Why doesn't God help me win the lottery?

So, if God is all-powerful and knows which numbers will come up in the lottery draw, then why doesn't he tell you which numbers to pick, or miraculously give you the winning ticket? Wouldn't it be loving for God to give tons of money to his followers, especially if it costs him nothing? It might seem that the obvious answer would be "yes". However, if one thinks about it more in depth, it becomes clear that God has several good reasons why he doesn't make all of his followers rich by helping them win the lottery. I will explore some of these possible reasons in this article.

1. God has already given you a gift of infinite worth in Jesus

In fact, God has already done something for you which is even better than winning the lottery! God gave us the gift of his son Jesus, who came to die on the cross for our sins. Now, if you believe in Jesus, all the penalty of sin that you deserve was placed on Jesus, and he paid for it all. 2 Corinthians 8:8-10 says that Jesus gave up his riches, so that we could become rich. This means Jesus temporarily gave up his position in heaven and came to live and die on earth for us, so that we can have eternal life. Now just by believing in Jesus, you can have eternal life forever, in a new immortal body (1 Cor. 15:42-55), in the New Jerusalem where every tear will be wiped away (Rev 21:4), on a restored Earth which will be beyond compare with our present suffering (Rom. 8:18). There is no amount of money which can buy this, and nothing we can do to ever earn this - it can be received only in faith by placing our trust in Jesus. Therefore, this gift is truly priceless, yet it is also free to anyone who accepts!

How could winning the lottery and being able to enjoy it for a few decades (at most) possibly compare with this gift? Our life here is fragile and could end at any time, and even if you are rich or win the lottery there is no guarantee you will live long enough to enjoy it. Placing your hope in the lottery to make you happy would be as foolish as the man who has a large crop, builds large barns, and then sits back to relax and enjoy life, not knowing he will die tomorrow and others will enjoy everything he has acquired (Luke 12:13-21). Even if you win the lottery and live a life of luxury for many decades, one day you will die, and if you die without accepting Jesus then you will spend an eternity separated from him in hell. Even the brief time you enjoyed wealth here will be meaningless when faced with an eternity of suffering - just as in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-30).

So therefore, why not accept the priceless gift of Jesus, and trust that your future is secure and will be more amazing than ever winning the lottery could be?

2. Winning the lottery may lead to more problems

What if God knows that winning the lottery would actually make you miserable? As pointed out in this article [1], winning the lottery can ruin your life. Marriages fall apart, luxury mansions are destroyed by fire, winners are sued by ex-girlfriends, family members harass winners for money, and one winner was even killed by her husband for spending the money in a way he didn't approve of! Other winners waste their money on drugs, prostitutes, parties, and gambling. Some winners end up making very poor financial choices which put them back in the same situations they were in before winning.

Even if one does win and is responsible, there are potential problems. It might increase tension among family members or friends who think you should help them out, and thus ruin previously good relationships. If you buy an expensive house or car, then it requires expensive insurance and security systems, and it may lead to worrying about your things being stolen or destroyed. Having lots of money invested in the stock market can lead to stress if there is an economic downturn and the money is lost. Even figuring out how to invest the money wisely leads to a huge amount of choices that must be looked at, and once it is invested you might worry about if your investments are safe and performing well or not, and requires expensive financial advisors and accountants. One starts to care more about protecting what they have than if they did not have so much money or as fancy of possessions. So maybe God wants to spare you from having to face these potential problems and this is why God doesn't help you win the lottery.

3. Winning the lottery might lead to increased temptation to sin

Christians need to be wary of desiring money. Paul writes "People who want to be rich fall into all sorts of temptations and traps. They are caught by foolish and harmful desires that drag them down and destroy them. The love of money causes all kinds of trouble. Some people want money so much that they have given up their faith and caused themselves a lot of pain."(1 Timothy 6:9-10). Jesus warns that some people who hear the gospel might fall away when they become distracted with pursuing riches (Mark 4:19, Luke 8:14).

