Monday, August 18, 2008

Would you accept lottery tithes?

After Robert Powell hit the Florida Lottery jackpot last month and took home more than $6 million, he thought of his church. And he offered to drop his tithe, around $600,000, in the collection plate of First Baptist Church in Orange Park.

But the church and Pastor David Tarkington politely declined and told Powell they will not accept the lottery winnings. Pastor David Tarkington would not say exactly why the church refused the money, saying only he "didn't want to talk about members' gifts."

What would you do? (Click "comments" below.)

1 comment:

Karl Laws said...

Never let it be said that I avoid discussing the controversial. This is an issue that I have wrestled with for years. Is gambling, in and of itself, wrong? I have been so taught all my life but I have also seen a lot of hypocrisy on the subject. I have watched churches condemn the lottery and then turn right around and sell chances for all sorts of things. Really, how do we justify condemning the purchasing of a lottery ticket but find it easy to raffle something and legitimize the difference by calling the chance a donation?

To be honest, I have yet to find a scripture that directly addresses gambling. I have heard some say that to want the lottery jackpot is coveting; I have heard others say that it is poor stewardship to spend even one dollar on a lottery ticket, thus gambling is addressed indirectly. But let me tell you, I may want a new truck, but that does not mean I covet a new truck. I am not overcome with the thought of having a new truck nor does the idea of getting a truck displace God in my life, thus I am not coveting. As for it being a matter of poor stewardship, if the above logic is true and it is poor stewardship to buy one lottery ticket, then what about going to the movies and watching the endless supply of pathetic movies we have come to call entertainment? Is that not poor stewardship too?

I may be wrong and the Bible may clearly teach that gambling of any kind is wrong. I certainly will admit I have much to learn about the word. But I refuse to be held prisoner and not raise questions such as these. I refuse to be a Kool-Aid drinker like the folks who followed Jim Jones to their deaths were. I have questions. I do not suggest I have the answers but I certainly will not just sit idly by and let others tell me it is so. I need to see it in the word and when I do not see what others have told me is in there I will ask questions. One of the greatest gifts God has given us is the ability to reason; to ask questions…to think for ourselves. I don’t exercise my mind enough and it is time to do something about it!