Perhaps you are thinking, “To hold a raffle is not that bad. It’s only for fun. People enter a raffle not to win the prize, but to have fun, and to support the good cause that is being promoted.” From the vantage point of the supporter, this may be true. As far as he is concerned, it may not matter whether or not he wins the prize. He may just be happy to support the cause. Praise the Lord for people like this. According to Scripture, that man will be blessed! “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35c)
But why then are you holding a raffle?
Is not the reason you are holding a raffle to provide an incentive for people to purchase a ticket from you? You are not holding a raffle to “have fun” are you? Is not the reason you are holding a raffle to make money? There are many ways to “have fun” but you have deemed that a way to make money — not to have fun — is to hold a raffle. You may not have intended to do so, but by holding a raffle you are actually taking advantage of peoples’ desire to gamble! You are, in a manner of speaking, desiring to “entice” them into purchasing that ticket! It reminds me of the wicked woman of Proverbs 7, who uses her flattering speech to “entice” the man to sleep with her. His chances of “winning” are nil. The chances of anyone winning that raffle are just about nil, as well!
We’re dealing with motives here. Your desire to “entice” people through the use of a raffle is not good. This is the shame of it all. The shame is not on the end of the person who purchases a ticket, if he honestly just wants to “support the cause” and is genuinely not interested in the prize. The shame lies with the one who would use the raffle as a means of enticing individuals to purchase a ticket, giving them a false sense of hope — it’s guaranteed that almost every single person is going to lose. How much they lose is not the issue. The issue is that you are using the raffle to intentionally build up a sense of expectation in the heart of your supporters, and the result will be disappointment for almost every single one of them. Now is that Christ-like to you?