Winning without the Lottery
I have a confession to make…I bought a lottery ticket. Or maybe more than one. Or maybe several over the past few years, but that doesn’t really matter.
I wonder, did I really have a chance to win? I suppose if 1 in 292,000,000 is considered a chance, then technically I did, although the odds are better to be struck by lightning (1 in 700,000 by the way). A funny thing happens when you purchase a lottery ticket. Your mind starts to imagine the possibilities. “Hmmm…what will I do with all this money? Let’s see, if I took the lump sum option, the $200 million would be around $130 million. Then, after taxes, maybe I’ll have $70+ million left. I could pay off all my debt, buy a bigger house, and oh, get that nice car I’ve been wishing for. I’d go on exotic vacations, and of course, give a lot to charity, setting up a foundation for Bethany residents. Then there are my friends and family. I’d give them all a nice chunk each and life would be pretty great!” Or would it?
I remember when I first heard the name Jim Carrey. I was in high school and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective was a new movie about to be released. I didn’t get it at first - it actually seemed pretty ridiculous. But we all know that Jim Carrey turned out to be quite a successful comedian and actor. He was gifted with a special ability to make people laugh and he had a unique way of doing it. However, there was one thing recently that Jim Carrey said that stopped me in my tracks. Apparently, he experienced a personal enlightenment. A man with fame and fortune, and all the money in the world, said the following: “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it's not the answer.”
Wow! I was shocked. I’m sure most of us have lived long enough to know that this is true. Money does not equal, nor can it purchase happiness. We don’t have to look far to know this is true. And yet, we still tease ourselves with this idea. “If only it were me, I’d do it differently. Those “other people” were foolish.” Well, if you ask me, I was foolish. I wish I had those $2 back because I could buy you and me a coffee at McDonald’s and we could chat for 20 minutes. And that would be money well spent. And if you don’t like McDonald’s, Cumberland Farms is pretty cheap, too!
We all yearn for something more in life, and we all seem to try to fill this vacancy with things. But the most important things in life aren’t things. We know this. It’s inherent. May we be disciplined to see and live by the truth and not pursue foolish ventures. The next time I forego my chance at winning the jackpot I’ll buy a coffee with that $2 and maybe we can talk about what else is true in the world.
“Lord, give me enough so that I don’t doubt you, but not too much that I forget you.”
- My attempt at paraphrasing a Proverb I once heard