Photo by Alvimann on Morgue File.
You’ve just won $1 billion dollars in the local lottery. You do not have to pay tax on your winnings. How will you spend the money?
It is funny, for some reason or another, I was thinking about this very thing a day or two ago. Is this just coincidence or are the stars aligning on my behalf? Of course, it would help to buy a ticket I suppose. But, in my home state, we do not have the lottery, so you have to drive to a neighboring state to purchase a ticket. I know several people who do just that on a weekly basis. There is no telling how much money they spend on gas and the tickets. But, as I told a guy once, I know the odds of winning are slimmer than slim, but I guarantee your chances improve exponentially by burying a ticket, versus not doing so. Moral is simple: if you don’t buy a ticket your chances are exactly 0%.
Well, anywho, what would I do if I won? Well, that’s very simple. I would pay off all my debts. All my bills would be paid in full and even paid in advance, if allowed.
Beyond that, I don’t know. I would seek professional guidance as far as investments and savings.
No, I would not buy a sports franchise. I would not buy a six-figure automobile. I would not buy a mansion next to whatever celebrity is the hottest fad right now.
I might buy a new vehicle. I might build a new house. Maybe, maybe not . . . I don’t know.
Maybe a trip for the wife and/or family.
Donate some to church and charity.
And, that’s about it.
I know, kind of boring to what many would list I suppose.
It would be fun to find out though wouldn’t it?! I wouldn’t mind it in the least. I’ve heard people talk about how easy it is to blow such wealth. Well, I will volunteer to give it a go! I will, sacrificially, offer myself as an experiment to see if I could really hold on to my winnings. I know, I know, I am showing profound courage in this, but, I would gladly do it in the name of science or finance or whatever other name they may want to give it!
In all honesty, wealth is dangerous. As a believer, I have to remember the Bible gives some pretty stern warnings against wealth and money. Yes, I know money is not evil in itself; but, no one can read the Bible honestly, and not see the perils of money. When you look at Jesus, his teaching goes right in the face of the American way. I am afraid, we as American Christians, have mixed and mingled capitalism and Christianity to the point we can no longer separate the two. The syncretism has gone deep and taken strong roots.
It does not take much to be able to look around at modern-day Christianity in America; look at the books being published, listen to the messages coming from many pulpits, watch some of the TV shows now on the airwaves, to see the indulgence of wealth mingling with the message and purpose of the church.
We are close, (if not already over the precipice), of being fat and greedy like the Catholic church in the 15th and 16th centuries.
I wonder if Jesus would recognize his message and tenets in such extravagance: bloviated in pompous wealth and health heresies, dressed to the nines in greed and avarice, standing in the halls of enormous, egotistical edifices of pride and me-ism.
I wonder what Jesus would say to such things? I don’t know. Maybe something like: you have a name that you are alive, yet you are dead? Or, get behind me Satan? Or maybe, I will spew you out of my mouth? Or possibly, get behind me, I have never known you?
Something tells me it would be a more negative, than positive message. But, maybe it is just me.
I do know some things for sure: the Gospel and greed do not mix together; hubris and humility are the opposite of one another, pride and purity make strange bedfellows, capitalistic avarice and communal Christianity are light years apart; the call of the cross and sacrifice are contrary to the call of health/wealth, fame and fortune.
What would the church look like . . . what would she be able to accomplish, if she looked and sounded more like her Creator?
Wouldn’t it be great to find out?