The lottery is still out there—no winners (as of this printing). 654 million dollars with odds of wining estimated to be 1 in 302 million (according to local news). I would like to win this to pay off my mortgage and those of our sons and provide them and the Mrs. with all they would need for life. The extra could go into my dream foundation to support those qualified [?] who are in serious need of funds due to medical emergencies, etc.)
But for a believer, isn’t this God’s job?
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5 NIV
And if I trust Him in these matters, what could be my reason for wanting a half billion (with a ‘b’) dollars!? What would be my rationalized justification for wanting gobs of dough? What is it about the human heart that anyone should desire more than they would ever need!? And how might I square all this with the writer’s instruction to “be content“?
The New Testament represents this idea with two different words—one, of which, is found here: “love of money.” The other is translated “greed” or “covetousness” [I Thessalonians 2:5].
…seek[ing] rather to grasp what one has not; the second [word, then], to retain, and, by accumulating, to multiply that which one already has – Trench
Or said another way: Wanting more, having more, wanting more, having more, wanting more… (You get the point. [Luke 12:18]) It makes sense for Jesus to warn us about “serving mammon instead of God.” [Matthew 6:24] and instruct us to seek (in our hearts and minds) our happiness in the provision and promises which are part of His kingdom by a willingness to live within whatever means God provides for us here and now. [Matthew 5:3; I Timothy 6:8]
None of this means we should not seek to better our lives but there is a line we should not cross and, contrary to our desires, we do know in our conscience where that line is.
Exactly where in the Torah, the Old Testament, did God promise this? (Oh BTW, the Hebrew word for ‘promise’ is not in the Old Testament in reference to God. It was sufficient to remind us that this is something God said and He cannot lie [Numbers 23:19].)
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV
Was not Moses referencing a national security matter while His people were surrounded by enemies …and NOT an economic one? The writer to the Hebrews seemed to misplace the context of the promised presence of God. Or can we safely conclude that God’s guaranteed security is not just His protection from physical harm but also from the effects of financial disaster. Remember the prayer Jesus encouraged us to pray: “Give us this day our daily bread.…” [Matthew 6:11; Luke 11:3]. A half billion dollars sounds like a life-time supply when God asked us to think “daily.”
Brother Spurgeon took God’s promise in an even more general sense:
Will not the distresses of life and the pangs of death, will not the corruptions within and the temptations without, will not the trials from above and the temptations from beneath all seem but light afflictions when we can hide ourselves behind the bulwark of “He hath said?” – Charles Spurgeon
What drives our interest in such outlandish sums of money? (Most people could never manage such an astronomical amount. It’s like giving the keys to the car to a five years old and then keeping your fingers crossed. I don’t want to be in that car!)
I have been reading about the history of the global economy and what might appear to be its ultimate reasons for its collapse. (It is prophesied: Revelation 18:11) …and greed is a major driving force. Greed is—not for nothing—designated as one of the seven deadly sins.
I haven’t bought a ticket, and now you know why. My envy, though, over the winner will be another matter for another day….
Lord, help me!!
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one’ Matthew 6:13 NIV
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.