My personal answer to lottery fever

Published 7:06 pm Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Has anyone bought a lottery ticket in the last ten days? Now, come on. Tell the truth. It has been like a fever, hasn’t it? It has become one of the most popular questions in America.

“What would you do if you won all that money?”

A young boy had been raised in tremendous privilege and riches. He had never known poverty but his Granddaddy did. “Grandpa, how did you become so rich?”

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Well, son, I was down to my last quarter and I went into the grocery store and bought an apple. I sat down and polished that apple until it looked magnificent. Then I sold it for two quarters. The next day I went back into the store and bought two more apples.

I polished them with great diligence until they look tremendous and sold them for twice the money that I had the day before. I kept on doing that for a whole month. The grandson looked upon his Grandpa with great love and admiration for his hard work and success.

“And all that hard work, Grandpa, gained you the prosperity that we have today?”

“Oh heck no!” Grandpa said. “At the end of the month, I had enough money to buy a lottery ticket and I won the Powerball.”

I must say, the temptation for buying a lottery ticket is real and strong, but I haven’t fallen to it yet. I have a good and personal reason for not buying a ticket besides the impossible odds against winning.

Many years ago before Georgia had a lottery I lived in Florida. They had one and Lottery Fever hit one weekend as the jackpot climbed to over $50 million. That sum may seem paltry compared to today’s $1.3 billion, but in that day it led to the same situation we have today.

I’m not paragon of virtue these days and, back then, was even less. Still I felt that God wanted me to win the lottery.

I know now that it wasn’t true, but temptation can weave some mighty intricate tapestries.

I began to tell God, as if He did not know, how much I would do for Him when I won. I really was trying to influence God so that I would win. So far as my lottery winnings would allow, I would eradicate poverty, build new churches, and help all the needy people around. It was almost as if I were saying, “God, if I win all those millions, it will really be You winning.”

That night, as I went to bed, I could not sleep. All I thought of was the mansion I would build for myself, the yacht I would buy, the vacations around the world. Spending all that money on ME was all I thought. And I could not sleep!

Then a moment of spiritual inspiration came. Here I was, trying to sleep and I had not even won the money yet. What would happen if I actually did win? I might never get another peaceful night of sleep. I realized that winning the lottery was not for me.

So, I got up and prayed by the bed. “God, forgive me for thinking that winning the lottery would be better than the peace of mind I have right now. I pray that I have no numbers that are drawn.”

God answered that prayer. I learned a great lesson that night and have not bought a lottery ticket since. Now, if God wants me to play, He will have to give me the numbers. I won’t count on that!