There was a recent story in the NY Times about a family in my home state of New Jersey that had just won the $429.6 million Powerball jackpot—and what made it interesting is the reason they believed they had won.
Pearlie Mae Smith and her 7 adult children did not normally play the lottery. But on this particular day they decided to pool their money and buy a few tickets. It wasn’t the usual array of birth and anniversary dates that guided Ms. Smith’s choice of winning numbers. They mysteriously “popped” into her head.
Smith, who lives in Trenton and is a church pastor, believes they won the lottery through “divine intervention”. She believes this because her family has altruistic plans for the winnings and intend on helping their respective communities.
For instance, one co-winning sister who lives in Newark has ‘been leading a program to mentor young women” for 15 years and “will now have the money to fully underwrite it”. And all members of the winning family intend on “tithing 10 percent of their winnings to God”. Smith says about winning:
It was like affirmation from God because we each have dreams that we want to fulfill in this life, and do for our community and for each other and for our families…and we have been funded to do that.
So was this really a case of “divine intervention”? Did God decree that Pearlie Mae Smith and family were more worthy of winning the lottery than all the other ticket holders (including yours truly)?
I don’t think so, but I will say this. Recently, I wrote about the Bible passage “It is more blessed to give than to receive” and how it can be combined with the Law of Attraction to form this powerful maxim: Giving can make you a magnet for success, because good attracts good.
If there is a set of laws that guides the universe, I’d like to think they work something like that. Good attracts good. And that ultimately, those who put others ahead of themselves, receive their just rewards. If you parse Pastor Smith’s words above, it’s all about family and community first and the self, second.
But even if the $430 million jackpot was won by a stroke of sheer luck, it was refreshing to read about someone hitting the lottery who didn’t intend on keeping their day job at the plant, or who would end up blowing it all on a McMansion and a series of empty luxuries. The winners see the money not as way to enrich themselves, but as a tool to enrich the lives of those around them. To which I say, amen.