Should You Tithe On Lottery Winnings?

Believe it or not, there are Christians who play the lottery and some who have even won large jackpots, in the millions of dollars.  The question I have is this: should Christians tithe on lottery winnings?  Even more specifically, should churches accept tithe from lottery winnings?

First…What Does The Bible Say About Gambling?

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While the Bible doesn’t go into specifics about gambling or playing lotteries, it does teach us a great deal about how we should manage our money.  Calling gambling a sin may not be the best definition of the term – but gambling certainly can lead people to sinful thoughts and actions.

The Bible does, however, provide several verses that we can use to help us determine if gambling is a wise financial decision.

Love of Money 1 Timothy 6:10 – “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.  And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.”

Unsatisfying MasterEcclesiastes 5:10 “Those who love money will never have enough.  How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness!”

Get Rich QuickProverbs 13:11 “Wealth from get rich quick schemes quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows over time.”

I can’t think of a better example for a get rich quick attempt than to play the lottery.  If we want to be wise with our money, why not follow the teachings we find in the Proverbs?  It’s no wonder that a high percentage of lottery winners go bankrupt within the first few years of winning millions.

Proverbs 28:22 “Greedy people try to get rich quick but don’t realize they’re headed for poverty.”

Is It OK To Tithe From Lottery Winnings?

If you happen to win the lottery and want to tithe or give from your winnings, I personally don’t see anything wrong with it.  There are a lot of organizations, including non-profits, churches, and private charities that could use the support.

Having said that, I don’t think that playing the lottery is wise, nor do I feel that it is an activity that reflects good stewardship.  If you actively play the lottery in hopes to win, my advice is to review the verses above and to be aware of the dangers this addicting, financially irresponsible activity can bring on you and your family.

How to Give From Lottery Winnings

Giving to a Church
The best practice for giving to a church is to let the pastor or church board know what you’re doing.  If they don’t have an issue with it, work with them to see how the giving would be best suited (one time gift or over time, etc).

Giving to Organizations
Some charitable organizations may have reservations about accepting lottery money and a respectful approach would be to ask their stance on lottery winnings as gifts.

Outright Giving
Giving directly to those in financial need can be a rewarding way to use lottery winnings.  This approach should be taken with caution because you might have a few uninvited requests for funds if people know you’ve won the lottery.

So what do you think? Should You Tithe From Lottery Winnings?  And…Should Churches Accept Tithes and Offerings From These Winnings?

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Last Edited: 11th February 2014

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  1. says

    Interesting. I’ve never really considered that churches might care where the money is coming from. But I do think if you do gamble you should tithe your winnings.

  2. BD says

    Geez, why is this even a question? God blesses you with a TON of money, millions of it even, and one has to ASK if they should tithe from it? Yeesh. Duh. Not only tithe (ie, 10%), but give a very *large* portion of it away to charities, and needy people. There are tons of needy people out there, and you have to look no further than the church itself. So many Christians in the church who can’t even pay the most basic of bills, such as ‘a place to live’ and ‘electricity’ and ‘food to eat’. A Christian winning the lottery could totally help out their brothers and sisters. I know I would if I ever won any large sum of money. (Not that I play the lottery really, I don’t even live in a state that has one).

    • Lisa says

      and considering most “churches” won’t even help those in need or even the ones that are tithing in the church cannot get help from their “brothers and sisters” in Christ, I wish I could get a large sum of money. The one thing I want to do is help all of the foolish Christian Housewives such as myself who trusted their husband in “everything” only to be dumped , divorced and left destitute yet cannot get any help since I don’t have minor children. Yes I would help those who followed scripture and ended up in a hole such as me. I would help those who have lost their jobs, like me and have to fill out a list eight pages long for a 50 electric bill, I would supply food to those that pay taxes to a government that will not give any assistance when you are down and out. Yep I WISH I could hit. I have been in a pit and would love to pull others out

  3. says

    I live in Texas, and when Texas first instituted its lottery (1990?) I played occasionally and never really thought much about it . . . until I had ideas for ministries I wanted to start in my local community. Then the thought occurred to me that playing the lottery might be a way God could provide the funding I needed, because He controls ‘chance,’ right? I contemplated and reflected on this matter for some months (one of my forms of private prayer), and eventually had a dream which I understood as being God’s commentary on the idea.

    In the dream, I want to go to a restricted floor in a downtown office building to do some work but do not know the security code to access that floor — so I pick a random set of numbers (like the numbers on a lottery ticket) to enter on the keypad, and MUCH TO MY SURPRISE the set of random numbers works! Except the elevator takes me to a restricted floor which is different than the one I was trying to reach, so in the end I did not accomplish my mission AND I could have actually gotten into legal trouble for being on an unauthorized floor.

