“The next Lotto 6/49 jackpot is an estimated 16 million dollars.” When you hear something like that, the temptation is to imagine how that sum could solve all your problems. The temptation is to disregard God’s Word in passages like 1 Timothy 5:9-10, “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”
It’s taught in God’s Word, but even some unbelievers come close to recognizing its truth. Ask Jane Park. This Scottish young woman won $1.6 million in the EuroMillions lottery in 2013 – when she was just 17 years old. Today she says it ruined her life. The shopping and spending quickly got old. She says, “I have material things, but apart from that my life is empty. What is my purpose in life?” Moreover, she claims to be desperately lonely. Any time a man shows interest in her, she can’t be sure whether it’s her he’s after or just her money. Strangely, she blames her problems on the lottery itself and the fact that British law allows a 17 year old to win when, if they do win, they will not be capable of handling it.
In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus described the seed sown among the thorns as those who hear the word, “but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desire for other things enter in and choke out the word…” (Mark 4:19). Jesus said that riches lie to us, and those lies make the hearing of God’s Word unfruitful for us. Riches lie – for example, telling us that we will be happier if we just have a little more. The problem is when we believe the lie. Instead, we should listen to God’s truth. It’s like the Puritan Jeremiah Burroughs put it: “Contentment does not come from addition, but from subtraction. Contentment comes from subtracting our sinful desires for more.” You see, the problem is not really the lottery, but the sinful, covetous desires of the human heart. Sadly, Jane Park doesn’t get that. Do you?