During a recent lottery shindig, everybody was watching to see who was going to win all that money. Even I got all caught up in the excitement and was on the edge of my seat too.
“Why,” the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage said, “are you so interested in that lottery?”
“Well,” I said as soberly as possible, “what if I win all that money? Wouldn’t that be tremendous?” Then I ﬂashed a gracious million-dollar smile at her.
She just stared at me, rolled her eyes and walked away. As she was walking away, she mumbled something like, “You gotta pay if you’re gonna win.”
Oh yeah, I thought to myself. I am sitting in my chair wondering what in the world I would do with all that money if I actually would win it when in reality I am not even playing the lottery. I just got all caught up with the idea of winning money.
Even if I did play, according to some statistics, only one person in 300 million had a chance of winning that lottery. I’m not sure how they come up with such statistics; I am rather suspicious of the whole thing.
I remember a favorite saying of the late Will Rogers, “All I know is what I read in the newspaper.” That was long before all of this media electronic nonsense that we have today. I think he might change his saying something like this, “All I know is what I see on TV.” Or, some of the younger group might include the Internet.
I am not a skeptic, mind you, I just do not believe everything I hear or see these days. I never guess how much change I have in my pocket, I always count it. I never want to guess at anything.
Some people believe everything they hear and see on TV these days. I think most of it is just entertainment. Entertainment has become such an obsession these days that it is hard to get away from it.
We watch programs that solve problems that don’t even exist. We get all excited about somebody playing some role on some ﬁctitious TV program. Don’t get me started on those reality shows!
I can remember when the TV program Dallas was very popular. They ended one season with the mysterious killing of JR. All of the media went crazy, even across Europe, wondering, “Who killed JR?” I wonder how many people stopped to think that JR was not even a real person.
I am not against winning money, I want to win as much money as I can. However, I think it is a ruse to get people’s attention. Even I was watching to see who was going to win all of that money. That is exactly what they wanted.
Again, I am not a skeptic, but I wonder if that person that won all that money was a real person? Or, was it some kind of ruse to get people to watch television at that point? From another angle, how much did they really pay that woman to say that she won all that money?
Okay, okay I admit it! I am a skeptic. But I’m a skeptic with good intentions. At least I believe they are good. I just do not want to be sold a bill of goods that somebody is trying to take advantage of me.
I do not believe everything I see and hear. I do not agree with everything I see or hear these days. How in the world could you? How in the world could anybody?
I try to be careful because I know not everybody has an agenda and not everybody is out to pick my pocket. It only takes one person to cause me to be very cautious about everything.
I think one of the great areas where I need to be very cautious is in religion. Religion has made many promises throughout the years that it has yet to make good on. I want something more solid than religion. Everybody is religious, one way or the other. Sometimes, I will not say always, religion is out to pick your pocket.
That is one of the reasons why I am a Christian. I do not have anything in my pocket that God would want to pick. There is nothing I have that would in any way enrich the heavenly coffers of God.
The other way around is where I am at. So much God has I desire and want in my life. I cannot enrich God, but God can enrich me beyond my wildest imagination. Believe me; my imagination can get pretty wild at times.
The only way I can really ﬁnd out what God has for me is to commit myself to the systematic reading of God’s word. I do not believe in that slogan, “A verse a day keeps the devil away.” Read the story of the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness and you will see the devil used Scripture to attack Jesus.
I believe David in the Old Testament understood the riches that God had for his people. He wrote, “For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation” (Psalms 149:4).
It would be wonderful to win $750 million, but after all, it is only money and eventually that money runs out. God’s pleasure never runs out.
[Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with his wife in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at 352-687-4240 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The church web site is www. whatafellowship.com.]