Winning the Lottery

Today we start grappling with what most consider the meat of Luke 4:14-21. The Spirit of the Lord has anointed Jesus “to preach good news to the poor.” First mentioned are “the poor!” If we flip over to Matthew 5 and the Sermon on the Mount, I note that the first mentioned for blessing are also the poor. “Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” What would I hope to hear? Perhaps we can imagine what it might be like to win the lottery.

True, we invested to buy the ticket but the value of the prize is of so much more worth than the effort we put forth. For all my whining about tithing, having to go to church, all the spiritual disciplines the church teaches, the ultimate good news is that for the little I invest, the future is so much more than I can even imagine.

True, we invest in buying the ticket but the prize is still a gift. I don’t “earn” the lottery reward, the check is handed to me. I bow my head and admit my sinfulness, my need for God in my life and my willingness to live by his rules but God is the one who saves me on the cross, empowers my life now, hears my prayers and leads and guides me. That is all gift, not to mention eternity.

True, we invest to buy the ticket and there is a temptation to look at others who seem to be cutting corners or cheating and so to feel like the game is rigged. But ultimately I imagine few lottery winners truly understand exactly show the decision is made. Comparisonitis is a pothole we can fall into.

But faith is not a game of chance. There is not just one winner. The good news is that eternity is so much more than we can even imagine. Salvation is a gift, not earned. We do not need to compare ourselves to others to be worthy or better than they. We are God’s unique creation. Truly the Gospel is good news to the poor along any spectrum. We may not believe in gambling to win the lottery but we can smile and rejoice that we are in a relationship with a future. Blessings as we live trusting the future that is secure.

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