Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Jesus Gave Away the Winning Lottery Ticket

Did you notice the 3 winners who get to split the over 600 million dollar Lottery winnings. Perhaps you owned one of the over 1 billion tickets that were sold for this Lottery’s high tantalizing prize. For the first time I can ever remember I held in my hand a Lottery ticket. My wife and daughter were in our home town celebrating my daughter’s first birthday. We stopped at a gas station to fill up on gas when my mother-in-law came out with a Lottery ticket for each of us.

When that ticket is in your hand you cannot help but begin to dream how the right combination of random numbers would change your life forever. You begin thinking about the debts you could pay off, the house you could afford, the car you could drive, the flat screen HDTV 3D you could watch (is that even a real television?). When my mother-in-law handed me that ticket, I began dreaming.

I have often thought about what I would do if I won the Lottery even though I never played. I often ask our youth group what they would do if they won the Lottery, and just listen to their dreams. Often time’s people in our church tell me if they win the lottery the first thing they would do is buy this or that for the church. The more I think about the more I realize I could only spend the money in one way: I would have to give it away.

Now most people who share their dreams of winning the Lottery usually have a component of giving some to charity, but I would have to give it all away. I wouldn’t first pay off my debts, I wouldn’t first take care of school for my daughter, I wouldn’t even first give some to my family or friends, but I would give every last dollar and dime away.

Now this blog is not about demanding that anyone who wins the Lottery must ethically give it all away. I am simply stating that through reflection, and my faith I have been given the freedom to give everything away. People do many good things with winnings, but imagine the impact of giving everything away and keeping nothing for yourself.

I am not talking about walking down the street and giving it to anyone who looks like they need it. I am talking about being faithful with my talents. I would invest, set up a fund, and provide food, school, and medical necessities for people without. I would invest in churches that are still the largest resource of volunteers and raised funds for the needy in the world. If I won I recognize it as God trusting me to use the money in the best possible way. Not that I don’t have college debt, and I would like to see my daughter go to college, and there are some dental issue in our family that would be nice to take care of, but I also realize that my faith in Jesus has made me completely happy and content.

The death and resurrection of Jesus has wiped away every fear, and I am happy with my life, my family, and my friends. Millions of dollars is not worth jeopardizing my joy that I have through my faith.

When I share my idea with people, my friends, and my family people usually look at me like I am crazy. Often I am told that there is nothing wrong with keeping some for yourself. I know there is nothing wrong with keeping some. I don’t condemn those that keep money for themselves, but there is also nothing wrong with keeping nothing. Truthfully, this is not a discussion about right and wrong, but what we are allowed to do through the freedom and security that God has given. This article is about blessing people, about being faithful, about not putting yourself first, about addressing need, and about protecting what God has already given you by not letting money threaten to take it away. This is simply about the opportunity to fulfill your dreams by fulfilling others. This is about watching Jesus head to the cross willing to give away his life, his peace, his innocents, and even his divinity, so that we would have what we cannot purchase for ourselves. It is about remembering Jesus’ call to follow him on that path to the cross. This is about doing what Jesus has done and allows us to do; to give it all away.

I feel like I already won the Lottery. I have the world’s best wife (proven fact) I have the most wonderful daughter, I serve with an incredible church, I have no hunger, no lack of clothes, and no lack of friends. Most importantly I have life that not even death can take away. It is absurd to even find myself thinking I need or even want more. I have God, I have family, I have friends, I have a church, everything else I could just give away, and I try to everyday.

Of course when the winning numbers were listed not one of my numbers or my wife’s numbers on our tickets matched. I guess God is content to trust us to give away what he has already given us.