I was driving to the church when I heard about the 81-year-old woman who won the lottery in Rhode Island. She has chosen to take a lump sum of $210 million as her prize. The statement on the radio said she was “happy” and “proud.” Honestly, this sort of talk about money concerns me. I wrote a post on Sunday, as a part of the Sunday series about money. I also wrote a post last week about gaining wealth without money. I won’t repeat myself, but there are a few reasons I get concerned with this sort of media attention surrounding money.
Take a look at some of the major scandals over the last ten years and what is the main theme behind them? ( Enron, Fannie and Freddie, Bernie Madoff) Most of them have something to do with the dishonest accumulation of wealth. Money can become an ugly source of temptation for people , which can cause them to do some rather bizarre things. Of course there is good to be done with that amount of money, but how many people actually do it? That much money changes people and often not for the better. The unfortunate truth is that marriages suffer, families fight and people hurt other innocent people for the pursuit of money. I speak in general here, not necessarily about this particular person. I have no idea what she will do with it, so please don’t misread this.
Money is not what it seems
“Ill-gotten treasures are of no value, but righteousness delivers from death.” Proverbs 10:2
“A man’s riches may ransom his life, but a poor man hears no threat.” Proverbs 13:8
“Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.” Proverbs 13:11
Having a lot of money is appealing to most people, but it is not what it seems. Our real happiness in life is not found in money, it is found in Jesus Christ. Your needs are best met in Him alone.
” And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
The problem that we see through-out the bible is that people get prosperous and they forget about God. This scene plays itself out over and over again. God shows up and helps the people, for example, get out of slavery in Egypt. Then they get to the land He promises and they make idols and worship them instead.
Money is not God, there is only one God
That is my main point in this. This is why I get concerned when I hear someone say they are proud to have won $200 million. All they did was buy a ticket and happen to get the right combination of numbers. That is not earned income, it is money many people have used to try to win with. It is money that has essentially been thrown away by people in hopes that money they get in return will save them from their problems. It will not. There is only one God and nothing can take His place.
It is fun to sit around and talk about what we would do with millions of dollars. I know many people have really awesome ideas for what they would do with that kind of money. However, I feel like there are far better ways to invest than to hope for some ticket to match some numbers. God owns it all anyway, if He wants to use any of us He can do it without the lottery. We need not waste time trying our hand at a game that is stacked against us, when we are a part in the work God is doing. A work that no one can stand against. When God meets us where we are and uses us in our weakness and poverty, that is something to be proud of. Our God knows us, loves us and includes us in His work.
You would think with all that our country has gone through, that people would learn lessons in these things. My 2nd child turns 5 today. My plan is to take him to the library to get him his library card because you need to be 5 to do that. He tried to get one this last year and was unable. This was devastating to him. He will be so excited to do this and it won’t cost me a thing. You just can’t beat those sorts of opportunities to bless someone. When I come home from work, I get greeted by three of my kids (one is only crawling), not because they want me to give them some money, but because they are glad I am home. They don’t care if I have money or not, they just want to be loved. Let’s not get sidetracked chasing things that don’t really matter in the end. All of us have opportunities each day with people in our lives, opportunities that may be gone quicker then we would like. Let’s not waste them by chasing money.