Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32
A nationally syndicated columnist has written, "Gambling inflames the lust for wealth without work."
The normal way to acquire the things we need is to work for them, manually and mentally. The Bible speaks on the subject of honest work. Adam was not to be an idler but was to "rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground" (Genesis 1:28). After his fall into sin, his work became considerably harder. But it was still to be his way of earning daily bread.
People through all ages have tried to acquire wealth in ways other than honestly earning it. Some thieves lived in the city of Ephesus. "Stop it!" Saint Paul is in effect saying. Let the one who steals work, "[do] something useful with his own hands" (Ephesians 4:28). This is important for two reasons: to have the wherewithal for their own support and to have something extra "to share with those in need" (Ephesians 4:28).
Another way that people, past and present, have tried to get their hands on more money is by engaging in games of chance, or gambling. The Roman soldiers under Christ's cross cast lots to determine who would get our Lord's seamless coat. Rolling dice was a common pastime in the Roman army. Julius Caesar, about to cross the Rubicon and march on Rome, declared, "Alea jacta est" ("The die is cast").
What lies at the root of gambling is hardly sportsmanship. It comes much closer to being what the above columnist said it is: sinful covetousness, I-want-it-all, I-don't care-about-the-neighbor lust. Lust lies in the heart, where love ought to be. It is from the sin of lust that Christ redeemed us. In place of lust He has implanted in us love for Him and for one another. What a grand conclusion to this reading: "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you" (Ephesians 4:32).
PRAYER: Thank You, Lord God, for giving me the ability to earn my daily bread with work. And thank You for generous givers who enable the chronically ill to receive their daily bread even though they cannot work. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)