The question, “Should I buy a lottery ticket?” will probably cross the mind of almost every American today (unless you already purchased one!). The Mega Millions jackpot has surpassed $500 million dollars and will probably continue to grow even larger until the 10pm CST drawing.
While running on my torture device this morning (treadmill) I couldn’t believe the in-depth news coverage surrounding all of the excitement for that lucky someone today. Yes, one person will have their life forever changed by the time they go to bed tonight. Could that lucky person be me? Should it be me? Why shouldn’t it be me?
Ok, I’m going to say it right now. I’m not going to buy a ticket today because I don’t think I should win that much money. Ouch, that hurts to write. Am I an idiot? Well, that could be argued by some people. I do think, however, I’m thinking clearly on this issue.
Here are a few quick reasons why I’m not going to buy a ticket. I really don’t care if you purchase one for your own reasons, but here are some of mine:
- I teach people it is wrong to have a health/wealth view of the Christian life. By buying a ticket I think my actions are working contrary to my beliefs. Is the greatest goal for a person wealth? Is that really my ultimate desire? Is my life missing half a billion dollars? What are my motives in purchasing the ticket? Do I communicate to God and others, “I need more besides what I have right now.”
- I’m not going to buy a ticket because I don’t think God’s plan for me is to be filthy rich. I didn’t grow up in a family of billionaires. I have been blessed to receive a good education but I don’t work in a career where people become wealthy. My wife and I feel extremely blessed by God but I don’t ever expect to be wealthy. I fear my blessed life today without riches would not be the same blessed life with riches. If my life would be better with riches, then I trust God would have brought me riches already. Since I do not have riches, although I work hard and am thankfully able to provide for my family, then I trust the Lord’s best for my life is the standard of living I enjoy today.
- It is shocking to learn about all of the people who have won the lottery in the past. Billy Bob Harrell, Jr. was a bi-vocational preacher who worked at Home Depot. After winning $37 million dollars and buying 6 houses for relatives he ended up getting divorced and then committing suicide. Jeffrey Dampier won $20 million. Nine years later he was kidnapped and killed by his sister-in-law. Jack Whittaker won $315 million. While at a strip club someone robbed him of $545,000 in cash. Caesars Atlantic City casino sued him for bouncing $1.5 million in checks. Most tragically, his granddaughter and daughter were found murdered. It is not good for human beings to get everything they could desire. Solomon was able to buy everything he wanted, and he hated life. It seems foolish for me to buy a ticket assuming it will make my life better. I’m not going to buy a ticket because I want to make sure my wife and kids stay together. The odds are too high everyone will become very selfish and lose the love we have within our family.
- But couldn’t I give all the money to charity? Yes, I’ve been thinking about this scenario. I win $500+ million dollars and pay off my house. Once my house is paid off I set aside a tiny bit for retirement and my children. I then give 99% of it to charities making a real difference. If people hit me up for money I can honestly tell them the money is gone, it’s all been given away. I do not trust, however, that scenario. I feel like a human looking at the ring in Frodo’s hand and saying, “Give it to me. I’ll take good care of it. It won’t corrupt me.” Every good parent withholds certain things from their children. We don’t give them a pound of twizzlers, it will make them sick. Likewise, I believe it is usually the grace of God to withhold this kind of money from his children.
Bible verses abound relating to money. God designed an amazing way for us to get money: work. An honest day of work provides an honest wage allowing us to live an honest life. If people refuse to work they should not be allowed to eat. Yes, some people are unable to work and need provision. Those of us who are blessed to work need to pause and think before so quickly praying for the Lord to give us half a billion dollars. How do you know the windfall of riches will not turn into a windfall of disaster?
Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God. – Proverbs 30:8-9
What do you think? Will you buy a ticket today?