$245 Million Dollars!

Three wealth managers from Connecticut showed up at the lottery headquarters to claim the huge prize of $245,000,000. It made headlines around the country. And the story fueled thousands of conversations that start with ‘what if.’  What if I came into that kind of money? What if my life were instantly changed by a windfall of wealth? Researchers who looked into those questions found that most people who suddenly become wealthy are no happier a year later. I find myself saying, “It would be different for me.”  Would it really?
Jesus told this story about a man who found himself with great wealth. As you read it think deeply about your attitudes towards wealth. Do you think, as most Americans do, that more money means more happiness? 

“Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ’

“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
“This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.” Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.”
(Luke 12:15-23, NIV)
What’s the conclusion drawn from that parable? Is it that wealth is evil? Not at all. Jesus is encouraging contentment that comes from a life that is centered on the things of God. What are those?  Love for God and love for others. Jesus talked a lot about money! He knew how deceptive the glitter of gold is. He knew how twisted the life of a person can become when his goal is to pile up wealth. People who love money will take advantage of their own grandmother to get more. They will never have enough.  Envy is a lens that distorts every relationship. Greed is a toxin in the soul.
On the positive side, we find this counsel in Scripture. Take this word from the Word and make it practical today. When you watch those commercials that try to sell you something, ask yourself if you can be content without it. Ask God to make you ‘soul-rich’ filled with the true wealth of love, joy, and peace.
“True godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction.
For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.”

(1 Timothy 6:6-11, NLT)

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