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Maybe I’m Crazy for Not Playing the Lottery…

The past few days have been crazy. We have seen people flock to the local gas stations in herds to try and find a winning Mega Millions lottery ticket. You may have even been one of those people. The hysteria surrounding the record lottery prize has made me think about one question. Why are people drawn to these lotteries? Here are what some people said in a USA Today article entitled “Kan., Ill., Md. tickets share Mega Millions lottery jackpot“:

My 401(k) is worth so little. My only chance to retire is Mega Millions.

They say the third time is the charm, so I’m bound to win, you know.

It’s something people here can really look forward to.

It’s well-needed here…It’ll be great for the city if someone here won.

What connects all of these people’s answers together? They all want more money. Money has a way of exciting people. It can give someone the hope of retirement. People look forward to having lots of money and lots of money can bring a community together (just don’t ask me how). In the midst of these four different answer is one common theme…the craving for something they do not have…money.

People want to be rich. People want to have the “freedom” to buy whatever they want, when they want. Most people live pay check to pay check and they dream of the day they don’t need to. However, these are not Christian virtues. They are symptoms of spiritual deadness. Listen to Paul’s words in 1 Timothy 6:7-10:

for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. -ESV

Paul’s words are clear and we see this played out in our culture daily. How many times have people been caught in some sort of scheme to rip people off for money? How many times have people been accused of shaving points in a professional sporting event for money? How many times have we seen people sell themselves physically, emotionally, and/or spiritually for money? It is an epidemic in our society and this lottery highlighted the disgusting underbelly of the average man and woman. People were willing to give away money they earned for a chance at money ther could never earn. People are willing to give away money that can buy their family needs now so that they could maybe buy their families expensive wants later. Is this not the sign of depravity? I think Jesus said it best:

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. -Matthew 6:24

The choice is yours. You can either serve an everlasting God or the ever-fluctuating dollar. I choose a God who promises to provide for my needs instead of a prize that can promise nothing. I pray you serve God as well.

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About Travis Berry

I am a blatantly honest person who loves to think, read, discuss, and write about God and theology. I have a bachelor's degree in Youth Ministry from Crown College. I work at a church in Houston, TX as a Youth Director and love every minute of it! I am married to a wonderful woman named Becky and we have one amazing child! I have a love for God's Word, and a fervor to live it out in the fullest, and I pray this blog reflects that. Thanks for checking out AnotherChristianBlog!.

Posted on April 2, 2012, in Christianity, Culture, Life and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. People are willing to give away money that can buy their family needs now so that they could maybe buy their families expensive wants later. Is this not the sign of depravity?

    I ask this not to be offensive, but simply because it seems like a huge contradiction: Do you not see that a large number of Christians are doing the exact same thing by giving money to their churches? Many Christians are willing (and encouraged) to give away money to their churches that could buy what their families need right now.

    This might seem like a silly question, but why does an infinite God need His followers to give Him money?

    Luke 21:1-4 As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

    I agree with you that it’s unwise to buy lottery tickets if you can’t afford it, but I ask you, isn’t it also unwise to give away all that you have to live on?

    • Hey Retro,

      You said: “I ask this not to be offensive, but simply because it seems like a huge contradiction: Do you not see that a large number of Christians are doing the exact same thing by giving money to their churches?”

      Me: No it is not a contradiction at all, much less, a huge one. Buying a lottery ticket is giving money you have for money that you don’t. It is purchasing a chance at a prize. Giving money to a church is nothing like this. I do not give my money to the church so I can get salvation or more money. I give my money to the church so that the church can continue its ministry.

      You: “Many Christians are willing (and encouraged) to give away money to their churches that could buy what their families need right now.”

      Me: You are right. There are some churches that encourage their people to give regardless of their financial positions. This is not encouraged in the Bible when it comes to churches. One of the roles of the church is to aid the poor around them not take their money. I do not encourage this type of giving of money and most Christians agree. It just so happens that the crazy “christians” get to be on TV.

      You: “This might seem like a silly question, but why does an infinite God need His followers to give Him money?”

      Me: From your standpoint I can see why you would ask this. You are an atheist right? But back to your question. God doesn’t need our money. But then again, my statement needs to be changed. When I say “my money” it isn’t really my money. It is God’s money. Everything in the world is God’s Psalm 50: 10-12. So, I am simply giving back some of what isn’t mine. God calls his people to give so that it can benefit others.

      You: “I agree with you that it’s unwise to buy lottery tickets if you can’t afford it, but I ask you, isn’t it also unwise to give away all that you have to live on?”

      Me: Could it be unwise? Maybe, but notice Jesus’ point. His point is that it isn’t the amount of the gift that is important but it is the selfless intention behind it. He is showing a poor woman, both looked down on in those days, and uses her as a prime example of what a Christian should be like. Jesus isn’t advocating being poor but he is advocating giving out of a heart of selfless love. Jesus would use events that happened as teaching moments. This was one of them and he choose to highlight the selfless giving of the woman.

      Travis

      • Could it be unwise? Maybe, but notice Jesus’ point.

        I’m not arguing Jesus’ point, as I agree with it: The widow’s gift was worth more to God even though it was the least amount of money.

        The point of my question was that it would be unwise to give everything you have to live on.

        How do you interpret Luke 18:22?

        Luke 18:22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

        In this example, Jesus didn’t ask for the man to give what he could, but asked Him to sell everything and give it to the poor.

        Can you see how verses like these can be used to build an argument for irresponsible giving?

        So, I am simply giving back some of what isn’t mine. God calls his people to give so that it can benefit others.

        I understand, but wouldn’t it be unwise to give everything you have to the poor, thus becoming poor yourself?

        It just so happens that the crazy “christians” get to be on TV.

        Wouldn’t you agree then that the laws need to be changed to make “christians” like these accountable? Not only are they tax exempt, but they don’t even have to report how much money they take in.

      • Retro,

        Jesus’ words in Luke 18:22 highlight the mindset that Christians are to have. As a Christian I should be willing to give up every earthly thing to follow Christ. As Jesus says my treasure is in heaven. Earthly things have little worth to me. That is Jesus’ point. Jesus knew that the rich guy he was talking to was not going to give everything he owned. Would it have been foolish for the rich guy to do that? According to your view maybe but to the the unsaved I look foolish. But thankfully God uses the foolish things of this world for his glory.

        We could discuss ministries being tax-exempt and I think ministries need to be held accountable but I think being tax-exempt is a good thing because the vast majority of them do great things for their communities. But I would rather share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with you. You need to repent of your sins and look to Christ for salvation. I pray that God does a mighty work in your heart Retro and that you come to the peace that only Jesus can offer.

        Thanks for the comments and for reading,

        Travis

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