Understanding the Difference Between Gambling and Investing

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Both gambling and investing involve risk, but only investing allows everyone to benefit.

I was recently asked in my article at the Christian Post, “What is your take on ‘investing’ in money market funds? Is this not a different way of gambling which is forbidden by the Bible? “

I have no problems with money market funds or other legitimate means of investing. The real need is to understand the difference between gambling and investing.

The difference between these two is vast but can be confusing, especially for those who don’t regularly engage in either, because there is risk in both. At the heart of it, gambling is based on chance, and all must lose for one to gain.  But investing is based upon knowledge, and all have the opportunity to win. Both involve risk, but only investing allows everyone to benefit.

And investing also provides an opportunity to contribute to a larger good – an enterprise that can benefit many, while games of chance are a pastime that contributes nothing. No product is created and no real investment in the economy necessarily occurs. Gambling does not create a growing enterprise that can provide value; it consumes money in a moment in time and it too often snares the hearts of men and women in an addiction that robs them of their resources.

Proverbs 24:3-4 puts it like this, “By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.”   Random chance is not the source of a life well lived, but rather, wisdom, knowledge and hard work that comes from trusting in God and His principles.

Frenzied efforts to get money, gambling among them, usually do not pay off; anxiety and stress can be a sign that something is wrong. “Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, cease from your consideration of it. When you set your eyes on it, it is gone. For wealth certainly makes itself wings like an eagle that flies toward the heavens” (Proverbs 23:4-5).

 

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