Powerball is sitting on a prize worth over $500 million right now. I saw earlier that a cash payout, after taxes, would give a single winner more than $200 million. Imagine having $200 million sitting in an account waiting for you to use it.
The lottery is a great example of static grace. What do you hope to achieve if you win? A bank account large enough to satisfy every need? A happy life? The end of fear and frustration and worry? The ability to help others in significant ways? All of these could be good things.
We understand the attraction of a large bank account, don’t we? Most of us live in such a way that money occupies much of our thinking. We worry about the future, especially in a day like this. What kind of world will our children and grandchildren have? How can we help them? Having a large bank account, one so large that you can’t imagine ever using it up, would give a lot of peace and security.
Of course, we all know the stories of lottery winners. So many of them have crashed and burned. The money is gone and so are their friends and families. Instead of peace, the money brought grief.
But listen: it wasn’t the money that brought the trouble. It was the idea that joy and peace could come from a static investment. With a static investment, the winners were in charge and all their weaknesses came out. They acted on anything they wanted to act on and they could draw on the bank accounts whenever they felt like it. The trouble didn’t come from the money; it came from inside of them.
Still, we understand the attraction. All that money in our control. We could do whatever we wanted. No more worries. No more limits. Most of us would like to try it for a while.
But I wonder how many of us would like to have a multi-trillionaire who lived and walked with us, providing for all our needs and protecting us from our own passions? Much more money available, but more than that. A relationship with someone who understands money and what can happen in our lives with too much. A wise friend who wants to give us all good things.
Let’s be honest. That doesn’t seem as much fun, does it? Our flesh wants to hold the money, make the decisions, take the risks. Our flesh wants to be in control and having someone who will take care of us isn’t quite the same. Give us the money!
Now you see why legalism is more attractive than grace. Now you understand why some would continue to reject the clear message of grace in favor of a system that lies and hurts. The flesh wants control.
But there is something better—Someone.