Summary: People are looking for the big jackpot in life when in reality, there is only one real jackpot.
INTRO.- The big jackpot. What does that sound like? You guessed it.
ILL.- $365 Million Powerball Jackpot Beckoned, Saturday, February 18, 2006. The chances of winning the jackpot by matching all six numbers were 1 in 146 million. Powerball is played in 28 states plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands BUT NOT IN ARKANSAS!
On February 22, 2006, a group of eight coworkers at the ConAgra Foods plant in Lincoln, Neb., claimed that record $365 million jackpot. The group elected to take the cash option on the jackpot, valued at $177.3 million. Their respective shares will be $22,162,500. After withholding of 25 percent federal and 5 percent state tax, they will share $124.11 million or $15.5 million, respectively.
Have you ever bought a lottery ticket? Don’t answer that or raise your hand! I think I bought two lottery tickets in my life. Not bragging or complaining. Just stating a fact. I don’t like wasting money on something that I know is a waste.
Have you thought what you could do with $15.5 million dollars? Help your family/kids? Give to worldwide missions? Help the needy and poor of this world? Give to any worthwhile cause? And oh yes, get something for yourself or take a good long vacation.
It seems that most people in this world are interested in money. The big jackpot, etc. They figure with money they can have whatever else they want in life: a house, a car, a trip, a mate (enter Donald Trump or perhaps Larry King who has been married 7 times and now at age 72 is married to 46 year old Shawn Southwick, singer, model, TV host, etc.)
Some people are totally absorbed with wealth and material things or anything they think money can buy.
I Tim. 6:6-10 “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
Godliness with contentment. I’m not sure that any contentment is possible without godliness. Godliness or striving for godliness must first come before contentment will come. Could it be then that if we are not content it is because we are not godly? It certainly is a convicting and humbling thought.
Since we will take nothing with us when we leave this world into eternity why is it that we work so hard to accumulate so much in this life?
ILL.- I heard it said that some people reason this way when it comes to the difference between a need and a want. “If I want something badly enough it must be that I need it. Otherwise, I surely wouldn’t want it so badly.” HOW’S THAT FOR POOR REASONING?
Paul said, “But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” We should be content with food and clothing but we’re not. One of the big reasons for our discontent is the fact that we have been born and raised in America where we have everything. But our neighbors, the Joneses, keep buying stuff that we need for ourselves.
I’ve heard that there is nothing wrong with having money as long as money doesn’t have you. This goes for material things too.
ILL. - Richard Foster noted: “The demon in money is greed. Nothing can destroy human beings like the passion to possess.”
ILL.- Someone said that greed is the logical result of the belief that there is no life after death. We grab what we can, while we can, however we can and then hold on to it hard.
Matthew 16:26 “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?”
Brothers and sisters, we know that there is more to life than this life. Consequently, we realize that money and material things are not the most important things in life. We must live to prepare for eternity. But not everyone puts their eggs in that basket.
ILL..- This last week at least three famous Hollywood celebrities passed away: Don Knotts of “Andy Griffith” fame. He was 81 years old and died of pulmonary and respiratory complications at a Los Angeles hospital. Darren McGavin of “Night Stalker” fame and “A Christmas Story.” He was 83 years of age and died of natural causes. And then one of my favorites, Dennis Weaver of “Gunsmoke” fame as “Chester.” He was 81 years old and died from cancer complications. He was born and raised in my hometown, Joplin, MO, but 20 years ahead of me. My dad loved Chester on Gunsmoke. One very commendable thing was that Dennis married his childhood sweetheart and stayed married to her for 60 years. And he was very much interested in feeding the homeless.