(YES, I want to hear from you Wall Watchers).
It was a question that ironically I read from time-to-time at a cyberdome called, “Jesus the Radical Pastor”, a couple of days ago. My comment was:
OK, we could go ’round and ’round theologically about the wiles of gambling and how they abstain man from using his faith in times of financial stress.
That said, if some saint won the lottery and decided to tithe to his or her local church, God couldn’t use that money to build a life center, send kids to a mission field or pay a light bill? I would say with gritted teeth, the answer is yes.
Should Christians gamble? Probably not. DO they gamble? You bet… er, I mean, sure they do. So, imagine my amusement when I fell upon this lovely story about First Baptist Church in Orange Park (Florida) and their bold decision to not take the ubiquitous, “You know, if I won the lotto, I would tithe first” donation.
One of its faithful, Robert Powell, had his number hit and he scored $6 meeeeelllliooonnnn dollars (Can’t you see Dr. Evil there with pinky erect and mouth tweaking?) Church, each of you have a friend that have said it, but who would really do it? This cat did… and was given the Heisman:
And he offered to drop his tithe, around $600,000, in the collection plate of First Baptist Orange Park. But the church and Pastor David Tarkington politely declined and told Powell they will not accept the lottery winnings.
WOW! Again, theologians could hold a classic apologist debate on the dogmatic ethics of gambling and how it negatively affects one’s faith. However, give a pastor of a 300-member church that kind of scratch and let’s see if he doesn’t itch!
Now, this is not advocating what gambling does to some of those poor souls who cash in a child’s future for a horse named after his mama. I’m talking the average dude, paying another $119 for gas and grabs some chips, gum, and… oh yeah, hand me the Quick 6.
What happens when that guy wins the lotto, cuts that three-foot by one-foot ceremonial check for the church and wants to see the pastor send the entire youth group to Africa for a missions trip. Most have no clue WWJD, so I ask you, “W-W-Y-D”?