Summary: Do members of your church buy lottery tickets? This sermon deals with Lottery winners and how it affected their lives.
Do You Want To Be Rich?
6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain.
7For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
8And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.
9But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.
10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
11But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.
12Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
13I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate,
14that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ's appearing,
15which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords,
16who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.
17Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.
18Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share,
19storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
Our scripture today says it's a mistake to love money.
It doesn't say money is evil!
It says "the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil".
It amazes me that many Christians buy lottery tickets.
They think winning millions would make them happy.
I have a true story to tell you.
On December 25, 2002, West Virginia building contractor Jack Whittaker Jr. won $315 million in the Powerball multi-state lottery, at that time the largest jackpot in history won by a single person. His ticket was worth $314 million. By the time taxes had taken a cut, Jack came away with almost $114 million.
At the time, he was the president of a successful contracting firm. 55-year-old Whittaker was living a successfully comfortable life complete with a well rounded family, great job and healthy grandkids. After winning the prize, he pledged 10% of his winnings to various Christian charities and created the Jack Whittaker Foundation a non-profit organization that provides food and clothing to low-income families in rural West Virginia with another $14 million. Furthermore, for the woman who worked the counter at the convenience store where he purchased the winning ticket, he bought her a $123,000 house, a new Dodge Ram truck, and gave her $50,000 cash.
Whittaker did some good, but his bad deeds make his story. He was arrested twice, once for drunk driving and once for threatening a bar manager. A woman sued him after he groped her at a racetrack. Thieves took $545,000 in cash from Whittaker's car while he was visiting a strip club. About a year later, thieves again stole $200,000 from his car. Caesars Atlantic City sued him for bouncing $1.5 million in checks.
With this change on the inside, some outward changes soon followed. He once took pride in his appearance, but now his clothes were wrinkled and soiled with food and drink and his negligence with a razor gave him the look of a run-down hobo. When he came to the bars, he was so arrogant and belligerent that few really wanted to be around him. But because of his Powerball winnings, people felt obligated to put up with his antics.
Jewell was trying her best to lead a semblance of the way that life used to be. She continued to go to church and took the Bible literally. She greatly disapproved of Jack's drinking, gambling, and otherwise "horsing around." Because of her disapproval, Jack just started trying to do more bad things. His wife divorced him. In 2003, Whittaker's granddaughter's boyfriend was found dead of an overdose inside Whittaker's home. His 17-year-old granddaughter had been receiving a $2,100 weekly allowance. Because she had money, her set of friends changed. Some predators who sold drugs soon enticed her into smoking marijuana which progressed to crack cocaine and finally to methamphetamines. On December 24, 2005, Jack and his-estranged wife, Jewell, were sitting at Brandi's funeral. She had died of an overdose.
By the way, Jack did give $7 million dollars to split between three churches. One of the churches was a little small church that had averaged an attendance of about 50. They sold the old place and built a big new one that will seat 500. It has nearly destroyed that church. Many of the people in town have such disdain for that church that they refuse to go to it simply because of who paid for it. Whittaker, now with no family and no fortune, said "I wish I'd torn that ticket up."