The other day I was thinking about all of the worthy Christian ministry organizations I have become aware of in the past several years (e.g. TrueLife Mission). I thought about how much money they are all trying to raise in order to accomplish the mission God has given them. At one point I even thought about how much I could help them if I could just win the lottery!
Not About The Lottery!
Now before you start commenting one way or the other on the morality of a lottery or anything like that, please know that this post is not at all about the lottery itself. We are simply going to take a look, in this post AND the next one, at how we would (and should) handle such enormous wealth if it were at our disposal.
Have you ever thought about it? Have you ever dreamed of winning the lottery? I have and I don’t even play it! In fact, I have thought often about what I would do with that kind of money. Whether it came from a sudden windfall (like the lottery) or even from a successful business endeavor – what would you do with a huge sum of money?
Failed Previous Winners?
Certainly, when you look at the stories of many of those who HAVE won the lottery, it is sad to see how it has so often destroyed the winners. So many lottery winners have had a short and wild ride, but then end up in worse financial condition than they were in before the lottery paid them.
Reasons For Failure
There are many reasons for this, I am sure. One, they are not trained in how to handle such large sums of money. Another reason may be that with their additional income, they likely see themselves in another “class” of people. They feel they have to spend more to keep up with these people.
I am sure they also underestimate how expensive the higher class lifestyle can be. The more expensive house comes with higher property taxes, higher utilities and maintenance costs, etc. The expenses begin to snowball before they even realize what has happened.
An obvious reason is likely that they are not focused on what God would have them do with the money. While some are charitable to a point, many spend more of their time trying to protect their wealth from anything or anyone that may threaten it rather than seeing how they could give more.
It Would Be Different!
If you have ever thought about what you would do if you won the lottery, then you have likely told yourself you would never let those things happen to you, right?
You have probably said, like I have, that you would first tithe on the winnings. Then you would probably plan to give away a huge portion of the lottery winnings to other organizations. I have picked out several mission organizations that would benefit from my lottery winnings.
You likely determined that the next amount would be carved out to pay off all of your debt. Then, you would probably be determined not to let that debt get so high ever again. If you cannot afford something with your new lottery winnings, then you just won’t buy it!
You have also probably said that you would never allow your expenses to outrun your winnings – even unexpected expenses. You probably decided, like I did, that you would carve out another portion for savings – to be used in the event of an emergency. This is just smart thinking, right?
Avoid the “Jones'” Trap!
I would also bet you thought about how you would not allow yourself to fall into the trap of trying to keep up with others (the Jones’) who had similar or greater incomes. In fact, you have probably determined that this winning would not really change who you are or how you live today (for the most part).
Finally, if you are like me, you probably decided you would set aside some of the money for those small, unpredictable times when someone you know is in need. You would want to be able help those around you when they come upon a crisis and with your newfound wealth, that should not be a problem.
If I have left anything out, please let me know in the comments. Otherwise, stay tuned for the next post where we look at what I think we SHOULD do if we were to win the lottery. You may have some idea of where I am headed with this…we’ll see!
Have you thought about this?
What thoughts would you add?
What would you offer for our next post’s discussion?