What’s Better Than Winning the Lottery?

The news is out. The suspense is over. The Powerball jackpot of $1.5 billion will be dispersed among three “lucky winners,” including one from the state of Florida. Their take amounts to a mind-boggling half a billion each (minus taxes, of course). It constitutes the biggest lottery pay out in history. And don’t even get me started on the fact that 150 million people purchased 371 million tickets at $2 a crack. I mean, are you kidding me?!

The Bible clearly warns us about the pitfalls of wanting, loving and chasing after worldly wealth. In Matthew 6.24, Jesus presents money as a “rival” to God: “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 Mammon.” In Luke 12.15, Jesus issued this word of caution: “Take care and beware of all kinds of greed, for a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” In Mark 8.36-37, He taught: “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Or, what would a man give in exchange for his soul?” Jesus reminds us that money and possessions are highly overrated and overvalued in our fallen world. They can pose a serious threat to our relationship to God (see 1 John 2.15).

Getting back to all the hoopla surrounding this lottery jackpot, I read an interesting quote from a bystander in Chino Hills, California (where one of the winning tickets had been purchased). “Wow!” the man raved, “Think about how much money this lucky person won – I mean, what could be better than that?!” He asks a good question – one we should consider: WHAT IS BETTER THAN WINNING THE LOTTERY?

To answer the question head on, the apostle Paul speaks of the “surpassing worth of knowing Christ.” (Philippians 3.7-10). To Paul, knowing Christ was better than anything and everything on earth! Because when we know Christ we have everything, we have it all! We have grace, forgiveness, salvation! We have every spiritual blessing – every good and perfect gift! We have a direct line to God in prayer! We have His true Word, the Holy Bible! We are part of a worldwide family and Kingdom! We have a mission and the great privilege of sharing His love and grace with those around us! We have the Holy Spirit’s presence, guidance and power! We have the peace that passes understanding! We have the love of God that is better than life and defies explanation! We have the sure hope of Christ’s return, victory over death and hell, and the prize of never-ending life with God in Heaven!

So, what’s better than winning the lottery? Having Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord! So, who should be jumping for joy? Not a few poor lottery winners who can’t take it with them when they die, but we, the beloved, the blessed, the redeemed! “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven…” (Mat 5.12a)

And, no, I didn’t buy a ticket.

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