A generic dictionary definition of gamble is: “To take a risk in the hope of gaining and advantage; speculate.” And because we will be making a comparison, we want to define the word steal: “To take without right or permission, generally in a surreptitious way.”
Now, certainly there are all kinds of gambling games, but truly, the heart of all gambling games is the same. The heart of all gambling, be it bingo, or lotto, or five card draw, or Texas Hold’em, or a raffle, is that someone is trying to get something for nothing and more often than not it is an attempt to get that something from someone who does not want to give it to you, but instead wants to get what you have. Oh, but you agree to losing whatever you have put up, you protest, really? Does agreeing to be robbed make it right? A prostitute agrees to have sex for a price, does that make it right? The reason you agree to lose what you have put up is for the sake of baiting the other person to put up something as well. The fact of the matter is that neither party is in the gamble for a lose. If that were the case, that both parties were in it to lose, then your protest might be one that says, but what about playing for fun? Well, if losing is fine and you want to play for fun, give you money to charity and play with chips. Now, if you still protest, then you have given yourself up, because if the money is not the issue, then you would be fine with chips.
Oh, you continue to protest, what about gambling on the stock market? The fallacy of this questions comes from a misunderstanding of the stock market. The stock market is not a gamble, especially not in the sense of how we have defined the terms, rather the stock market is a buying and selling of goods and services, so it is not a gamble.
Here again we see the heart of humanity, shapen in iniquity and conceived in sin. How often, not simply with the commandment that forbids stealing, but with all the commandments, do we attempt to find some “gray” area, or simply attempt to justify ourselves. The reason we have the commandments is so that we might know our sin and depravity, so that the Gospel, the good news of forgiveness, which is what truly motivates us to repentance, might have its way with us. So, rather than attempt to justify ourselves and our actions, let us confess our sins and be given forgiveness. And no, this explanation in no way is an attempt to give you an out, simply sin, confess and carry on. This explanation is no license to sin, rather this explanation is an attempt encourage you to do what is meet, right and salutary. So, instead of seeking quick wealth, diligently work, invest, return a portion to the Lord who gives all in the first place and the Lord will provide accordingly. As Solomon, by inspiration of the Lord, once said, “Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it” (Proverbs 13;11).