The next Powerball drawing is Wednesday night. As I write this, the jackpot is somewhere around 3.2 bazillion dollars. That’s bazillion with a b.
While we’re all surprised at how high this thing has gotten, none of us should be surprised by the hysteria surrounding it. Saddened, sure. But not surprised.
As is usually the case with hysteria, there is a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding going around.
One of those lies tells us that if we took all of the money in the Powerball pot and distributed it to every American, poverty would be solved in this country because we’d all be millionaires. Every last red white and blue one of us. The problem with that is that the math just doesn’t work. But it goes deeper than that.
You can’t solve poverty simply by giving poor people a bunch of money. That’s a lesson that many of our elected and non-elected government officials have yet to learn. Even if the number did work, without the proper instruction and education, that money would be right back in the hands of the rich within a year.
Something else we’re told about Powerball is that winning it all will make your life happier, easier and funner. That also is not true. If you don’t believe me, Google the name Bud Post. He won over 16 million dollars in 1988. That’s million with an m. By the time 1989 rolled around, Post was a million dollars in debt. He would later call the whole experience a nightmare and say that he wished he had never won. Having an old girlfriend successfully sue you and a brother put out a hit on you will do that to you. Bud Post now lives on $450 a month and food stamps. So much for all of that money solving poverty.
Bud’s story is not unique. Evelyn Adams lost her millions gambling in Atlantic City. I’m sure that she had a great time. Now she lives in a low income neighborhood. Lara and Roger Grifiths lost their home, marriage and the jackpot. The stories go on and on.
But carry on with buying your ticket. I’m sure you’ll be different.
“You’re talking a big game now, Pastor but I’m sure you wouldn’t turn down that ten percent offering.”
Yes I would turn down that ten percent offering. And if your church is a legitimate one, it will do the same.
Yeah, I know. Think of all of the gyms and programs and buses and pews and computers and other shiny Jesus stuff that could be bought with that money. How on earth did the early church grow from just a handful of folks to an international movement that continues to thrive two thousand years later without that ten percent from some guy’s Powerball winnings? It’s almost like they had something supernatural behind their growth and influence. Hmmm.
There are churches that have been given large donations only to, much like our friend Bud Post, end up in debt a year or so later.
While money is important, it’s the Holy Spirit, not the lottery that fuels the true Church’s mission. And part of that mission is ministering to the poor, not feeding off of them in order to build nicer buildings.
A lot of people today are wondering what they will do if they win that big prize. I’ve got a few ideas.
- Hire some guy to successfully sue you.
- Convince your family members to try to kill you.
- Spend yourself into debt.
- Move into the projects.
That’s where you’re most likely headed anyway so why delay the inevitable?
So instead of dreaming about winning the lottery, just get up and go to your job tomorrow. Work on your marriage. Hug and teach your children. Listen to some good music. Enjoy a meal with friends. Laugh.
None of that is likely to get you a 3.2 bazillion dollar paycheck.
And that’s okay.
You’re better off without it.
Just ask Bud Post.