From a Christian perspective, is winning the lottery worth the temptations that come along with it? If one is tempted by gambling, having tons of excess money might only increase the urge to gamble and lose it all. If one is drawn to drugs, having the money to afford them could turn into a serious addiction. In less extreme examples, having tons of money might lead to becoming overtaken with materialistic desires and the obligations that come along with maintaining these things. It would be easy to become wrapped up in what sort of house, furniture, cars, and clothes that you have instead of working on being generous, serving others, developing Christian character, and pursing a deeper relationship with God. Would your attachment to material things or financial security lead you to trust them instead of God for your happiness and future needs? Would you become so attached to things that you could not leave them if God asked you to do so? Remember the man in Matthew 19:16-23 who was rich and wanted to follow Jesus, but he was too attached to his money and could not give it up even for Jesus. Would your identity and self-worth become based on what material things you have or how much money you have instead of on your identity as a child of God? Would it make you complacent in your relationship with God, believing you can handle anything that happens with your money and so you don't need God anymore? So maybe it's better that God doesn't help you win the lottery, as it might draw you away from God or lead to increased temptation to sin.

4. God never promised that Christians will be rich

Some might say that if God truly loved them, then he would make them rich by helping them win the lottery, as this would be a "loving" thing to do. It seems that the mistaken idea that religion should make people rich was around even as far back as the early church. Paul says "These people think religion is supposed to make you rich. And religion does make your life rich, by making you content with what you have. We didn't bring anything into this world, and we won't take anything with us when we leave. So we should be satisfied just to have food and clothes."(1 Timothy 6:5-10, CEV). I believe the ultimate reason why God does not help you win the lottery is because it does not matter to God. God never promised his followers that we would be rich in this life, or that we would have no financial problems. He only promised that he would take care of us and provide for our basic needs (Matthew 6:31-33).

In general, God will not allow his children to starve or be financially destitute (Proverbs 10:3), and so I believe God will provide for our basic needs. This might be done by God giving you the ability to work and earn money, by giving you a job, by providing for you through others' charity or through government programs. Everything we have is from God (Deut. 8:17-18), and so we should thank him that we have a place to live, food to eat, clothes to wear, and a job to pay for everything we need. Try to be grateful for what you have been given and appreciate the good things in your life now, instead of being envious of what others have, which will make you bitter.

Even rich people are never satisfied with what they have and always want more (Ecclesiastes 5:10). In fact, it has been shown that while some money can make people happier as it lets them not worry about how to pay for basic necessities or emergencies, there comes a point where having more money does not increase their happiness. This point is lower than you might think - only $75,000/year![2]. The rich people quoted in the article say that:

  • eventually they take their wealth for granted, so it no longer brings happiness
  • having money doesn't change them into better people
  • they are still searching to find meaning and purpose in life
  • the long work hours lead to stress
  • having money only makes them want more
  • when they die they do not care about their money

So it seems money is not the solution to ultimate happiness that everyone thinks it is. Instead, another study here [3] suggests that several other things lead to more happiness. These include:

  • having quality relationships with family and friends
  • investing in experiences rather than material possessions
  • appreciating what you have and not comparing with others
  • giving something up temporarily makes you appreciate it more
  • donating money or things to charity
  • having less money but more free time
  • getting out of debt

Having good health is also something that should be enjoyed while you have it and not be taken for granted.

Therefore, perhaps the best advice is "Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have" (Hebrews 13:5, CEV). Be grateful for God's blessings and provision for your needs, and praise him if you are able to afford a few nice things, and enjoy them. Also try to be responsible with what financial resources God has given you, and also be generous to others. Remember Paul's advice: "Warn the rich people of this world not to be proud or to trust in wealth that is easily lost. Tell them to have faith in God, who is rich and blesses us with everything we need to enjoy life. Instruct them to do as many good deeds as they can and to help everyone. Remind the rich to be generous and share what they have. This will lay a solid foundation for the future, so that they will know what true life is like."(1 Timothy 6:17-19, CEV).

5. Heavenly rewards are better than earthly treasures

Even though I admit I am drawn to large houses, nice furniture, and fancy clothes, and often dream about how many nice things winning the lottery could buy, I am actually somewhat glad I do not have them. If the Rapture happens, I do not want to have anything here that I regret leaving behind. I do not want to be more attached to anything in this world than to God. Instead of being absolutely thrilled to finally see my saviour face to face, would I be thinking about my fancy house and cars and clothes that I left behind? That would be awful! I would rather want to be able to say "good riddance" to everything I own and not even give it another thought. While nice things would be enjoyable now, ultimately our time on earth is temporary, and so I would rather live simply, lightly, and responsibly here while looking forward to eternal life in heaven. A simpler life is also generally less stressful, cheaper, and better for the environment.

