Living on purpose with William Holland
We often hear the term “it’s all about the money” but nothing could be further from the truth when it comes to hope and a sense of spiritual wellbeing. Humans use their creativity and imagination to dream about being satisfied and I would say that fantasies about power, fame and money are the most common.
The recent record-breaking lottery generated quite a bit of excitement and, like everyone else, I was amazed at how the jackpot grew and what a mesmerizing effect it had on the masses. It is our lust and greed for money that increases its influential power to deceive and distract us from what’s really important.
Certain religious interpretations declare that gambling is a sin and it might be but casting lots is not always associated with wrongdoing. I can agree that someone who cannot afford to pay their bills and yet will waste money on daily lottery tickets needs more than a financial adviser. Nonetheless, I personally do not see anything wrong with someone spending a couple of dollars every now and then for a chance of becoming financially secure.
It is true that money alone cannot bring happiness and I question whether or not even winning the lottery would truly be a blessing for many, as I believe it would depend on how mature and level-headed the individual winner is. I have also pondered that, instead of praying to have more money, maybe we should spend more time asking God how to better manage what we have.
We have all heard the stories of people who have lived modest lifestyles and then suddenly found themselves with a mind-boggling amount of financial power. However, many of these testimonies end by telling how such “blessings” have not turned out as one might think and, in the end, have actually been more like a curse.
I am not knocking money; in fact, I need it and it can do a lot of good but, in the hands of those who pay no heed to God’s instructions, it can become like a blind man operating a wrecking ball. Instead of wealth being used as an instrument to help others, it can actually use us if we are not careful by capturing our mind and possessing our soul.
The Bible mentions a lot about wealth and there is no shortage of books and sermons to help further explain its benefits and dangers. One camp teaches that God desires to bless his people with material abundance while the other side emphasizes the need to give away everything we have and live by faith alone.
I fall into the category of trying to find a reasonable balance that can enjoy God’s blessings while also learning how to be compassionate and generous toward others. Yes, Jesus told his followers to sell all they have, give the proceeds to the poor and take up their cross and follow Him, but does this mean literally or to just be willing? Surely there is no condemnation for us when we choose to work, earn a paycheck, pay our bills, build a home and support our family all the while faithfully representing Him as a true Christian.
I have also wondered if winning the lottery is strictly by chance or if God has a hand in who wins. We realize that He knows in advance who will have the correct numbers but how in the world does He choose one winner with so many people praying to win? Let’s just say it’s possible that God could give us the numbers through road signs or a dream but we must remember that more important than having a bank filled with money is to make sure we are not in love with it.
I hope we all can agree that having money and being rich are two different things and that, even if we have small finances, our true joy, peace and contentment will always be found in the secret place of God’s presence. “For the love of money is the root of all evil and, while some have coveted after it, they have turned away from the faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” – (I Timothy 6:10).
Kentucky resident William Holland is an outreach minister, chaplain and author who has his own Christian website, billyhollandministries.com, and sets out each week to find thought-provoking messages of inspiration, hope and encouragement for our readers.