    In other words, even if I were to win the lottery I would not be taken to the place I sought to go on God’s behalf and, indeed, could actually end up getting myself into trouble instead. So, disappointed (but realizing I had received divine direction) I quit playing the lottery (and never found funding for my ministry ideas, so they were obviously ‘my’ plans and not God’s!).

    That was 20 years ago when I was young, naive, knew little-to-nothing about gambling or lotteries, and assumed it was all morally-neutral activity. I have since learned that it is not, by any means. [I mean, there is a reason Las Vegas is called 'Sin City' after all!] I am now convicted that anyone who loves God above all things and genuinely walks in relationship with Him will either (1) be led by Him to refrain from gambling in all its forms (which includes over-reliance on insurance, since insurance is based on gambling principles) or (2) will certainly NOT WIN a significant sum on a lottery ticket.

    Along these lines, someone who wins big in the lottery is NOT winning through any divine intervention by God, I am positive. Every study I’ve read says that almost across the board lottery winners conclude that winning the lottery was a destructive event in their lives, and they regret the win. As much as people do not want to accept this, the reality is that sudden, unearned affluence changes people, and not for the better. If God were to cause you to win the lottery, He would be cursing you, not blessing you . . . and God no longer curses people. So the reality is that God simply stays out of it: lotteries are worldly systems created by men to accomplish worldly objectives, and gambling is NOT a ‘Kingdom activity.’

    To those who believe that God would, in fact, “bless” you with a large influx of money in answer to prayer, I have this to say: prayer is self-reflection before God with the goal, over time, of the ‘inner man’ being conformed into Christ’s holy image by the work of the Holy Spirit. I.e., God wants to make us holy so that we are fit to live in His Kingdom (and do His will) . . . and that’s pretty much it. Telling God what you want Him to do for you, or suggesting how you desire to be “blessed,” is not prayer: God is not Santa Claus, and in His eyes, money is not a blessing. It is a thing of Caesar’s which was created by Caesar and belongs to Caesar; when God chooses to bless someone, it is with things created by God which belong to God (like love, health, sanity, knowledge, courage, strength of character, humility, endurance, meekness, compassion).

    • SKL says

      Hi, i just read your response and feel it is one of the best responses i’ve ever read. Not only to this question, but many others i’ve considered over the past few weeks. Thanks for sharing.

    • Sarah says

      That was an amazing response. Thank you for sharing your heart and incredible wisdom on this topic. You blessed everyone who read it with God’s truth. Thank you!

    • Leonard says

      This is a thoughtful reply to this matter. It has pronouncements that sound authoritative. However, it does not accord entirely with the Bible. God sees our paths, as the Psalmist declares, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and He knows our choices. Now the fellow who wrote the original post has several good Scriptures quoted, that speak to this department of our lives, namely material goods.

      There are Christians who have gotten winnings, sometimes large ones. I knew one young lady who went to Las Vegas, which distinctly does not appeal to me. She won 200+$$, and she told me that she tithed it. I think she gave it to the 700 club. I was struck by the fact that she told me that she did this. Gambling, especially in that sort of casino, seems somehow dirty or touched by sin. In Wisconsin the Indian tribes, especially the Ojibway tribe, has casinos. I have heard of nor know of no mob influence, the proceeds go to the tribe, and some to the state. I don’t go to these, except perhaps to eat. I have never fiddled with one of these machines.

      The lottery is another matter, it is benefits the state, and the US Treasury, which is certainly the world’s largest debtor.

      I do buy a ticket at times, I don’t want to buy a bunch of them. This is done from financial need. I pay my bills, often by installment, and I am needy, being in a small business. Small businesses struggle.

      I reckon it is a church’s matter whether they accept tithes or offerings from lotteries.

      Oral Roberts was bailed out by that one dog track owner, to pay off the remaining 2+ million $ that he owed. Now I may not understand all about this, and it made a peculiar tale, Roberts being up in his prayer tower. However, from folks who went there to school, they said that Mr. Roberts made it possible for many medical students to get a medical education, without much cost, certainly not with medical tuition, anyway, and this enabled many medical missionaries to go out into the world. I cannot see this as a bad or wicked thing.

      On balance, if people are able, by the grace of God, to pay the largest debtor nation in the world, to render to Caesar his due, and to tithe and or give to God’s works, and to help others a significant chunk, I do not see why anyone should object.

      The help of others is part of what love is. When you give food or clothing or shoes or $$ to someone who needs it, they are happy with relief for their need being met.

      Now, one thing that likely is very true, and that is that money can be a snare. And the expectations of other people toward someone who has won money could be a large pain in the hindy. That could be a big pain.

