Jackpot

Have you ever spent a fortune?  I don’t mean a few hundred bucks, or even a few thousand.  I’m not talking about the amount you might have dished out for a nice house in suburbia.  I’m talking about a fortune so large that you have to work at spending it.  Believe it or not, I have spent a fortune like that dozens of times.  Well, in my imagination anyway.  Every month or so a story pops up on the news about somebody winning a mega-lottery, and each time I hear it I begin again the process of deciding how I would spend my newfound riches.

The plan always begins the same.  Once I have given generously to my church (ensuring that our pastor doesn’t suffer from heart-failure), the first order of business is to pay off our home, vehicle and all our outstanding debts.  Next I maybe buy a new second vehicle for my wife.  I don’t need a new car or a new home. (Aren’t I a humble soul?)

Then things start to get fun.  I pay off all the homes of my and Lisa’s immediate family (and buy a home for those members who don’t yet have one).  I create great big education funds for all my nephews and nieces.  I charter a jet and take an amazing trip with 100 friends to somewhere beautiful, and then maybe another longer trip with a smaller group of friends.  And hey, why not one more trip with just Lisa and me, traveling the world and filling our passports.

When I get home from my trip, I become truly philanthropic.  I take great pleasure in helping my friends with vision to see the impossible become possible.  I bring relief to dear people in my life who are hamstrung by financial bondage.  I partner with charities that are near to my heart, enabling them to move forward in ways previously only dreamed of.  I buy my friend the retreat center he dreams of and set up a trust fund to cover his salary.

Finally I invest wisely, so that I will never have to worry about paying bills or covering expenses as I spend the rest of my life fulfilling the destiny that God has declared for my life.

Of course I realize that the chances of these well-worn daydreams coming true are exceedingly slim (especially since I do not buy lottery tickets), but it’s fun to imagine.

A few months ago I heard yet another story in the news of a lucky winner, but this story was different.  The prize was the largest undivided lottery jackpot in history – $590 million US…  and it was won by an 84 year old woman.  I was kind of amused that this aging widow had beat out so many others to claim such an immense treasure.  Who wouldn’t want a grandma to experience such good fortune?  Yet in a way, I actually found the story to be kind of sad.  I obviously have no idea what kind of life this woman lived.  I have no idea if her family is sincerely celebrating with her in a spirit of love, or if they have just been turned into a school of hungry sharks, biding their time until she passes away so they can feed on her estate.  What struck me was wondering that by the age of 84, how many times had she ‘spent her lottery’ in her head?  How many of her dreams had gone untried because she lacked the resources?  How much of her life had slipped by without her ever taking a step toward her really BIG dreams.  Of course I’m presuming much about this woman.  For all I know, she lived life to the full every day.  But the whole idea of someone finally striking it rich at the END of their life forced me to do a little self-examination.

I think a person’s ‘dream-plan’ for spending the lottery tells you a lot about their heart.  It provides the answer to the age-old question:  ‘What would you do if money were no object?’  What makes me uncomfortable is the haunting question that follows…  If that is what I would do with unlimited resources, why am I not investing my time, money and efforts into those things NOW with whatever resources I DO possess?  As a good friend recently said to me, “If you don’t give to others when you are poor, you won’t do it when you are rich.”

Of course I’m not going to look into renting a Boeing, nor am I about to start making mortgage payments for all of my family.  (Sorry guys.)  But why can’t I begin to invest in the lives and dreams of my friends and family with the resources I possess right now?  What is stopping me from becoming a greater support to the benevolent groups that I walk with?  And it’s not just about my money (although that is an important part of it).  In addition to investing finances where I am able, why can’t I dedicate time and effort to providing practical and moral support in ways that will drive people to their destiny?  What is stopping me from fervently praying for the Lord’s blessing in the lives of others, and responding when His answer is to BE that blessing?

Perhaps more than anything, I need to ask myself this question:  If God has called my name and has a plan for my life, what difference does it make if my bank account reads ‘jackpot’ or if it just reads ‘jack’?  If He has declared my destiny, then it IS possible and I can walk in it – for richer or for poorer.

I will likely never receive millions in cash, and that’s okay.  To live the life that God has for me I don’t need to.  To walk out the purposes of God for my life, the only resources I need are His love and the opportunity to share it.  When it comes to those assets, I am rich indeed.

Luke 16:10; Luke 21:1-4; Matthew 6:21

Comments

Posted On
Jan 25, 2014
Posted By
Gail Wightman

Hey Tim, well said! Money isn’t the culprit, it’s the LOVE of money! Money can be used to heal, help and bring joy Thank God, not just to cause pain and sorrow through hoarding and greed! I don’t buy lottery tickets either just because! Love your “frank” and “thoughtful” blogs! 🙂

Posted On
Jun 30, 2014
Posted By
Jean-Marc & Danielle Comeau

Hi Tim, hope this email finds you well and Lisa as well. We are reading Alain’s book – Apostolic centres – and we came accross the part you wrote : WOW WOW and Re WOW, so well written, simple words used so easy to understand for all of us no matter our scholarship, it flows. We appreciated very much your honesty and humility you demonstrated in revealing parts of yourself. Somehow we recognized ourselves in some parts you mentioned if not most of it. and it did to us so good (cela nous a fait tellement de bien) to know that we were not the only one having such struggling in our life. Because of what you shared, the Lord is healing us and helping us to have trust in church again. So many christians in the Outaouais region have been through some rough times like that and they just left the church, ensanglante, blesse et seul.

You have such a gift for writing your story, you have so much to say which will bring healing in the christians” heart and soul. We could easily imagine mny people coming back to church because of your story. We just want to read you more and more. Thanks so much for having shared this part of you with the readers –
May God bless both of you abundantly. Danielle & Jean-Marc Comeau

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