«Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished, but he who gathers by labor will increase» (Proverbs 13: 11).
I (J) clearly remember a memory of my childhood: the visit of an old man, a family friend who was smiling and friendly as he borrowed money from my mother. After getting it, he very politely said goodbye and promised to give it back. The incident was a hot topic in our family for many days, not only because that money was never recovered but because the visitor’s nephew explained the problem to us. His uncle had fallen into the gambling vice. He had lost everything he had, borrowed everything he could and also lost it all. Unfortunately, it was a long time before for his loved ones discovered it and his financial ruin was very great.
The financial consequences of the addictive behavior of gambling are very adverse, but the non-material damages are even more significant. The ones who play cards, bet on team sports or purchase lottery tickets are at risk of addiction. Every time they gamble, they do it because they are convinced that they would win the next time. As it does not happen to be so, they spend more money, trusting that the next opportunity will be their final lucky break. If they ever win, chances are high that they gamble it again and lose it again. Within this vicious cycle, their thoughts and reason become illogical and irrational. In moments of lucidity, they realize their situation and want to quit betting or gambling but they cannot. They experience stress, guilt, anxiety, unrest, irritability . . . and many have their physical health damaged. Eventually, the effects are not limited to the gambler but also to their families and friends. It is estimated that the gambler’s behavior harms between ten and seventeen other people.
There are those who gamble because they are in need and would like to just have enough, but the Psalmist reminds us that, when we are by God’s side, we will lack nothing (Ps. 23: l). Others gamble out of greed which the Bible condemns in the tenth commandment of the Decalogue (Exod. 20:17). Others gamble to help their families or loved ones, but the reality is that the majority end up doing the very opposite: ruining their family stability.
The Lord is the one who delivers the gifts, not the chance or the mathematical probability. The parable of the talents and interests (Matt. 25:14-30) makes it clear. Reflect on today s Bible verse and think about why riches that are achieved instantly vanish while the money gathered little by little thrives.