How the New Covenant Rescued Me from Lotto Lust (Guest Post)
I awoke this morning with this thought rolling around in my mind: “What would I do with all that money.” In case you have been under a rock for the last three days, this morning’s thought dawned courtesy of the Mega Millions lottery drawing on Friday March 30th. The story of the biggest lotto ever led the headlines for at least two days. So, the question on my mind had already been the topic of multiple conversations on radio talk shows, television and around office water coolers. (Since we don’t have a water cooler in our church office, nobody was talking much about it).
The lines at our local King Soopers to purchase tickets the afternoon of the drawing were longer than the Starbucks line on a Friday morning. In fact, the store management opened two lines to accommodate the purchasers. These lines were trivial by comparison in some places that circled the block around the store that sold the tickets.
The euphoria preceding the big draw was palpable. While I was picking out a bunch of nearly ripe bananas, a man came up to his wife and two sons next to me and declared: “I just told everyone behind me the game is over. I just purchased the winning ticket!” They laughed. I wondered. Why does everyone think he or she will win? In this case, Saturday morning came and it was declared that three people won the one-half billion-dollar lotto. That means that millions of others did not.
As my morning wore on, I sensed a vague feeling of dis-ease in my mind. I was troubled that I awoke with that question on my mind. In those pre-waking moments, I was actually calculating how to divvy up the loot among family, friends, charities, etc. I am not kidding; I was answering the question as if I was about to win. Yet even I know that “you can’t win unless you buy a ticket,” I reminded myself.
But that didn’t settle my soul; something else was brewing. After our work out and over my first cup of coffee, I saw a man interviewed on a 24-hour news channel. He had won a multi-million dollar lotto in 2004 and was somewhat sorry he did. He said it was 60% blessing and 40% curse. But he quoted from another big winner and put it all into perspective. He said winning the lotto is like throwing Miracle Grow on your character flaws.
Then I settled down to my habit of morning devotions. I have been studying the topic of the covenant. Now my soul was in even a little more turmoil. On the one hand, I felt the draw into the lotto lust and on the other, I felt the draw to trust the Lord of the covenant in which I have a share for my security. Which draw would settle my soul?
A long time ago, I believe the Lord rescued me from the fear of lack of provision for me, my wife and our future family through making real Hebrews 13:5, 6. It says, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’” This is soul-strengthening covenant language from a covenant-keeping God. It is not that I have completely overcome this fear; lotto morning in America was proof enough of that. However, over the many years that I have been a Christian, this verse served to draw me back to the safety, security and provision of Christ for all things.
The new covenant in Christ is the fulfillment of every covenant established by God with his people from the Garden to the New Heavens and New Earth. The new covenant is a promise written and secured in Christ’s own blood, verified by the Father at the Son’s resurrection and applied to every believer’s heart by the Holy Spirit.
It is strong enough to overcome death, sin, hell and Satan.
It is strong enough to overcome every fear of lack or every lotto lust.
Bob and Nita have been married for 34 years and have two children and four grandchildren. Currently serving as pastor of Faith Baptist Church (Parker, CO). Recently received a Doctor of Ministry degree in Biblical Spirituality from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Louisville, KY). Hobbies: likes theology, camping, traveling and hanging out with the family — especially those grandchildren. (If I knew how much fun they are, we would have had them first!)