The jackpot for tomorrow’s Powerball has reached a world record of 1.5 billion dollars. Whoever picks the lucky numbers will receive a 1.5 billion dollar annuity paid out over 30 years or a cash total worth $930 million.
The millions of Americans who have purchased lottery tickets in hopes of winning this 1.5 billion dollar prize have, no doubt, imagined what they would do if they won the jackpot. Surely, near the top of the list for most people would be, “I’d give a big chunk to my church.” But let’s think about that for a second.
I’m reminded of the preacher who once went to a rather wealthy business man in his congregation to ask for a donation for some much-needed funds. The business man looked rather shocked that the preacher would ask him for a donation, so said to the preacher, “Are you not aware that my mother needs 24 hour nursing care?” “No,” said the preacher. “Are you not aware that my children have accumulated several hundred thousand dollars worth of student loan debt?” Again, the preacher said, “No.” “Are you not aware that my sister is widowed and trying to raise her five children on a waitress’ salary?” Feeling a bit embarrassed at this point, the preacher again softly said, “No, I didn’t.” Then the businessman said, “Preacher, if I won’t help any of them, then what makes you think I’d help you?”
The purpose for the illustration above is to demonstrate that whether we help the church or not has little to do with how much money we have or what our circumstances in life are. It boils down to a matter of the heart.
Just think how much money “the church” would have if all these people who plan to give a big chunk of their winnings to the church would have given to the church the two dollars their lottery ticket cost? The cause of Christ doesn’t need an improbable lucky winner to leave a fortune, it needs an army of faithful servants who are willing to make a sacrifice with the little they have.
To all those who seek to give a “great sum” of money to the church if they win the $1.5 billion jackpot, I would like to remind you of what Jesus said about the Scribes who gave to the treasury out of their great abundance and the poor widow who sacrificially gave out of her poverty (Luke 21:1-4). Tell me, which did the Lord praise?