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I work hard, paid my way through college, and together my husband and I have several small businesses that we have devoted our lives and effort to, but when I saw that the lottery had reached $1.4 billion and counting, I wondered whether it might be fun to buy a few tickets. (It really isn't something that we do.)
We could take better care of our parents, get out of debt and even give to our favorite charities. I'm not a gambler, but what do you think? What's the big deal if I skip a cup of coffee and get a few lottery tickets?
Wishing for a Jackpot
While I appreciate that there are lots of great, even charitable things that you can do with the money — if you ever won — that's a big IF. To be perfectly honest, you're more likely to be wishing on a falling star that hits you than you are to win the lottery. The odds of being killed by a meteorite (a falling star) are roughly 1 in 250,000, while your odds of winning the Powerball is 1 in 292.2 MILLION. The big jackpot tends to cause people to forget to do the math.
While it's true that you could redirect a few dollars from coffee to lottery tickets, the fact is that when you buy a cup of coffee, you get something for your money. Would you throw $2 out the window hoping $100 would fly back in while driving down the freeway?
Contrary to investing where everyone can win, the lottery is predicated on everyone losing except a few. That makes gambling a lousy form of entertainment and its victims are typically those who can't afford the loss, even if it is just $5 worth of tickets.
The Bible in fact is direct in arguing against a huge sum of money, instantly attained.
"Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow," notes Proverbs 13:11 and later in chapter 21 verse 21 we read, "An inheritance claimed too soon will not be blessed at the end."
This likely explains why so many lottery winners file bankruptcy after receiving their windfall.
Hard work, daily work, builds not only character but also reliable wealth, earned in a way that brings glory to God.
I don't believe in luck — good or bad. And I certainly don't want to put my faith in a process based on it.
Proverbs 24:3-4 says, "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures."
What that means is that we need to learn, to work, to seek our prosperity with the resources God has given us and through the development of our minds.
I've written before that when you buy a lottery ticket to try and win some money, you are saying by your actions: "By the lottery my house will be built and through great luck it will surely be established. Through random picking of numbers its rooms will be filled with rare and beautiful treasures."
That's why I don't wish people "Good Luck" or take a chance on a lottery ticket. I want the fruit of my labors, blessed by God, to grow little by little as He has instructed. And I don't want to be tempted to fix my heart on the money alone.
Perhaps one of the reasons that God encourages us to build wealth slowly is because He knows that it keeps us focused on our need for Him and the value of hard work.
As Christians, we don't need "Good Luck." We need the help of a loving God who is in control of our lives.
"The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord (Proverbs 16:13).
Being in a hurry for quick riches gets you nowhere fast. Or as Proverbs 21:5 notes, "The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty."
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