Like carnival barkers, they line the highway and tempt travelers with a chance at the big prize, their multi-million dollar jackpot being far more enticing than a pink, stuffed elephant. The billboards of promise lure my thoughts from the monotony of the drive to fantasies of fortune.
Knowing that spending money on lottery tickets is wasteful foolishness, I think myself above such prodigal behavior--until about mile 50. At first, my thoughts are simple observations. $120 million. Wow, that's a lot of money!
The next billboard elicits a deeper consideration. I wonder what I'd do with $120 million. By the time I reach my destination, I know exactly what I'd do. With noble visions of a foundation for victims of human trafficking, I pitch my promise, "You can trust me, Lord. I'd be a good steward."
I stop to buy gas. As I enter the store, I see a rack of tickets. Remembering the slogan, "you can't win it if you're not in it," I'm convinced I need to give the Lord a chance to bless me. I deliberate over the choice of numbers. Should I use important dates? Should I let the computer pick? Should I leave it to the Lord and mark randomly?
I darken some circles, erase, darken others. My card is so smudgy the machine can't verify it, and I have to start over. Finally, certain my fortune is about to change, I hand over my ticket.
But as I walk to my car, my reverie takes an unexpected turn. I start to worry about what will happen when my win is announced. All kinds of people will be after me--friends, relatives, strangers, maybe even kidnappers. I'll have to disguise myself and get an unlisted number. We'll have to put the house for sale and move out immediately.
For the next several days I am preoccupied with all the demands of fame and fortune. By the time the day of the drawing arrives, I am fed up with spending so much time worrying about all my money. Still, I turn on the TV to witness my fate on the face of a little white ball. The numbers roll out. I am shocked. Not one matches mine.
I tear up my ticket. My disappointment blinks out, and my heart returns to the place of peace it knew before my foray into fantasy--a place anchored in the reality that my hope is not fixed on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. 1Tim. 6:17