Summary: This topic deals with the reality that money, things, and pleasure are not worth dedicating our lives too. We need to discover our purpose in God.

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What Am I Living For?

GNLCC 1/9/2005 Ecclesiastes 1:16-2:11 Matthew 22:34-40

If you were to take an honest examination of your life today, how would you answer the question “what am I living for.” What is it that you believe is worth your spending your life in the way you’re spending it? Each day is spent on something and we don’t get it back. What is it that once you’ve got it, you will feel as though you finally made it. You’ll feel happy at last. You will know that this is life as it is suppose to be. This is the good life.

A lot of people feel that, you know if I just had more money. My life would be all that and then some. I was listening to WCRF the other day and Dave Zenadis’ Ohio Round Table program came on. He spoke of Jack Whittaker. There were many of us who would have loved to have been in Jack’s shoes just a couple of years ago. Jack went to church. Jack had one granddaughter, 15 year old Brandi Bragg. On Christmas Day in the year 2002, Jack’s fantasy, the American fantasy, many of our own fantasy came true. Jack hit the lottery for 314.9 million dollars all by himself. It was the largest lottery win ever.

How would you have liked to have been Jack’s daughter Jack’s daughter would get out $5,000 per week to spend. His granddaughter Brandi would then get about $5,000 a week as a teenager. By the time she was 17 she had her own apartment and several cars including a Hummer and Cadillac Escalade. Jack had more money than he knew what to do with. He had received a lump sum of $113 million dollars, and he gladly paid tithes to his local church. That’s 11.3 million dollars of a tithe. Now if you were Jack or his teenage daughter what would you be living for?

We would think that a $113 million dollars would bring us so much happiness that we would not know what to do with it. You’re only partly right, and that’s the part of not knowing what to do with it. Since his winnings, Jack has been found in strip clubs. Jack developed a gambling addiction to high stake gambling. Jack was arrested twice in 2004 for drunk driving, and on January 2nd Jack was ordered to check into a rehab center. Last September, Jesse Tribble, an 18 year old friend of Brandi, was found dead in Jack’s house from an overdose of cocaine, oxycodone and methadone.

What about Brandi? Did her life take off like so many teens think it would with a $5,000 a week allowance. How many of you would be willing to be her friend. What she found was that everybody wanted a piece of her money, but very few were interested in her as a person. She had been A quiet young girl with a beautiful smile. By time she had reached 16, Jack said, “she is the most bitter 16 year old that I know.” Jack began to regret the toll the money was having on his family. Brandi turned to those who were using drugs to be her new friends. What can be more dangerous than a teenager experimenting with drugs with an unlimited amount of cash at hand? You know what happened next.

On Christmas Eve, two years after the Christmas Day Powerball Lottery Jackpot Win, Jack and his family buried Brandi, his only 17 year old granddaughter who was dead from a drug overdose. Her body was discovered wrapped in a sheet and plastic tarp, alongside a junked van at the home of her boyfriend.

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