It’s fun to dream about winning the lottery. Many of us already have our answers ready. Some have even practiced the interview and mastered that impending question… “What will you do with the money?”.
I remember one such interview where the bewildered winner couldn’t decide between fixing his house or his truck. He simply couldn’t comprehend what millions meant. That isn’t a number we tread often in. And that is exactly why it won’t help us.
In order to GIVE, we have to give of something. We take something of ours and it becomes someone else’s. At that point, we no longer have it anymore. Consider how the library works. If I go and check out a book, they no longer have it… I do! So if you go searching for that same book, their answer is, “Sorry, someone else has it”.
With the lottery, We can give and still have. While we may choose to do good things with the money, a key part of giving is absent… sacrifice. We could discuss earning versus winning as well, but I’ll leave that for now.
Let’s compare this to something more important than money. What if I see someone on the street and I wave at them and give a nice big smile? What have I done? I could argue I put on my Jesus face. I was friendly, inviting, polite, and I even felt a little awkward waving at a stranger.
But what have I actually given? Did it take any time? ah, time! something extremely valuable, and in limited resource. And just like the library, if I’m giving my time to someone, I can’t be giving it to something else. But the answer is, no, it took as much time to wave as it did effort.
I also didn’t speak. I didn’t share my story. I didn’t share God’s story. I didn’t offer the truth of Jesus Christ, crucified and resurrected. I didn’t show love or compassion. I didn’t offer any fruits of the Spirit. I waved. Nothing more, no matter how we dress it up. I gave pennies and kept millions for myself.
We know from the widow that gave two mites (Luke 21) that it isn’t about how much we give, but instead what percentage. The woman who gave so little, gave more than the richest of men, because she gave all she had, where they gave small portions. And thus the problem with so much money. Much is expected of those that have much.
Consider your time. We can’t win the ‘time’ lottery. 24 hours fill up a day no matter how lucky you are. Time puts us all in the same category. How much are you giving? Truly giving? Sacrificing? Investing in God’s will for you and others? God calls us to help each other out. We tithe because He asks us to. But money does not solve everything. And that is why He also calls us to go into the world and disciple others. How much time are we giving?