There’s a billboard in town that tracks how many millions of dollars wait to be won in each week’s Powerball lottery. The number’s been over 100 the last two times I passed. It seems excessive. Even $1 million is more than I’m on track to make in a lifetime of work at my current salary. I’ve tried to calculate how I might spend the money (assuming I bought a ticket and won), but I tend to run out of ideas after the first $100,000 or so. Maybe I lack imagination.
But then I’m reminded of a commitment I made just over two years ago. While reading a book on simple living, I felt God’s call on my life for total surrender. I realized I’d given of my time and interests, but I had withheld my finances. Not consciously. I tithed regularly and donated as I could. But when I reviewed my expenses, I noted that close to $2 out of every $3 I earned were earmarked for costs associated with owning a home. I couldn’t remember God promising me a house or making it a priority that I have one. And I know there’s no record of Jesus — raised as the son of a carpenter — taking time to prepare a residence on earth. So I sold it.
And something interesting happened.
I suddenly had more money than I knew what to do with. I had not yet developed the discipline of giving, but God — always patient for me to pay attention — opened my eyes to genuine need in my own community. Then, this last year, God helped me take the next step, and I reduced my hours at work so I might have more time to pursue Him, to discover what God created me to be, to experiment with living.
I tend to run out of ideas after the first $100,000