A Detroit homeowner was overheard saying: “I can’t ever get ahead. My only hope is to win the lottery. That would solve all my problems (Colson, Good Life Search… 7).” We have all wondered what it would be like to win a million dollars.
For one lady, the winning numbers were 10-25-38-39-50 with a Mega Ball 12. Sixty-seven-year-old Geraldine Williams just happened to pick the winning numbers. Her odds of winning: 1 in 135,145,920… This hardworking cleaning woman stepped forward to claim her $294 million, one of the largest jackpots ever to go to a single person. I hope it makes her happy. But for so many, it won’t even come close.
One-half of the American adult population spends $45 billion annually on 35,000 lottery games. Unfortunately, winning the lottery is not going to solve your problem. It’s easy to believe that life would be completely carefree if money were no object. Why doesn’t a winning lottery ticket buy happiness?
The unhappy winners of the lottery try to answer life’s deeper (spiritual) questions with money. You can’t. The happiest people you’ll ever meet are those who if their money was gone tomorrow, their lives would still have purpose and significance. If you try to answer life’s big questions with money and you stay with that philosophy, more than likely, debt will be in your financial future. If you’re going to define your life by what you can accumulate and the money you can place in a nest egg, you’re always going to be in hurry to get there. You’ll walk right past life and true success.
Money can buy you a bed, but not deep, restful sleep. Money can buy you books, but not the right kind of books. Money can buy you food, but not a healthy appetite and warm friends. Money can buy you finery, but not true beauty. Money can buy you a house, but not a loving family or home. Money can buy medicine, but not health. Money can buy luxury, but not an appreciation for the arts and sciences, learning and exploring, and valuing culture. Money can buy you flattery, but not a deep respect (Gray, Lists…Two, 132).
Money can’t buy you a good attitude. Money cannot choose a right direction in which to travel in life. Money cannot set right priorities. Money cannot keep your commitments to others. Money cannot give you a biblical worldview. Money can’t protect you from a stranger who steals your mate’s affection. Money can’t protect you from a lawsuit that instantly wipes out your nest egg. Money can’t protect you from job loss and layoffs that depletes your savings. And money can’t protect you from a stroke or tumor that sends you home. If you try to make money do all this for you, you’ll end up empty and perplexed by the “money conundrum”.
This blog is about answering the deeper questions of life. One of the greatest things that I can do for you is to help you avoid a dead-end road. Believe me. Money is not the answer you’re looking for. Knowing where you came from, why you are here, what went wrong in the world, what God is doing to fix it, and how I can help reclaim a fallen creation – now these are questions worth living for and money can never touch it. Financial status has nothing to do with it; offering all that you have in service to the larger story does have something to do with it. Money is simply a tool – nothing more. The goal is to place it into circulation to do all the good you can for all the people you can for as long as you can. Change your world and don’t waste your time or money on a lottery ticket.
Some years after he had won the lottery in New York, a man was asked during an interview by the media “What has been the biggest difference in your life since your sudden acquisition of wealth?” He paused, shrugged his shoulders, and said “I eat out more often.” Ravi Zacharias observed: “The laughter that followed revealed a strange but compelling truth. I have no doubt there were other changes – cars, homes, travel, and several other experiences made possible by money. But in the end, he was able to reduce it to food and choice. In a culture where the possibility of wealth is so great and the acquisition of things is so defining of success, we end up pursuing things that, even if we are successful, can never deliver what we envisioned they would (Recapture…, 67).” The presence of wealth is no protection against the ravages of the soul. Emptiness still stalks the rich, loneliness still haunts the icon, and disappointment still casts its shadow amidst the cheers under the spotlight.