Several years ago my wife and I took a summer trip to Las Vegas. One morning we went to breakfast at Denny’s and ended up meeting a lady from the Caribbean who was visiting Las Vegas with her husband. She was pleasant and sociable but behind it all there was some trepidation. She revealed to us that she had lost thousands of dollars last night in the casinos and did not know how to explain this to her husband. Even though my wife and I aren’t gamblers we could not help but feel sorry for her. As I looked out the window at the lavish hotels a moment of clarity hit me as to what is covering the expenditures of each of them. They exist because the statistics are overwhelmingly in favor of Vegas making money and gamblers losing theirs. The lottery works the same way.
The thing that draws many to the lottery is the possibilities. You could take 26 trips to the International Space Station. You could buy nearly 3 million new iPads. If you are the altruistic type, you could supply an average of 685,000 US households with gas for an entire year.
Now comes the lousy part which is the odds of winning Mega Millions. Essentially if you purchase 50 tickets per week, you will win the jackpot every 68,000 years. I am no statistician but I do not like those odds. According to the International Business Times, those earning $13,000 or less — spend about 9 percent of their income on tickets. This is a system that is built on the backs of the poor.
Even in the miniscule chance that one person wins Mega Millions, there used to be a popular saying in the hip-hop lexicon that states “Mo Money Mo Problems”. Please take a look at the tragic track record of past lottery winners.
- There was a California woman who won 1.3 million dollars and then suddenly divorced her husband. She never told her husband about the winnings but when he found out he sued her. According to state disclosure laws, the judge had ordered her to give all her winnings to her husband. Had she been honest and disclosed her wealth he would have only gotten half
- A Michigan Man won 3.1 million dollars in 1989 but ended up using it to buy crack cocaine. One thing led to another and he eventually ended up killing a woman over drugs. To make matters worse after he was charged lawyers stated he did not have any money left.
- A man won 20 million in the Illinois lottery and at least was generous with his winnings. He ended up buying houses and gifts for his family. Supposedly his sister in law did not think he was generous enough and with her boyfriend kidnapped, robbed, and killed him.
These tragic scenarios are warned about in Scripture. “Those who desire to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. They have pierced themselves with many a pang” (I Timothy 6: 7-10)
Money cannot buy you peace, joy, or fulfillment. Putting trust in money is like a House of Cards. How often do we hear tragic stories of lottery winners and rich athletes blowing all their money and then falling into a state of despondency? Next time you walk into a gas station and the guy in front of you is chasing the “dream” by purchasing a lottery ticket when you reach the front please say “Twenty five on pump four”.
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