Bible Reading: Luke 18:18-43
Trusting Jesus is a sure thing. It is not gamble. There is no way that you lose…when you put your faith in Him.
Thoughts about God for My Grandkids:
Not long ago, Mavis Wanczyk, who lives in Chicopee, Massachusetts, bought a lottery ticket. You’ve probably seen lottery tickets at gas stations and the grocery store. They are usually printed in bright colors and have names like Mega Millions and Powerball. It is a type of gambling. The lottery works kind of like this. You buy a ticket and then your ticket is put in a big drum with a lot of other tickets that other people have bought. The money that you and all of the other people paid goes into a bank account. Later, on a certain date, the company that you bought the ticket from draws a ticket out of the drum. The person who had bought that ticket gets part of the money that was raised by selling the tickets…generally around 50%, that means one-half. The rest of the money goes to the government (taxes), the company running the lottery, and sometimes they give part of the money to an organization like public schools.
Back to Mavis. The drawing that involved her ticket took place on August 23, 2017…and she won. She won a lot of money! She won $656 million. That’s right…656 million dollars. It was the largest jackpot ever won by a single individual in American history (sometimes the rules say that they will draw more than one number and the prize money is split equally among the winners). Mavis was 53-years-oldl. She immediately quit her job and retired.
So, what is the chance, or “odds”, that if you buy a ticket…you will win? The odds that you will win the Mega Millions are around 1 in 302.6 million. That’s right…1 chance out of 302,600,000. The odds that you will win the Powerball are around 1 in 292.2 million. The odds that you would win both at the same time are 1 in 88 quadrillion; or, 1 in 88,412,922,115,183,000 to be precise. Get this, this is funny…you are 2,000 times more likely (the odds) to be struck by lightning or an earthquake…than you are to win the Mega Millions.
We’re going to talk about gambling at another time. But, let me just tell you this…God is against gambling. It is sinful to do so. Why? Because all that we have actually belongs to God…and He has given us the responsibility to manage it for him. If you gave me some money to take care of and to use to make more money…would you want me to use it for gambling? No. I’d be putting your money at an awful risk. What we own…we don’t really own. God does. And He expects us to be careful how we use it. In fact, as a reminder that it belongs to Him…He tells us that each week we are to give a part of it back to Him. It is called a “tithe” and that word means 10%, or $1 out of every $10. Now, don’t worry…it’s not like you’re going to be losing money. Nope. In fact, God says that when you are faithful to give your tithe to Him, He will bless you in such a way that you will be able to do more with what you have left than you would have been able to do if you had kept it all for yourself and not tithed. What a deal! Two things happen when we tithe. One, God is honored. When we tithe it shows that God is the real owner and we respect Him. Second, we are blessed. Tithing is an act of faith and God always blesses faith. I’ve heard some real dillies of excuses why people don’t tithe. But basically, it comes down to one thing…they just don’t believe what God has said…they don’t trust Him…they don’t have faith in Him. There is a very similar thing that happens with one of the 10 Commandments. God commands us to stop working and to rest one day each week…and, we are supposed to go to church on that day. In the Old Testament it was called the “Sabbath” and was on Saturday. In the New Testament it is called the “Lord’s Day” and is on Sunday. God promised us that when we are obedient to Him that He will bless us in such a way that we will never miss the money we might have made on that day…and, we will have a day of rest and worship. Again…what a deal! But often, the same people who want to argue about gambling…want to argue about not going to church. Both of them are expressions of our faith in God…what we really believe about God.
One day, Jesus taught His disciples about His upcoming death and resurrection. They had no idea what He was talking about. If they didn’t know what He was talking about…then why would He tell them? So, that when it happened…they would realize that it wasn’t just a coincidence, or fluke, or crazy circumstance. No, they would realize that He had known this was going to happen, all along. In fact, He even told them why it would happen this way…so that, “all the things which are written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished.” In other words, He wasn’t just using the current situation to accomplish His own goal, or making it up as He went along. This is what God had planned hundreds of years before and had given clear and precise details about through the prophets of the Old Testament. In fact, in the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 18:22), it says that if someone makes a prophecy and it doesn’t come true, 100% true, totally and completely and perfectly true…then the man was a false prophet and the prophecy was false. That is why Jesus was so careful to fulfill the prophecies about Him with absolute precision.
The results would be that when they saw those things happen to Him and realize that He they happened exactly as He had said that they would happen and they also happened exactly as the prophets had said it would happen…then their faith in Him as the Son of Man, as the Savior, would be increased. They would realize that if He was right about those things and that they could trust Him completely…then they could trust Him about other things, as well.
It is not a gamble…to believe in Jesus. There is no chance, no odds, at all…that He will ever fail, or that He will ever let you down. Every time that you trust in Jesus…you are an automatic winner. Every time that you are obedient to what He says to do…you are blessed. But realize this…when you don’t do what He says…when you are not obedient…when you don’t put your faith in Him…you lose. You don’t honor Him as your Savior. And, you don’t receive His blessings.
Personally, I like to win. I’m putting all of my faith in Jesus. I believe that He will do exactly what He has promised. So, how about it? Will you join me?
Love you more than bunches and bunches,