What would you do with the money!? Quick math (you can check on me) indicates that you would need to spend $136,986 per day in order to spend 1.5 billion dollars in 30 years! I know the pay out wasn’t a full 1.5 billion dollars but little math games like this put big numbers into perspective for me.
Three people split the jackpot and several others won lesser life changing amounts last night by betting on the lottery. I imagine that many people that I know purchased a ticket and I would not judge them for doing so. Gambling addiction is real, and yet for many who bought tickets it was just a whimsical way of entertainment.
But I think that the Powerball is a symbol that points to a deep reality in our culture. If a person from the future was looking for artifacts that helped to define our culture a lottery ticket might serve as a pretty helpful tool (if they could actually understand what the numbers represented.)
I say this because we live in a culture defined by quick and easy materialism. The Internet is rarely quick enough for us. Service is rarely quick enough for us. Standing in line is the consumer nightmare. And work is a means to ease. I believe that many would outright say that a life that requires no work is a worthy goal.
The lottery works because many of us believe that it would be helpful to have all the money without any of the work. The lottery works because so many of us dream of a life with all that money. Sure we would do some really good things with that money . . . But we would also alter our relationship to work pretty quickly.
But God has made us to work. It really seems to be a clearly biblical principle that diligent faithfulness over time is better than the pathway of ease and quickly obtained wealth. It is interesting that Paul says , “For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.” (ESV) in 2 Thessalonians 3:10. Work is fundamental to what it means to be human.
Many people woke up this morning to return to their jobs, because they didn’t win the millions. And it just may be that God was gracious to allow us to remain in the long term process of obedience in a life of ongoing character development. The lottery represent something in our culture that points to our elevation of wealth and ease. But the Kingdom of God is one of work, service, patience, and self-control.
I would love to hear other opinions on the subject of the lottery. Please leave comments either on this page or on my Facebook Page!