What the Powerball Tells Us About Ourselves

I’m writing this on Wednesday afternoon so I don’t know what happened late last night with the Powerball drawing. Eventually, someone is going to win. Until that happens Americans will continue to throw their money after the big prize.

You probably know all the particulars. The country is in a frenzy over the giveaway of $1.5 billion. I read an article this morning about the odds of winning the Powerball. It’s one in 292+ million– –not very good odds. If you want a fascinating look  at these enormous odds, click here: http://graphics.wsj.com/lottery-odds/

People in the six states without the Powerball jackpot–Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada, and Utah–are clamoring to be included. Their lawmakers are really complaining. They want the opportunity to spend more money–other people’s money.

What does this tell us about ourselves?

First, it tells us that we think only about ourselves. As we look at life, we live it as “it’s all about me.” Jesus warned us about thinking this way. By doing so, we miss what our Creator planned for us.

Second, it tells us money is everything to us. When will we learn that a person’s life doesn’t consist in the abundance of our possessions? The same article I read said that 72% of all lottery winners are broke today. Obviously, their lives are no better off financially than before winning a prize. They may, in fact, be worse off spiritually and emotionally as well.

Third, it tells us we are greedy people. A lottery winner is “rejoicing” from the misery of others. I well remember Edwin Edwards, a renowned gambler and governor of Louisiana, calling the lottery a “sucker’s bet.”
What is even worse is knowing that a lottery inordinately hurts the poorest among us.
Finally, the Powerball shows us how much we need a Savior. Our heart yearns for more. More than money or treasures we need the transformation of our lives. Jesus came to set us free and to make us what we’ve never been before.
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  1. Eddy
    Jan 14, 2016

    Good Blog. I was looking forward to today’s post after Bible Study last night…
    Everything man needs has been provided by God, nothing left out. I look forward to these daily posts…
    For readers who don’t already attend the Wednesday night Pastor’s Bible Study, it’s a great way to learn scripture and recharge after a few days of slogging through the early part of the week…

  2. bill marshall
    Jan 14, 2016

    Well, I see it a little differently. With some frequency, I buy one power ball ticket – that’s ONE ticket. If it’s God’s will that that ticket match the winning numbers, I have no need for more. If it is not God’s will, I could buy tickets until the cows come home and still would not have a match.

    I think it would be fun to have that kind of money to see how much good could be done with it. Certainly, it would be a challenge as to whether the individual or others would come first. But life is full of challenges. I see no harm in this approach.

    • The Millers
      Jan 14, 2016

      Your thinking can be related to with the exception of the “God’s Will” part.

      Decades ago buying a lottery ticket or two and pulling the lever in the casinos was “something to do”, maybe you win-maybe you don’t, just an activity like going to the movies with a little extra excitement and dinner.

      Of course personal responsibility and limits were always decided before entering a casino.
      No harm, no foul – right?

      Until …
      one casino trip when the realization that some faces seen were the same faces seen years ago and sitting in about the same place, a drink in one hand and a cigarette in the other. The only difference was they looked much older, more haggard, not dressed so nicely and an unmistakable emptiness was seen in their eyes.

      Addictions run high in my family. Every addiction starts somewhere, usually naively.
      It was time to say no more.

      My one little dollar or twenty or fifty is going to build something somewhere.
      The question for me is what am I going to build?

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I am the senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana, a position that I have held since 1989.

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For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. — Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV)