirable the resort to commercial gambling—including public lotteries—as a recreation, as an escape, or as a means of producing public revenue or funds for support of charities or government.
From The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church – 2004. Copyright 2004 by The United Methodist Publishing House. Used by permission.
When I lived in Alabama the churches were in a uproar over a lottery trying to be pushed through the government. A governor was elected with the implementation of a lottery as a big platform. However, it got shot down pretty quickly (and I don’t think he won a second term). In Tennessee we had the same uprising, but a lottery passed through regardless. In both cases there was always this hypothetical. What if someone in your congregation won the lottery and gave the money to the church, do you take it?
Well, not so much a hypothetical question anymore..
As it turns out this church had an instant win card worth $80,000 dropped off in the offering plate. It was anonymous so the church folks say and they are not to bashful about accepting it.
“The money is going towards the church and we have to supply the food for the neighborhood, the clothing, everything costs and we give this stuff away free,” says Alfonzo Riggins.
Riggins has been attending cathedral of prayer church for the past 15 years, He also handles security for the pastor and first lady of the church.
He says he has already received criticisms from people in the community about the church accepting the money.
“God said a blessing is a blessing you know, no one at the church played the lottery so it had to be an outsider that came in and did this,” Riggins said.
News Leader 9 caught up with church members after Bible study. They had no idea about the huge donation their church had gotten but agreed that it was in fact a gift from above.
“Everything comes from God, everything is a blessing however we received it, and it’s a blessing I’m not telling anybody to go out and gamble but however God gave it to you then receives it as that,” Riggins said. “I haven’t found out yet and I’m not going to ask that question unless it’s given to me as a direct order to figure out where it came from.”
So what do you say? Anonymous gift to the church via gambling method a gift from God to be used or a deeper moral question that needs a more creative response?