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As Bacchus cast the die, he watched with hope and anticipation. Will he win the eight denarii wagered or will he lose? As the die begins to fall, he remembers the day of his first win. His heart sinks as he realizes the dice have not favored him lately lost, lost, a week's wages slowly he wanders home shivering in the cold more than a little hungry. "I will make up the loss, one way or another!" he convinces himself. So it has been with mankind. The temptation always exists to live by chance and one's wits.

In our day, gambling has taken on a new image, one of quick, easy, convenience. As we pay for gas at the station, we realize to what extent gambling has gripped society. It is packaged in such ways as to portray a fun means for ordinary citizens to become high rollers in a way where no one will be hurt or taken advantage of. The proceeds from it are touted as a means for senior citizen benefits, government help programs and the suchlike. But the logic defies the fruit, which is produced by all forms of gambling. Truly "there is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death."

Consider the words of Jesus "Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth" (Luke 12:15). Covetousness certainly applies to lusting after the things of others, but at its core, it has a much bigger application; it speaks of greed and the desire for more. If we are to see the dangers of gambling, we must first learn to appreciate the dangers of greed. Isaiah aptly portrayed God's heart on the matter "He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; he shall dwell on high" (Isa 33:15-16a).

In the Scriptures we see God's plan is counter to the desire for easy money. Consider 2 Thessalonians 3:10 "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat." To patiently labor with contentment for ours and the needs of others is a true mark and call of Christianity.

Not only is gambling wrong but in many instances it is also addictive. What begins in a small way develops into a driving need to, as it were, cast the dice one more time even when the grocery money is at stake.

God's antidote is in Matthew 6:20-21: "But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

Of course Bacchus in our story is only fictitious. He lost, yet we realize that as far as gambling is concerned even to win is to lose!

— Elizabethtown, PA