Last week the nationwide “Powerball” lottery in the U.S. was offering a jackpot that had grown to $1.5 billion. That is $999 million plus another $501 million. That is a staggering number of millions. This largest jackpot in history drew tremendous publicity and sometimes long lines made up of ticket buyers. If you live in the States, no doubt you heard about it.
440,321,172 tickets each costing $2 were sold before Saturday’s drawing. That means a massive number of people were “just hoping” they would win that enormous amount of money, and believing it would be great if they did. I have been surprised at the number of Christians who seem to think that way.
Consider Paul’s words: “Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction” (1 Timothy 6:9). Maybe I am missing something. Maybe people who play the lottery are just wanting to have fun. After all, it is called a game. Maybe they just want to “play” and really have no interest in getting rich. Hmm. What do you think?
The Bible does not say that money is evil. It says (1) that the love of money is the root of all evil, and (2) that wanting to get rich is perilous. I’m not interested in making a case against buying lottery tickets. People may have a lot of motivations. But I do want to encourage my brothers and sisters to be thoughtful, to “not be conformed to the pattern of this world,” and to be careful what we wish for. Events in our culture can help us examine our hearts.