One canker that is gradually affecting the church and our society as a whole is Sports Betting among the contemporary youth. The appetite to get “quick-money” is what is driving them to indulge in this practice.
Paul cautioned Timothy about the love of money in 1 Timothy 6:10: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains”.
In an impoverished society like ours, the desire of some youth to obtain much wealth within a short space of time is a worrying trend which must not be ignored.
As at my last count, there were about 10 Sports Betting companies in the country. These companies run both online betting (including Mobile Betting) and betting centres. The rapid spread of these betting companies across the length and breadth of the country is very alarming, to say the least. Looking at how quickly they are spreading across the country, one can only assume that they are making huge profits and enjoying great patronage. This is why I believe the Church (the Body of Christ) must speak up against this menace, which is gradually affecting many Christian youths in the country.
As a Youth Leader of my Church, I have encountered many youth members who are involved in online Sports Betting. One of them even confessed to using his school fees to engage in the practice. During my interactions with some of them, I realized that most of them do not see anything wrong with betting and only regard it as an avenue for making money. As a result, the question they usually asked me was: Is betting a sin? Well, my answer was and will always be YES! And this is why…
Sports Betting is a form of gambling. It is one of the ‘get-rich-quick” ways of making money which is fueled by the love of money. It is a fraudulent means of obtaining wealth which one has not laboured for. It involves taking the monies of others for no service rendered to them but simply by “good fortune”. This is fraudulent and totally frowned upon by God. The Bible rather entreats us to make money through labour and not through dishonest or fraudulent means. Proverbs 13:11 clearly states that: “Wealth obtained by fraud will dwindle, but whoever earns it through labour will multiply it.”
Sports Betting has caused some young people to stray from the Christian faith. These young men and women who indulge in Sports Betting invest their monies into it with the hope of earning much more in return. Over time, they begin to develop much passion for it and become very attached/addicted to it, so much that they are even willing to boycott church service or activities just to catch a bet.
With the above observations in mind, I have no doubt that Sports Betting is one of the modern-day snares of the devil to lure people, particularly the youth, from the Kingdom of God. Saint Augustine once said ‘the devil invented gambling”. This is very true. Anyone involved in Sports Betting is surely doing the bidding of the devil.
Also, Sports Betting is sinful because it is a wasteful use of the money the Lord has blessed us with. As Christians, whatever we have belongs to God, and so are our resources. In other words, engaging in betting is simply using God’s money to do the devil’s bidding. Greed is the motivating factor in Sports Betting. The desire to get rich quickly is a demonstration of covetousness, materialism, laziness, seeking gain from others and discontentment on the part of the individual engaged in the practice.
I am certain that if Jesus Christ were to be here in our day and age He would not have engaged in Sports Betting. This is because although Jesus lived all His life as a youth, He was only interested in doing the will of God. He spent all His life preaching about the Kingdom and repentance, healing the sick, raising the dead etc. Certainly, a man like Jesus Christ will not engage in an activity that robs many of their resources to benefit a few. For this reason, as disciples of Jesus Christ, we must not indulge in Sports Betting or betting of any form or kind.
By: Haison Kwesi Mensah