I threw this question out in 2008 but there is now a stadium’s worth of new readers here on a regular basis, so I’m hoping for a better response.
The Mega Millions Lottery on the weekend drew a lot of attention to lotteries in general, with people interviewed prior to Friday night’s draw — which yielded three winning tickets — proclaiming the prize was simply too big and would necessitate some sharing or charitable giving. But if the charity in question was your local church or Christian parachurch organization, would the money be accepted? Should the money be accepted?
In the 2008 item, I quoted this story from that summer about a church which received a winning ticket anonymously and was set to receive $150,000 annually for 20 years. The church’s immediate desire was to build a bigger church building. Sigh! But a little over three years later, their website shows the new building, and announces they are holding four Sunday services.
BTW, I also wrote on this topic in May of 2009. At that point, I argued, as I still do, that there should be cap on lottery winnings. Friday night’s $640,000,000 could just as easily been 2,000 prizes of $320,000; 4,000 prizes of $160,000 or even 8,000 prizes of $80,000. To this writer, saying “There will be 8,000 prizes” has more attraction than saying, “There will only be one number drawn, and the odds are better of being struck by lightning than winning.” But lottery experts say the gigantic prize is the big lure. Sorry, but people are stupid.
But we’ve gotten waaaaay off topic here. If someone in your church won a lottery prize and wanted to donate some winnings to your church, should the church accept? What about someone in the community at large who wants to share some of their winnings with the church? What are your reasons/grounds for accepting or refusing?