Last Night’s Lottery

Yesterday afternoon I read a financial website concerning last night’s $700 million lottery. As you know people all over the country have been in a frenzy over such a large payout.

Earlier in the day, I heard a discussion about getting lawyers to draw up papers in case people in an office were pooling their assets. They predicted anger, disagreements, and greed if they were lucky enough to win.

The financial site (they do not sell financial instruments, they only give advice) suggested an alternate plan to spending $20 a week on lottery tickets. They suggested putting twenty dollars a week into a mutual fund. In twenty years, your twenty dollars a week will become $50,000 to use for retirement. After that, every ten years your $50,000 will double.

Considering that winning the Power Ball is one in 292 million, that’s a plan that will actually work.

What does this frenzy say about us? It’s fairly easy to figure that out.

At the outset, it tells us we have a huge problem with greed. Instead of thinking what can we give and how can we help others, we are thinking about how we can get. And, it shows that we think money is the solution to relationships and how we feel on the inside.

Unfortunately, it tells us that we are not very good at planning for the long-term and without much personal discipline.

The worst thing it says is that we assume that a person’s life consists in the abundance of his possessions. It tells us that we don’t know much about what brings happiness to a person’s life.

How can we counteract these tendencies?

First, we can set up a plan to discipline our wants and desires under the Lordship of Christ. We can seek first the kingdom of God. The Power Ball frenzy shows clearly that we are all about our own kingdoms.

Second, we can start being generous now. If you aren’t generous toward others now, you will certainly not be if you have a huge windfall. Your generosity will take your mind to the matters in life that are most important.

Third,  begin by focusing on what blessings you are now experiencing. Thinking about the joys you have in life will help you consider what is really important.

Fourth, go out of your way to bless the people around you by showing kindness and consideration. Most of the joy in life comes from spending time with people and doing something to make them better. As a man said to me one time, “It really doesn’t matter how much you have if you don’t have someone to share it with.”

Fifth, you can start saving today for things that inevitably happen such as ¬†retirement, children’s education, unexpected circumstances, and the needs of other people.

Finally, set your mind on the things above where Christ is. While it isn’t fashionable to think about eternity, the time will come when it will be the only thing that matters.

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About Waylon

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

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Verse of the Day

[Mary’s Song] And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name. — Luke 1:46-47, 49 (NIV)