What would you do if you won the MegaMillions Jackpot? All 540 million of it?
It is a far-fetched prospect; but one we’ve been playfully toying with around here lately. What if our little, old family came into hundreds of millions of payout? What if, all of a sudden, we went from a world of dealing with the here and now to one where we never had to worry about sending 5 kids to college, future health coverage, or retirement? What if we were suddenly in the awesome position of helping out a lot of people? What if we were faced with the overwhelming temptation of having too much?
On our way home from church last Saturday night, we stopped at the local convenient store to pick up a ticket and ruminate at the prospects of winning.
“I’d buy hundreds of Legos,” chirped one of my sons.
“I’d start a foundation and run it as my job,” shared my kind-hearted husband.
“I’d buy a new minivan,” was my response, thinking of our 14yo “Big Blue” and its rinky, tinky driving.
But what would we really do? As my husband and I discussed later, it’s one thing to balk at prospects of wealth, but another to actually be in the situation, surrounded by filthy rich temptations. Could we stay true to our godly character? Would we fall victim to exception after exception of excess? Could my husband really avoid the temptation of buying a BMW–or would he have to? It would all be so uncertain.As Christians, we are called to give and give generously. Jesus recounts tales of wealth time and time again in the New Testament, calling followers to give like the poor widow in Mark 12:44– “They all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.” Earlier in Matthew, he talks about the temptation of the rich–“Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
In many ways, I don’t envy the future winner. What a grand, painstaking task to choose to where and what amount one would give. There would be judgment and beggars and others showing up out of nowhere to peddle and purge and pickpocket. Almost like the greatest 540 million dollar problem anyone has ever encountered. But I can imagine no greater feeling of completeness leaving a trail of kindness and generosity across the world.
Are we still going to buy a ticket for tonight? Yes. And if, by chance, we happen to win, I pray we might find contentment in the good we can do and not in the abundance. “For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” 1 Tim. 6: 7-10