That was the calculated chance you had of winning the $1.6B Powerball lottery jackpot in the United States, January 13th. This statistic was not a deterrent, however, as thousands lined up to purchase a ticket – with many of our fellow Canadians making the trek across the border to join in!
Studies show that lotteries increase government revenue and these funds are used to support various social projects. But on the reverse side of supporting our economy, research confirms that lower income people consistently contribute proportionally more of their income to gambling than do middle and high-income groups – widening the inequality.
Many who are impoverished perceive gambling as a way to change their lives; they trust “Lady Luck” to both save them from problems and achieve happiness.
Gambling a few dollars on a ticket may seem like a small thing, but it isn’t. Gambling research and statistics indicate that engaging in it – in some case becoming addicted to it – negatively impacts the livelihood of many families and leads to or exacerbates poverty.
And buying into the notion of winning as good luck also comes with the flip side of buying into the acceptance of bad luck when you lose.
Is there a way to see that good in our lives – our prosperity, our happiness and our health – is not dependent on chance? We need something better than a lucky rabbit’s foot or lottery ticket to make us feel truly secure.
Instead of thinking that the good in my life is related to random chance, I find many helpful ideas in the Bible that corroborate my expectation of where consistent good comes from – and illustrated with many examples.
God is described in the Bible as good and a source and supplier of all our needs – expressed by the Psalmist: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want…Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life” (Ps. 23)
These ideas of God as the one source of good gave me confidence to unsnarl a financial mess years ago. Winning the lottery sure would have helped me at that time! But it wasn’t luck that provided the solution, it was confidence in the ideas I have gleaned from studying the Bible over the years and learning how God’s goodness is a definite part of my life – not just happenstance. I was able to discern that the scary picture my financial predicament presented was not the truth of the situation when viewed from the perspective that God was in control of all the events.
A New Testament account familiar to Bible readers – the story of the loaves and fishes – clearly illustrates how our supply and happiness often operate contrary to the outward appearance of things.
Confronted with feeding thousands of people with supplies to satisfy only a few, Jesus did not feel he had to toss the dice and gamble to satisfy the lack. He turned in gratitude to God and acknowledged that all needs are met by His unfailing goodness.
The picture of the size of the crowd and the limited food to feed them presented just the opposite of what Jesus knew. He knew that, because we are all God’s beloved creation – His reflection – we are maintained and provided for by a loving Creator. The picture changed as supply met demand – with leftovers!
Security, happiness and health are not dependent on luck or chance when we come to realize that each of us already has all the good we need from the one infinite source, God.
You can read this article on several Metroland sites such as York Region.