What does the Bible teach about luck?
The word "luck" does not appear in the Bible (except in the paraphrase The Message which uses it as slang or to mean "blessing").
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Luck has two somewhat contradictory meanings. The original term is related to destiny as pre-determined by a deity or force—what we might call providence. Eastern religions in particular believe luck can be somewhat controlled by superstitious actions. Religious rites are performed (like rubbing the stomach of a Buddha statue or lighting incense) to induce supernatural powers to change the fortune of an adherent.
Today luck more often refers to an event that is out of the control of those involved and has significant repercussions, whether good or bad. This type of luck is related to the chaos theory which points out that most situations are affected by so many elements the outcome appears random and certainly unpredictable.
The Bible rejects the second type of luck and is cautious with the first. God cannot be manipulated to endow good fortune through superstitious practices. And His omniscience precludes the existence of any truly random event. The Bible does use the word "chance" on occasion, but not as a completely unforeseen event; it generally indicates that the people involved had no way of knowing something would occur, but it doesn't follow that God didn't know.
The idea of luck brings up a difficult theological discussion: does God ordain everything that happens to us, or does He let nature and human choice play out to their inevitable end? The answer is a confusing "both." We do often bear the repercussions of choices—ours and others—without the apparent interference of God. In other cases, He acts in a way we call "miracles." How, when, and why He acts are usually hidden from us. But whether He ordained it or allowed it to happen, He did allow it. He is in control, orchestrating natural consequences and miracles in a way that will bring honor to Him and salvation to us.
What the Bible categorically condemns is the use of superstition to gain the favor of God or any deity to bring fortunate results. Religious rites to draw luck from a pagan god are useless, as pagan gods don't exist and, therefore, can't act on behalf of anyone. And God so hates being manipulated by worship practices that He'd rather we abandon those traditions He put into place and worship Him from the heart than obey Him for the sole purpose of gaining favor (Amos 5:21-24).
That being said, should a Christian own a lucky charm or engage in superstitious actions such as wearing the same socks to every baseball game? If the charms, such as a rabbit's foot, a horseshoe, or an elephant with an up-raised trunk, are non-religious and used in a way that represents a culture and not in a way that causes another to stumble or attempts to gather actual fortune, it's probably all right. Rituals can be used to calm nerves or mentally prepare for an event. But we should all recognize that nothing is truly random, and God cannot be manipulated by four-leafed clovers or dirty socks. Time would be better spent by following God, preparing for that game, and not risking anything too dear in poker.
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