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19/11/2012

A spiritual comment and prayer to begin the day with the Revd Dr Martyn Atkins, General Secretary of the Methodist Church.

2 minutes

Last on

Mon 19 Nov 2012 05:43
BBC Radio 4 FM only

Prayer for the Day

Good morning. Personally, I’m not one for buying lottery tickets. Perhaps it’s because my wider family has had its fair share of problems with gambling down the years. So I know I’ll never win the National Lottery, which began this day in 1994, whatever the odds!<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

Lotteries do give millions of pounds away of course. A while ago I went to a meeting where a winsome speaker informed us of the multiple millions that had been given to undoubtedly good causes. And I’m deeply aware that many Churches have successfully bid for money raised through lotteries in order to do some stunningly good work in localities around the country. One minister said to me recently that he’d prefer it wasn’t money sourced from gambling, ‘but if money’s there, we’ll take it and use it for good.’ Holy pragmatism or a Christian lack of integrity – discuss.

Someone I know who works for a big charity is clear in his opinion that alongside the affects of recession, large amounts of money previously given directly to such charities is now spent on tickets for various lotteries.

What is clear whether it be a large lottery for many millions of pounds or a church tombola for a packet of pasta is that we stand to get something rather than nothing. We are not, in the deliberately jumbled words of the great prayer of St Ignatius, ‘giving and not seeking any reward’

The scriptures are quite clear about giving generously to the poor and needy, but also clear about the motives for giving: the gift benefits others; the motive benefits the giver.

Generous God, who urges us to love mercy and act justly, to give as we have received, to do good and love our neighbour, guide our giving and our motives as we live out our lives today. Amen.

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