I remember the first time I won a lottery ticket: I was 19, and for kicks, I purchased a random scratch ticket (I can’t remember the kind). To my surprise, I won $50. Now, at the time, $50 felt like a lot of money (though it wasn’t). So you know what I did? I blew it on a few more scratch tickets. And then I didn’t have $50.
I never habitually bought tickets—I wasn’t a part of the company lottery ticket pool, or anything like that. But every once in a while, I’d grab one just to see if maybe it was “the one”: the one that would take care of all my money problems, and maybe let me do something nice for my mom, too. The only problem was I never won, ever. I realize this was God withholding something that would not have been good for me now. But then, I didn’t acknowledge God. I didn’t worship him. I worshipped getting rich.
If I had one god, it was money.
I’m not saying I have this problem licked—I don’t. I’ll admit, there are days when my mind lingers a little too long on the what-ifs, all usually around the theme of “if I had a little more money…” But something pulls me back before too long: the realization that money is not what I serve. It is not what I want most. Christ is.
What money can’t satisfy, Christ does. The satisfaction I’m tempted to try to find in money can’t be found there. Instead, as the late theologian Notorious B.I.G. said so well, “mo money, mo problems.” But Christ satisfies and fulfills us in a way that no other person, no object, no ideal, nor anything else ever can.
It’s no wonder that Spurgeon wrote in The Saint and His Savior, “…love to Christ is ‘the best antidote to idolatry;'[1. quoting James Hamilton] for it prevents any object from occupying the rightful throne of the Saviour” (250). Money and earthly possessions cannot deliver what only Christ can. A winning lottery ticket—whether it’s $950 million or $90—won’t bring happiness in the end. Whatever pleasure it brings is fleeting. What pleasures Christ offers satisfy eternally.
It took me a long time to figure that out. To be honest, there are times when I still forget it. But the fact remains: what a lottery can’t satisfy, Christ can. He holds nothing back. He offers us the greatest gift of all–himself. And that is more than enough.