News reports say that the Mega Millions lottery jackpot has jumped to $1.6 billion. “That’s a hunk of change,” my husband Jack commented. “You’d never have to work another day in your life.”
“I’m not sure I’d want to put up with the notoriety and the shysters trying to get a portion of it,” I replied.
That said, we did what many American couples are doing this morning; we dreamed together how we’d spend that $1.6 billion after taxes. ($800,000 million is still a lot of money.)
How we dream of spending a windfall of money:
- New car to replace our 2012 model.
- The house of our dreams. We don’t need a Biltmore. But a house with a walk-in closet and a wide front porch would be nice.
- A modest winter home to escape Midwest winters.
- Hassle free health insurance.
- Travel to our bucket list of places we’ve wanted to visit.
- invest the money so we would be well covered over the last decades of our lives.
How would you spend money to improve your life?
Then we asked each other, how would we spend the tithe? Giving too much money indiscriminately to our church or one organization would not be healthy for them. How could we give in a way that would truly build other people up?
Here are our ideas of how to tithe $800,000:
- Set up a matching fund for a para-church ministry’s capital improvement program.
- Scholarship program that would help preachers graduate debt free from college. We’d want the scholarship program set up to require the student to work, volunteer, and study hard so the student has some personal investment in their education rather than getting a free ride.
- Invest in micro-lending to third world small businesses and organizations that structure work opportunities for women to have options for useful work other than prostitution and sex traffic rings.
- Set up a trust fund so any gift would keep on giving.
How would you use a tenth of your lottery winnings to benefit others and grow God’s Kingdom?
We realized that winning the lottery or receiving a substantial inheritance could bless us so we could bless others. I added to my want list a chauffeur and a housekeeper. I realized that hiring others to help me benefits them by giving them employment After all, as Dolly Levi said in the musical, Hello Dolly,
“Money, pardon the expression, is like manure. It’s not worth a thing unless it’s spread around, encouraging young things to grow.”
In that case, let’s add a gardener! This would give three people employment and it would free me to do the work I do best.
“After all,” Jack said, “I don’t think I would want to stop working.”
Would you? Really?
Is it a sin to be wealthy?
Wealth in and of itself is not evil. It’s our attitude about wealth that can ruin us. If we view it as a tool in our hands rather than allow it to dictate how we live life, wealth can bring about a lot of good. Solomon encouraged his readers to honor the Lord with their wealth (Proverbs 3:9) and remarked that diligent hands bring wealth (Proverbs 10:4). Paul said the love of money, not money itself, is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10).
Paul is right. Wealth can ruin a person. It can tempt us to not work another day, to live life easy and expect the world to cater to us. It can tempt us to slide into unproductively which can lead to unfulfillment and depression. As Jack said, it could help improve our health but it could also provide the means to make life choices that would impede our health. We should treat wealth as a means to an end, for there are more important things in life than money and possessions. Solomon also said it’s better to have only a little combined with reverence for God than to have great wealth with turmoil (Proverbs 15:16).
After all, there are some things money simply can’t buy.
What would Jack and I like that money can’t buy?
- Several book contracts (yeah, yeah, I know. Self-publish. But there’s a lot more to self publishing than having the money to finance it and it’s not the best thing for me personally.)
- Our own daughters happy, productive, and contributing to the good of society and God’s Kingdom
- A couple dozen people we love to get serious about their commitment to Jesus Christ.
- A couple dozen more people to grasp faith in Christ.
What are the longings of your heart that money can’t buy?
I’m so glad our God has indescribable riches (Philippians 4:16) and wisdom (Romans 11:33). He is the One who will supply all my needs. With that said, I’m not planning to go out and purchase a lottery ticket. While a winning lottery ticket would ease life so I could do a lot of good for others, I’m content with what I have and I’ll depend on His riches to do the great things He designs for me to do. If God chooses to bring wealth into my life, I pray I’ll keep an eternal perspective as I try to make wise choices in how I use what God has given to me.