Wednesday, July 25, 2012
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So I went into the gas station to prepay for a fill up and suddenly found myself in Crazyville. There was a long line in this small town store, all talking about what they'd do if they won. Oh, yeah, I had inadvertently walked into Lottery Fever.
Well, all over the news, folks were talking about their dreams for how they were going to spend this record-breaking $600 million-plus jackpot, even though the odds of winning were 1 in 176 million! I didn't buy a ticket. When I saw how much it cost, though, to fill up my vehicle, I thought maybe I'd have to win the lottery to buy my gas.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Lottery Fever and Other Contagious Diseases."
So, some lucky people won the jackpot, and I wish them well. But sadly, so many people who "struck it rich" struck out afterwards. There's story after story online of how winners' dreams turned to nightmares: divorce, bankruptcy, deep depression, conflict, and relentless "gold diggers" who want a piece of it.
You have more money to lose, to argue over, to waste, to keep you from fixing what's wrong inside. Money can improve your environment, but it can't do a thing about your invironment.
The Bible warns in 1 Timothy 6, our word for today from the Word of God. "People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."
Okay, now, it's human nature to attach our dreams to getting "more." And the cash lottery? It's not the only one we bet on. Some of us bet on the love lottery, thinking that finding the right someone to love us will make our dreams come true. But, as so many have discovered, winning at love doesn't guarantee happiness. And too often, the dream turns out to be a nightmare.
Life's got a lot of lotteries you can spend on, hoping your dreams will come true: the success lottery, the "be the best" lottery, the perfection lottery - perfect home, perfect kids, perfect image, the "affair" lottery. Buy lots of tickets; dream your "better life" dream. If you lose, you think that's why you're unhappy. If you win, you're more baffled than ever about why you're not happy.
We had a puppy once and she loved to chase bubbles. I'd wave that little wand of bubble solution, the bubbles would start descending toward the kitchen floor, and our dog would dance and jump and biting as many bubbles as she could. But as soon as she got what she was after - pop - it turned out to be nothing.
King Solomon had chased and caught a lot of bubbles in his day; lots of women, fame, historic projects, a buffet of pleasures, incalculable wealth. His return on investment? "I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind" (Ecclesiastes 1:14). Ultimately, this man who had won all the lotteries says: "Here is the conclusion of the matter: fear God and keep His commandments...remember your Creator in the days of your youth" (Ecclesiastes 12:13, 1).
Turns out we were "created by Him and for Him" (Colossians 1:16), and we're going to keep coming up empty until we experience the God-relationship we were made for. See, the One who made us is the only one big enough to fill that God-shaped hole in our heart. But since we've pretty much ignored Him and lived for ourselves, that relationship comes at a high price; paying the penalty for a lifetime of sinning.
And no matter how deep we dig, we'll never come up with enough to win forgiveness, peace, or eternal life. Oh, but the price has been paid on Good Friday, by Jesus on a cross. That's where the Bible says, "Though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, so that by His poverty He could make you rich" (2 Corinthians 8:9).
My spiritual bankruptcy traded for His eternal treasure, because He gave it all. It was an offer I could not resist. For so many, including me, our lifetime search ended at the feet of Jesus Christ, and that's where it will end for you. If you want to begin this ultimate relationship, the one you were made for, I encourage you to go to our website. It's there to help you get started with Jesus. YoursForLife.net.
He's been waiting for you for a long time to give you the peace, the purpose and the love that you've spent a whole life looking for.