As March approaches, my thoughts turn toward pots of gold at the end of rainbows and the luck of the Irish. But, is the secular concept of luck at all biblical? I am specifically speaking of the dictionary definition of luck: “success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions.”
God is in control
My own discernment is that this idea of ‘Lady Luck,’ based on randomness or chance, is not supported in Christ’s teachings. Instead, I do see the concept that God has a divine plan. He knows the future. He sometimes reveals the future to mortal prophets. But, he always has a hand in our destiny – whether or not we are aware. That’s not “chance.”
Casting lots is biblical
Our Moravian forebearers cast lots to make important decisions. We know this practice is biblical, since there are 88 examples in the Old Testament and 7 in the New Testament. This was not akin to flipping a coin. It was a prayerful act of faith that asked God to reveal his will. It was a willingness to collectively submit to God’s will, and an admission that we do not always understand. Moravians continue to invite God to reveal his special messages to us when we draw watchwords on New Year’s Eve and when we read our Daily Texts (drawn from the crystal and silver bowl in Herrnhut three years in advance).
God’s will in both gains and losses
So, what about “playing the stock market?” The secular world may view this as a game of chance. Or, the world may believe that financial rewards come through one’s own skill. Yet, Jeremiah 9:23-24 reminds us not to take personal pride in our wealth because it is God who blesses (Deuteronomy 8:18; Job 22:21). On the other hand, some fundamentalist Christians feel that investment is a form of gambling and is, therefore, wrong.
Thankfully, we have the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30) to show us that stewardship does involve investment, courage, and faith. It is not a game of chance. Neither our own skill nor the randomness of the universe controls the outcome – but rather God’s will. For this reason, we are not fearful. We invest in boldness and prayerful faith that God’s will be done in both the gains and the losses. Moravians invest collectively through the Common Fund, submitting to God’s will – just as our forebearers did as they made important decisions by casting the lot.