My gleeful imagination goes hay-wire when I begin to think of the endless possibilities of winning a $1.4 billion payday as was finally dealt to three Powerball jackpot winners this past week. Just by playing a $2.00 lottery ticket one can strike it rich! But we should get a grip, the complications may be greater than the reward. Here are a few reasons why:
- Everyone you know will become a friend – perhaps even your enemies. It is estimated that the average person comes into contact with 80,000 persons in our lifetime. If even 2,000 of those are folks we have become close to us, a big hearted Christian might see even a hefty $250MM payout could dry up faster than they might imagine.
- A Loss of true Community – One of the greatest joys of God gives us is community. Community is the most important commodity on the earth after family. Being wealthy means people may never appreciate us for who we really are. We all have a deep need for people to befriend us in truth, for our real identity, not because we’re loaded with cash. We need to be able to share burdens and hurts, be corrected and reproved; and the wealthy often live solitary lives in this regard. There would leave a huge psychological loneliness leading to emotional trauma when we cannot know who we can trust or who our true and earnest friends are.
- Money spoils you – money itself it not evil (the scripture has called it “unrighteous mammon”…but too much money simply becomes unbearable; and most importantly, we people cannot ‘handle’ riches without falling into sin. Wealth distorts our priorities, it becomes our ‘refuge and strong city’ (Prov. 18:11). The first thing often forgotten is our need of Christ. And then the gospel becomes a non-entity. Jesus says we cannot serve both God and money.
- The love of money is the root of every evil – 1 Timothy 6:10 – the Bible says that this craving led even some in the church to wander away from the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ; and inflicted them with many life pains! How deceived we are in thinking that a lot or even a little more ‘dough’ would make ‘everything all right.’ A love of money often comes with basking in it’s glory. Winning the Powerball might exacerbate hidden sin traits. But our ‘souls’ are the most important part of our being, risk being lost to the pains of eternal judgment, by falling prey to the love of money.
- You would likely become a thankless snob – the impoverished soul appreciates smaller blessings but to the wealthy, nothing tastes good. When you become wealthy instantly, eventually those vacations and amusements which were once unthinkable experiences become ordinary if not disappointing on a regular basis . This is what happens when we are amassed with the power to buy and accumulate ‘stuff.’ When our buying power increases our gratitude decreases. It’s the natural response of sin-stained hearts. We might think as Christians that we could control this, but if we were truly in control of our wealth, we would wisely divest of it anyway. Proverbs speaks much about wealth, and it is NOT anti-wealth (nor is the rest of scripture), but there are palpable warnings given about the rich:
a) They become critical; they answer harshly – Proverbs 18:23b) Often oppress the poor) Possess many (artificial) friends- Prov. 14:20d) Cannot rest well – Eccl 5:12
e) Wealth should be attained by hard work (not by a lottery) – Prov. 10:4
f) They tend to be ‘full’, and despise even good things – Prov. 27:7
g) Difficult to enter the Kingdom of Heaven – Matt. 19:24
Let me advise us all, work hard, enjoy everything you have been given by God, live within your means, and you’ll find that even with an average income, there are so many things God has richly given us to enjoy! 1 Timothy 6:6-8