Mark 8:36 English Standard Version (ESV)
36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?
I woke up today with absolute certainty that I had not won the lottery, the biggest in history, from what I understand. I might have wondered differently if I had actually bought a ticket. Now, before you start thinking I’m being a judgmental self-righteous Christian telling you gambling is a sin and that you’re doomed to hell for buying tickets, stop right there. Stop reading this post right now and go back to the very beginning of this blog where I tell you it’s all about me. This blog is about me; the failures described here are about me; the interpretations of the scriptures are about me. It’s my life I’m talking about, not yours. Ok?
We good? Good. Let’s move on then…
I have never wanted to be rich. I’ve always wanted to be debt free, but that’s a different concept. I’ve lived through too many examples of the kind of damage that having too much money can do. I was raised poor but with all of my needs met and once, when I had a job making three times as much as the highest paying job I had ever had, I became a complete idiot with the money. I’m blessed to have survived the aftermath of a layoff with my sanity. I know a lot of people that were laid off with me lost everything.
The scripture from Mark that I used at the beginning of this post is about more than money though. To me, it’s about what we treasure most. Look at today’s inCouragement calendar:
Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. ~Hebrews 11:1
I’ve always thought of those words in the context of believing in God.
But that morning it seemed the One Who Loves Us whispered that part of faith is also about believing that our obedience makes a difference- when we can’t see the results.
~Holley Gerth, Heart to Heart With Holley
My Input: Holley’s thoughts about faith had never occurred to me but the concept isn’t too far fetched. I mean, I used to see the Bible as a rule book that I just couldn’t keep up with. I used to think I had to beg God to help me or to bless me and then list all the things I had done or not done in order to convince Him I deserved it. Winning the lottery used to be on that list. Oh, yes. I used to try to convince God that He knew I would just turn around and give most of it back (after I got myself and my family out of debt and bought an island and a new truck and all the other junk I didn’t need)… yeah, I made those promises. You ever do that? Tell God, “I’m gonna buy a piece of land so big my whole family can all build houses on it!” We all know better… I’m convinced God does, too.
I tried searching the Bible for wisdom on the topic of gambling and it all boils down to Matthew 6:21 for me. Where my heart is shows what my real treasure is. If what really drives me is money, or if it’s sports (Go Vols), or my kids, or service to my church or my job; if it’s anything BUT chasing after the heart of God, then that thing becomes my God. If He’s not first, in my life at least, He may as well be last.
Only this past year have I come to understand that the more I choose to seek the face of God instead of His hand, the more obedient I become. I mean that like this: the more I choose Christ and the more I strive to respond to this life like He would, the more willing I become to lose things- things like bitterness, rage, hate, competition, envy, jealousy, greed…The more I lean into Him, the more thankful I become for the grace that was shown to me, the more grace comes to me. Is that crazy or what?! Gratitude with an open and obedient (meaning, “Yes God, please change me because I’ve been such a stinking train wreck all these years!”) heart causes change in my life that leads to more gratitude!
So, there you go. I didn’t win the lottery. I’m no billionaire today. But I am rich. You better believe it! Because I accepted Him, I am a child of the One True King!