      The last note that this person left, about God’s fruit of the Spirit, the graces, those are certainly blessings from God.

      One of the things that registers as not entirely correct in this poster’s note is that God is the giver of wealth, as in Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. This is wealth that was gained by the labour and sweat of one’s brow, although for the patriarchs, often this was other people’s hard work too, not just their own. God did not despise this, it was viewed as God’s blessing, blessings of the field, of produce, and blessings of the flock.

      Well, anyway, this person had a thoughtful post.

      May God have mercy upon us and provide for our needs, which so often press upon us.

  4. JohnB says

    I do play the lottery every now and then. When I do, I only buy 1 ticket, $1. If the LORD has decided I’ll win something, I only need 1 ticket. I don’t play every week, just every so often. I like the verse “The dice are thrown, but the LORD determines every outcome.”
    Proverbs 16:33

  5. sandymonet says

    I really enjoyed and feel blessed with your in-depth answer to the question of gambling. I am afraid to play for the most part as I believe that God will feel I am not satisfied with him taking care of all my needs and since all come from him, he could decide that since I am not satisfied with him, he will just stop providing me with anything at all. Then I truly would be in bigger trouble than just spending $1 on the lottery.
    Should a Christian win the lottery…….they should give 1/2 away but ensure by giving they are not hurting at the same time. Sometimes you can throw money on a person or situation and make it worse off than it was before you came along with your “gift”.
    HOPING YOU ALL HAVE MORE THAN ENOUGH ALWAYS!

  6. Steven Smiley says

    I have pondered this question for some time now,before I was saved I played the lottery quite often,I will admit,I still pick up a few tickets from time to time.I had a set of numbers I turned in each week and I never won anything so I did quick pick and did a little better,low and behold those numbers came up a few months after I quit turning my own numbers in,it was for 3 million,but at the time we were going to Reno&Las Vegas pretty regularly and I was used to playing and loosing (and winning) quite a bit.After becoming Born Again Christians,we very rarely went to casinos (maybe to the buffet),but like I said,I do pick up a ticket now and then.Because I am excellent with money matters and can get the most out of a buck,it was easy for me to accept the treasurer job at our church,so in discussing this very topic with my Pastor,he said he would accept the money.Our church is really struggling and we need a lot of repairs and such,also we have another church not far away of our same denomination that is worse off then us.Even if I tithed the minimum of 10% of a standard one million dollar lottery,it would help both churches so much,problem being,what would the LORD think of my actions? I do know HE is capable of granting anything to anybody,just if this falls into that category,I don’t know.

  7. Bo says

    i get sick and tired of people putting limits on the almighty and distort the scriptures
    what if your poor ? no job ?, bad economy and only have a couple bucks to your name. yeah play the lottery, its better then robbing a bank, it says the root of all evil is money, thats if you use it for evil. there is a big difference when it comes to in need or in greed,you cannot live remotely surviving without money, and the bible puts much emphasis on it, 10% of all your earnings goes to him, in doing so your barns will be overfilling. there is something else to consider, you dont know what the person has been going through in his/her life, so dont be so quick to judge and apply doctrines, could you could be mishandling that and cause said person more harm then good. like in the opening of your site ,god is not santa claus, yeah you are right, he is a myth,god is way more then that, and based on scripture if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can move mountains, be careful in the future on how loosely you display god, you hear me?

  8. kingdomScience says

    If we take all the money we use to play lottery tickets and tithe it — we will reap far more than losing it in lottery playing uncertainty. This is guaranteed because God’s plan of Reaping in Sowing is No Joke but is Mathematical Certainty.
    Makes More sense and wise –right? Yes

  9. B says

    I like the advice in this article. Gambling is a huge waste of money, but it still doesn’t come off as sinful as long as it doesn’t become an addiction or lead to greed, etc. Anything can be a sin it if taken too far. I think this is another thing Christians will debate about. Like Christmas and the Trinity.

  10. Susan says

    a young lady just won the lottery in my state! I was happy she won because it was in my state and I’m sure she and her family needed the money! I am a single mother of two children with autism/ADHD! I Have probably have learning issues that prevented me from being successful & making a lot of money!
    I believe in GOD/Jesus/ Holy Ghost!
    I play the lottery! I don’t think I love money. if I loved money, I would keep my money and not play the lottery! I would not rob people. I know I robbed GOD by playing the lottery. This is probably why I’m in so much debt! If some one wins the lottery Christian or not! I feel they should help the poor or give it to tithes and offering but they didn’t work for it!
    I will one day stop playing the Mega, Power Ball and Poker lotto!
    I will be praying for my self and others to stop!

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