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It was just too much.  Too much temptation.  Too much potential.  Too much opportunity.  Just too much damn money not to play.   Yeah, I bought a ticket this week for the second largest Mega Millions Jackpot ever!  To all of my anti-gambling friends and advocates, please pardon me!  It was just too much.   $648 million to be exact.  After taxes it’s only $324 million… so, don’t get crazy on me.

As I stood in line at the local CEFCO, waiting to buy my ticket, I started fantasizing about what I would do with the winnings.  I thought of ALL the people and ALL the ministries I was going to bless with my new fortune.  How much fun would it be to dress up like a hobo, wander into the BMW dealership, spit tobacco juice onto their leather furniture (I don’t chew… not yet anyway), and order three dozen cars “to go,” like they were donuts or chicken tenders?  Then I’d be Santa for sure!   That would so rock!

MegaI’d sprinkle $10 bills in the streets like frikk’n Johnny Appleseed.  I’d buy a home for the guy outside of Walmart, who’s holding his little cardboard sign that reads, “I have faith in your grace.”  Dude, I’m so gonna rock your world one day!  I’d buy out Jerry Jones, invest in a car wash, build orphanages, help hospitals, finance missionaries, own a tattoo parlor . . . and a classy cigar bar too.  It’s gonna be awesome!

I made my purchase, folded my ticket, tucked it away in my wallet, and headed back to my truly awesome minivan to move on to the next chore.  But in that moment, as I shut the door—sitting in that muffled silence—right before I put the keys into the ignition, HE asked me a question.

The Holy Spirit can so poke into a moment.  It wasn’t brash or even abrupt.  It was like a velvet tongue depressor.  “Open wide son.  Let me take a look here.”


“Do you really believe it would be good for you?”  That was it.  I honestly wished there had been more elaboration, but it didn’t take long to work the metrics in my mind.  He didn’t need to elaborate.  I got it in a moment.

Listen, I’m ALL about wealth and the unbelievable blessings that flow from heaven, humanity, and industry.  Each is capable of incredible means and substance!  Like I said, I’M ALL ABOUT IT!

Generous people with sensitive hearts subsidize most of the ministry that happens in this world.  So, this isn’t a “money is bad” discussion.  Patti and I have seen God make His provision gloriously evident through the love and support of His people.  I don’t believe money is bad for one second.

But the question He was asking me struck another nerve.  The older I get, the more sensitive I seem to feel about the value of dependence upon God’s provision and protection.  Maybe it’s the natural decline of my aging physicality or the loosening grip of having to climb another mountain just because it’s there, but I don’t think I’ve had much appreciation about living in faith for much of anything.  Honestly, I’ve slain a lot of dragons.  But John the Beloved had something most dragon-slayers don’t.  Prophets and priests are much more about the heartbeat than the drumbeat.

Our religious bent is always looking for the big payoff.  The formula.  The easy way through.  And when religious men asked Jesus technical questions about religious technicalities, He rarely answered in the way they wanted, if He answered at all.  It was always so simple and blatantly hidden.

I think it requires another kind of rhythm to really savor the deep waters of trusting God.  In that prayer, the one that Jesus taught his disciples, are things that we still don’t get.

“Give us this day our daily bread.”

Honestly, I don’t even know where to start with this part of that prayer.  And, if I don’t know where to start, considering the way that I am now, how far would I be from this kind of flow with the Lord if I had the winning Mega numbers tucked away in my wallet?   “Give us this day our daily bread.”  Talk about blowing up sensitive dependence.  Wow!

stacks-of-moneySo let’s say you won that Jackpot.  $324 million becomes your instant blessing – or devil-racked curse.  What does that do for your “dependency factor” in how you relate to the Lord?  How much of your day would be spent protecting, investing, giving, loaning, stewarding, expanding, building, counting, and enjoying your money?  How many new friends and greedy enemies would you suddenly acquire?  Would you be ready to tackle that kind of responsibility?

I can’t say I’ve done any real research on this, but I did read one time that past lotto winners don’t have a very good track record of maintaining or growing their new wealth.  In fact, it’s not a pretty story… at all.

Do you think you could live unchanged and unchained by that much money?  Do you think you could remain sensitive to His voice, whether in a minivan or your new Escalade?

Hey, don’t get me wrong!  I DID buy a ticket.  Maybe you did too.  Most of us would at least give it a whirl I think.  I didn’t win and neither did you.  But that might be a good thing.  Probably.  Maybe.



(Oh, if you do play again… and win… please remember me when you come into your kingdom.)

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. December 19, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    Mike – great post. really great. i needed to hear it. and i loved the honesty. keep it coming!

    • December 19, 2013 at 6:16 pm

      Thanks for reading Stu! Mike

  2. December 20, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    SOOOO needed this today… didn’t sleep a WINK. literally a wink last night and most of my mind raced around $… how was this next step of faith away from “home” going to provide me comfort? OH YEH! Jesus is my comfort through and through no matter where i am… and should not worry for anything because where ever i am He is… Going before me, with me and behind me… Why do we fear? i definitely know that saying about “worry stealing the days strength” – it stole a nights sleep that’s for sure. No. i wouldn’t be ready for millions not in the least. to be content in all things and to take ONE DAY AT A TIME… is all i can handle right now.
    Thank you for sharing your heart today… i needed mine to be exposed by the transparency of yours… Good Words… Papa P.

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