After all, heaven is going to be better than anyone has ever imagined (1 Corinthians 2:9)! We are promised a place to live in heaven (John 14:2), and it will be better than any mansion that any architect has ever built on earth. The New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:11-24) will be a glorious city which God has personally designed (Hebrews 11:10) where we will live in the very presence of God! If some buildings designed by humans now are so beautiful, how much more beautiful will an entire city that is designed by God be? Remember, even the most beautiful homes here on earth are limited by financial constraints, material availability, and human know-how, but God does not have any of these limits.

Also, on earth all things are subject to decay, destruction, or being stolen, which is why Jesus says "Don't store up treasures on earth! Moths and rust can destroy them, and thieves can break in and steal them. Instead, store up your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy them, and thieves cannot break in and steal them" (Matthew 6:19-20, CEV). If I spend my time and abilities serving God, using the resources I have been given wisely, and developing the sort of character that makes me a good servant, then God will reward that in heaven (Matthew 25:14-30). It is better to spend my time serving God and possibly earning heavenly rewards (1 Corinthians 3:10-15) which will last forever, will never get broken or wear out, will never get stolen or destroyed, and which will be better than anything I can buy in this life.

While looking forward to having beautiful things in heaven might appear to be merely "delayed materialism", and some Christians might think it is horribly unspiritual, I disagree. God would not have told us about heavenly rewards, dwelling places, and cities if he did not want us to look forward to them. While one major benefit of heaven will be being with God forever and seeing his beauty and glory, this is not the only good thing in heaven. It actually honours God to look forward to the things he has promised us. Imagine a parent who wishes to bless their kid with all sorts of wonderful things that they know the kid will enjoy. If the kid says "No, I actually don't care about any of that, I only want to spend time with you", it might at first appear to be quite noble and loving, but it would also be an insult to reject the things the parent wanted to give the kid as an expression of their love. As long as we see God as the most important person to us and love him more than anything else, it does not mean that we cannot enjoy secondary blessings of God in heaven if God is the one who desires to give them to us for our enjoyment. It is better to appreciate something and thank God for it and enjoy it to its full potential than to turn it down and scoff at it out of fear of being "materialistic" or "unspiritual". So I believe it is perfectly fine to look forward to having beautiful homes, clothes, and other material benefits in heaven. It helps put this world in perspective and helps us realize that we don't have to spend time trying to achieve these material things in this world. It frees us to serve God to our full potential rather than wasting time, effort, and money trying to achieve these luxuries now, trusting that we will have something even better in heaven.


Therefore, there are at least 5 solid reasons why God does not help you win the lottery. First, it is unnecessary, since God has given you an even greater gift than winning the lottery: eternal life, which is free simply through trusting in Jesus as your saviour. Second, there is evidence that winning the lottery might just make your life far more complicated and unpleasant than you might expect. Third, having a ton of money might tempt you to spend it in sinful ways, or might tempt you to think you don't need God, and you might become obsessed with material things that lead you away from God. Fourth, what Christians have been promised in heaven is far better than anything that any amount of money can buy while here on earth, and it will never be stolen, be destroyed, or decay. So it's much better to put off your desires for these things and hope for them in heaven, and spend your time on earth doing good which will earn these heavenly rewards.

So hopefully this article has helped you see that God does indeed love you, even though he doesn't help you win the lottery. Instead, ask God to help you be more satisfied with what you have right now, to be responsible with the things he has blessed you with, to be grateful for all that he has given you, and to help you do good works to earn rewards to enjoy in heaven. And if you haven't accepted God's priceless gift offered through Jesus, that is the first step, so you might want to check out this article which can help you learn more about what following Jesus means.


[1] Business Insider: "19 Lottery Winners Who Blew It All" by Mandi Woodruff and Michael B. Kelley
[2] Business Insider: "Rich People Talk About How Happy Money Makes Them - What They Say Will Both Offend And Reassure You", by Nicholas Carson
[3] The Wall Street Journal: "Can Money Buy You Happiness?" by Andrew Blackman