Monday, January 11, 2016

Would you like to win a billion?

We’re walking the dog, the sun is shining on the frost, and all is well this morning in this corner of South Carolina. I’m thinking about one of the headlines occupying the newsfeeds. “Would you even want a billion dollars?” I ask my husband.

He looks at me. Wordless. Furrows his brows as though trying to decipher what foreign language had just come out of my mouth. There’s no doubt he would.

“I could see a few million, but can you imagine the horrors that would come with a billion?” I continue. “People would be chasing after us like dogs on a foxhunt. Sick people. Sad people. Villains. Kidnappers. We’d have to get bodyguards. Go incognito. Even disguise Laila.”

He’s not convinced. He thinks it’s simple—save out a few million, take care of the kids, and start a foundation to support ministries with the rest. That’s part of the dynamic of our relationship—I bring up all the complications of a situation, Bob initially dismisses them as overreactions. Eventually he comes around to my way of thinking, (smile) so I continue.

“Imagine if one of the kids decided they liked having enough money to be independent and got divorced? Or a relative thinks the hundred thousand we gave them was stingy, or my brother suddenly realizes that collection of Hardy Boys books I snitched from him was actually very special and caused him trauma? To say nothing of all the people we’ve probably offended over the years. Someone’s sure to find reason for a lawsuit.” I think back to grade school when I said poor Alice had lice and her mother marched up to our front door and made me look through Alice’s hair.

 I understand Bob’s genuine intent to set up a foundation (although I suspect lots of people negotiate with God about how generous they would be, as if he didn’t really know), but I don’t underestimate the deceits of the human heart. Especially my own.

A man in the convenience store the other day noticed me eyeing the fistful of little winning tickets he was cashing in. “Stand next to me and maybe it will rub off,” he offered. 

The lure of the lottery. Regardless of the impossibility, we love to dream we might be The One out of the whole 300,000,000 people in the US to win. We’d be the wise ones and invest carefully. We’d be the generous ones, the humble ones. But we wouldn’t put our trust in our wealth, no, we’d be aware that “in a blink of an eye wealth could sprout wings and fly away like an eagle.”—Prov. 23:5

Maybe so, but I think a good place to test that opinion of ourselves is to look at just how wise, generous, and humble we are with what we have right now.

Years ago we helped a plant Abundant Life church on Long Island. The six-foot tall pastor and his family lived upstairs in rooms so small they could stand in the bedroom doorway and fall into bed. After exhausting every inch of space in that building, they bought another, again utilizing every square foot to grow a ministry. To me they exemplified what it means to “be faithful in little and you will be faithful in much.”

Although I certainly wouldn’t mind having a healthier bank account (or a quaint island home in the Caribbean for that matter), today I have a warm house, a cupboard of food, a car that runs well, a body that’s holding up far better than might be with this mileage. This morning I witnessed a stunning sunrise. For all of this I am thankful. How about you?

And please stop by the lovely Fragrant Ink site today. My friend Cathy Baker has generously invited me to share about how I spend time with the Lord. 

In the joy of the Lord,


  1. After reading of the billion dollar lottery over the weekend, I daydreamed for awhile, I admit. I'd like to think I would be content with helping the kids, providing college funds for all the grands, living in the mountains, and giving away the rest to ministries but only God knows how having that kind of money might change me, my family. Marcia, thank you again for guest posting. I always learn something of signficance from you. Such a blessing!

  2. Wise words, Marcia. I am thankful for the Lord's gifts each day. Your posts are always a blessings.


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