Have you ever wondered what you’d do if you won the lottery? Even those of us that don’t play still often dream of what we’d do if we did. I’ve never played in my life, and yet I’ve still daydreamed about it on occasion. It seems like a question just begging to be asked when we read in the news that someone else hit the jackpot. So what if that was you or me?
What would you do? Would you take it all out in cash, fill up a swimming pool with change, and go swimming in it, like Scrooge McDuck? You know that’s what the IRS does with their share of your money… Would you pay off all your debt? Travel the world and take those vacations you’ve been putting off? Buy a new home, or two, or three? Then maybe remodel those houses? HGTV! Upgrade your car? You know, if you want to be morally responsible, you should buy a Tesla to save the environment. What a sacrifice. Give money to your children, your church, charity, friends and family? If money were no issue, what would you do?
Lottery winners have done all these things, except the swimming in pools of cash bit. But before we get too jealous, and run out to spend money chasing a fantasy that is incredibly unlikely… let’s take a quick survey of what happens to the winners. You get an option of taking it in a lump sum, or spread out over the years. Almost everyone chooses the lump sum. The federal government takes a whopping 37% right off the top, plus whatever state and local taxes you have to pay. The winners are announced, and go on mind bending spending sprees. Spending money in every way we mentioned, and then some. But do you think this brings them happiness and fulfillment?
First of all, the wealth doesn’t tend to last long. At least 1/3 of lottery winners declare bankruptcy. In fact, you and I are less likely to go bankrupt within 3-5 years than a lottery winner. If you win the lottery, everyone is suddenly your best friend. You don’t know who your real friends are. There are stories of depression, suicide, drugs and addictions, robbery, violence, murder, and law suits. There’s even a story of a pastor suing a lottery winner because she didn’t give the church the tithe she promised. Have to watch out for those pastors! If money were no issue, what would happen to you?
So what can we learn from this? A lot, actually. If we answer honestly, we find out what we really think about money and where our hope truly lies. It helps us see that maybe all this hard work we are putting in for money, well, it may not be worth it in the end. One thing is for sure: if we can’t be content with what little we have, a few more dollars isn’t going to trick.
This weekend we are looking at the story of a lottery winner- who wakes up one day to see that a bumper crop has come in and he is now set for life. Or is he? We can learn some incredible principles and practical application today from this parable from Luke 12:13-21.
I invite you to join with us this weekend as we look at the financial folly of the rich fool. Our socially distanced service is Saturday evening at 5, and our Sunday morning service is at 10:15, where you can join us online if you can’t make it in person. We also have excellent Sunday School classes at 9 for all ages.
Have a great weekend and I look forward to pursuing Christ, Community, and the Great Commission Together with you soon!
-Pastor Nathan Rice