Well yes indeed someone won the largest lottery jackpot in the history of the known world. It is all over the media. I heard people talking about this morning in the gym. I overheard three conversations this morning at breakfast. People are still talking about what they would have done had their numbers been drawn. One man sitting at the counter of a nearby restaurant yelled out to all of the regulars as they entered the establishment, “I am still here so you know I didn’t win!” Everyone had a chuckle as well as a comment. Lotteries and other forms of gambling have become deeply woven into the fabric of our nation. So I am not going to moralize about the evils of gambling, or even describe lotteries by my favorite definition: ” a tax on the ignorant.” Rather today I would like to examine the phenomena of “lottery fever.” I have to admit all of those who I have come across today do not seem bitter that they did not win. They were joking and smiling as they wistfully described what their plans would have been had they only won.
Lotteries live off of promises. In our state the teachers pension funds are in poor shape, yet we were promised years ago that the money from lottery ticket sales would fund this with no problems. We were also told that our roads who be paved with the money generated from the sales of lottery tickets. Yet our Governor and legislature are embroiled in a fierce battle over how to pay for our deteriorating roads. I, for one thought the lottery had all of this covered! Yet, Indiana rather than being the ‘crossroads of America’ has become the ‘rough roads of America.’ I think I now understand the allure of the lottery. It promises to fix our problems easily and automatically and who doesn’t want their problems fixed easily.
The lottery also promises me that all my troubles can be over via a $2 ticket. What a deal. It all seems harmless really, except for the server at the restaurant this morning who showed me her 60 ticket receipts. I imagine the $120 she spent represented some hours of labor. The radio reminds me that our state still has no solution to fix our roads. Promises. Bad roads, underfunded pensions, and a fistful of lottery receipts. Promises have to based on something more than empty words and good intentions.
Let me tell you a promise I have gambled my entire life on: Jesus Christ is Lord! You see a promise is only as good as the one making the promise. Some people who think it is fun and reasonable to buy lottery tickets, think I am the one who is gambling. Again, I am concerned that we are raising generations who think that gambling replaces hard word, thrift, and conservation. (I am sorry I had to insert one moralizing sentence, now I feel better and back to the main point) All of us look at the choices presented and then decide how we will live. My hope is that Jesus is Lord, but even when I leave here and should discover I am wrong, it will be okay. It has been a good life, and a good way to live. I have lived a full life, and met some incredible people. Opportunities have been afforded me that would have never have come my way accept for the fact that I decided to follow Christ. Forgive me if today, I am smiling as much as a lottery winner. My life has been redeemed and I have as of yet not gotten over it.