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would you accept it?

October 29, 2008

A buddy of mine showed me this article and asked me this question.  What do you think…

Patchogue, N.Y. (AP) – A New York charity says it has turned down a share of a $3 million lottery jackpot because accepting the money could send a wrong message to gambling addicts.

The Lighthouse Mission, which helps feed 3,000 hungry Long Island residents a week, had been chosen to share an anonymous donor’s jackpot last month. The donor gave the winning ticket to the True North Community Church, which said it would share the money with other charities.

The mission’s pastor, James Ryan, says he appreciates the offer but had to turn it down because his organization counsels against addictions, including gambling. He did not say what the mission’s share of the prize would have been.

So, I’ve got to ask.  If you were the leader of this organization, a church, or a ministry, would you accept the donation?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. October 30, 2008 9:01 am

    OK let me be honest. Yes I would. A friend of mine says he will not take the Hope scholarship because it is funded by the lotery. He does not have kids and has a two income family so it is a little easier for him to say. However, I look at it as a tax that someone has chosen to participate in.

    Is that the same as taking lottery money someone has won, gambled on? Not sure. However, the money can do God’s work. I eat at reteraunts that serve liquor, which we know this too can be an addiction.

    Good news for me is I don’t play the lottery and no one is going to offer me lottery money so I won’t have to be torn. But I do take the Hope scholarhip (for Jordan) and “hope” for more of it to come. 🙂

  2. Lynn permalink
    October 30, 2008 9:25 am

    It would depend on the people I was leading. Do I think that it would be morally wrong to take it? No, in fact I think that’s crazy. Could it be divisive to the point of not being “worth it” to take the money? Yes, and I think that’s worth considering. A lot of Southern, Bible belt people would probably have a problem with it and it could end up being more detrimental than helpful to the goal of the organization.

    But that’s just me.

  3. Matt permalink
    October 30, 2008 9:26 am

    This is a serious question from a young Christian. Nobody’s ever explained to me why Christians think gambling is wrong. Is there something in the Bible about it? I haven’t read anything about it yet, but I haven’t read much.

  4. October 30, 2008 11:04 am

    Since I work for a non-profit, let me say this…

    Free money?!?!?

    However, you have to be careful when accepting donations- what kind of message are you sending to your clients and to the community in which you are located? It takes a huge amount of character to turn that sum down…

  5. brian permalink
    October 30, 2008 12:14 pm

    To Matt:

    The Bible doesn’t explicitly say “do not gamble.” It does however repeatedly say not to be greedy for money. All gambling is, is being greedy for money and trying to gain something without working for it.
    Paul says in 2 Thessalonians 3:10, “if anyone is not willing to work, he is not to eat either.”

  6. October 31, 2008 9:36 am

    Because he involved in a ministry to those dealing with addictions, I think it was wise not to accept money from an institution that heavily feeds addictions. If he were to accept that money, his people could get the message that “hey, if it helps people, then I can keep gambling.” James Ryan put his foot down, took the question out of their hands, and stated with his actions that addictions for “good” reasons are never worth it, no matter how much money is involved. I think he made a good choice.
    If James Ryan worked in another organization, another ministry, etc., this would be a different situation, but because he works with addicts, I believe it falls under instructions regarding eating and drinking in Romans 14. “but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall. ”
    So if we know this is an area our brother struggles, we do need to be more cautious.

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