Last week, the Powerball lottery reached $1.5 billion (cash out value of $930 million). Everyone was buying tickets and hoping to be that lucky winner. It was announced that three people won! That means three people won $300+ million dollars! But did they really win or is it rigged?
It is always fun to imagine the idea of winning millions of dollars. What would you do with the money? Who would you spend it on? Would you quit your job, school, career path, etc.? Millions of people were having these conversations last week before the winners of Powerball were announced. But what we often forget is that getting rich always has a price. In other words, the fantasy of getting rich is rigged with trappings that can have a big time negative effect if we aren’t careful.
The Bible puts it this way…
People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs (1 Timothy 6:9-10).
Wow! “Ruin” and “destruction” aren’t typically the words you hear thrown around when talking about the lottery. It’s usually words like “amazing” or “incredible”. But scripture highlights that money can be a very powerful thing, either for good or for bad. This means that the more money we are talking about, the greater the risk. But if you notice in 1st Timothy 6:10, it isn’t the money itself that’s the problem but our attitude toward it (i.e. “love” of money). In other words, it isn’t how much money you have, it’s how much money has you.
The only way to truly answer that question is right now before you win. If you aren’t happy, content, or satisfied with where God has you right now in life, then money won’t change that. Why? Because the issue isn’t your pocketbook, it’s your perspective. Even billionaire Mark Cuban reflects this truth when he talks about people winning the lottery: “If you weren’t happy yesterday, you won’t be happy tomorrow. It’s money. It’s not happiness.”
This is why so many past lottery winners have lost everything because they were trying to buy happiness and contentment which is a never-ending cycle  (see my blog “Christians and Gambling”). It is important to always remember the truth of God’s word penned through a man who had a lot of money before becoming a Christian (Paul the Apostle):
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that (1 Timothy 6:6-8).
I guess the real question is “will we” be content without winning the lottery? This is a good process for all of us to go through when it comes to our walk with Jesus.
So the next time you think about winning Powerball, remember it’s rigged with trappings that can potentially do a lot of damage. Real gain is found in “godliness with contentment.”
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