“The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.” (Proverbs 21:5)
Mega Millions is the multi-state lottery that produced three winners in March 2012 with a jackpot of $656 million, the largest in the history of the United States at the time. The previous largest jackpot was $390 million in 2007.
You can play Mega Millions with only $1 per ticket. According to Megamillions.com, “In addition to the jackpot, there are other prizes ranging from $2 to $250,000.” Your overall chance of winning a prize is 1 in 40 (most are $2 prizes). The chance in winning the jackpot is 1 in 175,711,536. This means that 175,711,535 people will not win. USA Today calculated the odds that “You are almost 9 times more likely to die from a TV falling on your head this year” than winning the lottery!
With the odds so against the average person winning, why do people continue to buy tickets? Proverbs 28:20 tell us that people desire to get rich. The lure of wealth and of the potential of a better life dangles in front of us like our favorite food. After all, it’s only a dollar. Or maybe it’s only $1, $2, or $3 a week. What harm can that do?
When calculated over a month, $3 a week becomes $12; an entire year is $144 and a 5-year span is $720. How much would it cost a typical adult in his or her lifetime of week-after-week buying $3 in lottery tickets? Almost $8,000! It is statistically impossible to win and this money is lost forever.
Should the person who desires to faithfully serve Jesus Christ purchase lottery tickets? Does the Bible forbid it? Not directly. However, John the Baptist answers the question of some soldiers who wanted to know how they might know God. He gives his answer in Luke 3:14b – “…be content with your pay.” The Apostle Paul also said, “I have learned to be content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living plenty or in want. I can do all things through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:12b)
Contentment is an important character trait for the slave of Jesus Christ. It communicates to God that He is enough. It tells God and the world that He is all that matters and He is one’s ultimate satisfaction. If the desire to get rich becomes a temptation, the Christian goes to his Master in prayer and deals with it then and there.
God created work and He created the principle of saving. Work, when performed in the power of the Holy Spirit, can be a fulfilling and rewarding endeavor. It is almost for certain that if one saves $3 a week for an adult lifetime that he or she will accumulate $8,000 or more. The lottery player has virtually no chance of this happening.
May we be the wise, godly stewards and place our hope in Jesus Christ alone, satisfied with Him.