A normal Wednesday morning includes going to eat Breakfast with some men from my church. On the way there, the talk on the radio was all about the Powerball jackpot. Later, I pulled up CNN on my computer and the main story was about the Powerball jackpot. The Lottery gets a lot of attention because many are hoping for a golden ticket to riches and retirement. However, it’s been noted that many who have won the lottery went on to live terrible lives or were even murdered afterwards. Many dream of happiness and awake to misery. CNN points out that the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are actually quite slim. During college, statistics fascinated me. So, here are a few to ponder during your week and perhaps reality will set in. The chance of a ticket winning a Powerball jackpot is 1 in 175,223,510. By comparison, it is more likely to hit a deer while traveling in Hawaii (1 in 6,267) or to die from a bee sting (1 in 6.1 million) or to hit a hole in one on consecutive par-3 holes (1 in about 156 million). But besides the odds not being in your favor, why else should we not play the Lottery?
Hershael York has described gambling well in saying, “Gambling wreaks havoc upon families and it is a desire to want something for nothing.” Gambling is false entertainment that robs from the poor while offering a false hope for the hurting. In an age of materialism, our desires are out of control and they reveal our hearts of greed and selfishness. Henry Ford described money and men well when he said, “Money doesn’t change men, it merely unmasks them.”
While people are looking for temporary happiness and hope for the future, the Bible is clear in saying these can be found not in following our fleshly desires but in forsaking all by following Jesus Christ. He alone can bring hope to our souls. He might not bring fame and money but he can set us free from our greed while meeting our greatest need. Jesus didn’t share a prosperity gospel but he did deliver a grace-filled gospel with clarity. In the book of Matthew, Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?”
As Christians, we must examine our hearts and see where our treasure is. As a church, we get to give generously this time of year to our annual Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. As we give, be encouraged that 100% goes directly to the missionaries as they make disciples who follow Christ all around the world. Instead of giving to a lottery that promotes greed, give to Lottie Moon that promotes the gospel.