Lottery Odds Or Eternal Assets

What kind of dreams are you pursuing? How sure are you of your chances of finding the joy for which you are looking?

Some people strive desperately to “get rich quick.” They will spend valuable income on a lottery that has incredible mathematical odds against a win. The miniscule chance of monetary gain is slim beyond understanding. But in an attempt to grasp at a fantasy, people do what is imprudent.

Perhaps lottery players feel that the small amount of money they put into the game of chance is negligible. They decide it is “no big deal” to pay small amounts for such a gamble. But isn’t every penny we have a blessing from God? And does not a whole bunch of little amounts spent regularly add up to a large amount? This principle of caring for each asset provided to us applies not only to gambling, but to all the ways we spend our money – and our time.

What if we moved from slim chances to eternal surety? What if we quit being obsessed with the temporal and truly sought to see the everlasting, as far-fetched as it might at first seem to a mind pulled from God? What if we actually believed what Jesus Christ stood and on a mountain one day and said to real human beings one day, “…Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:20, ESV)? Could it be true that we can accumulate (lay up) assets in another world (heaven)?

Many people focus on Matthew 6:19 to the neglect of the verse I just mentioned. We tend to focus on the “don’t” instead of the “do.” We somehow get turned off by the “Do not lay up for yourselves treasure on earth…” (Matthew 6:19, ESV) – forgetting that the next words out of our Savior’s mouth assure us that we can currently be building a mass of heavenly wealth that cannot be lost!

I like, too, how Jesus connects the building of heavenly possessions with scientific truth. My treasure in the next world cannot be destroyed by living creatures, corroded by chemical reactions, or stolen by evil intentions. The assets accumulating in Heaven are one hundred percent safe. There is no gamble, because Jesus is protecting that wealth. You talk about a secure bank and secure investment! My treasure does not need to be kept under lock and key or safeguarded by high level passwords; your true wealth is “kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4, ESV).

In other words, the treasure I am building by investing in God’s work is not stored in this world. It is somewhere else – where God abides. It is safe! And better yet, I am safe, too, until I get there! The Bible says we have been born again “to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed…” (1 Peter 1:4-5). No one can steal my true wealth, and no one can prevent me from getting go the place where God and it resides! Amen!

I have been traveling for a number of weeks, each Monday afternoon, to a Christian school in the area. I pack up my laptop, projector, my Bible, and head to the gymnasium/cafeteria to speak to nearly one hundred students in grades six through twelve about Christian apologetics (a reasonable, intelligent defense of biblical Christianity).

Each week, I speak my heart out, using every ounce of God-given passion to help these teens recognize the validity of the Bible and Jesus Christ. Counting on the Holy Spirit, I press forward, despite a few disgruntled and uninterested faces. Nonetheless, I watch many students suck in truth that they have never before heard. I sense God’s Spirit working, and I give it all I’ve got.

Yet there are times when I wonder what I am doing. The enemy tries to discourage me, saying, “What are you doing in a little gymnasium/cafeteria each week speaking to a group of teens in a small Western Pennsylvania school?” And I begin to ponder in my selfishness, “What prestige is there in this?” and “Who else would do this?”

Then God gets hold of me. He whispers that someone does this who is willing to be obedient in the smallest of things and invest in eternal treasure. Those who play the lottery gamble away little bits of money here and there, but I invest eternally little bits of time and effort every Monday afternoon. It may not seem like much. It is not glamorous. It does not bring me fame. But it is eternal investing, and I got to see a glimpse of that treasure just a few days ago.

A sixth grade girl in a pink hoodie approached me after one of my lessons about the reliability of the Old and New Testaments. I was packing up my projector when she stopped me with tears in her eyes and said, ‘Hi.” I responded, and she proceeded to say, “I gave my life to God on December 14 (a Monday afternoon!) because of your talks here, Mrs. Prindle.” My exclamation as my eyes lit up was, “That’s wonderful!” and “That makes everything I’ve done here worthwhile!” Then I gave this young girl a big hug.

The truly amazing part is that this sixth grade student had been a professed atheist. Her fellow students and teachers were aware of her lost condition. And yet, Jesus got hold of her one Monday afternoon! Now she is telling those same people about her new relationship with God.

There will be another person in the eternal New Heavens and New Earth because of a regular Monday afternoon investment. I refuse to gamble away my time and resources in this fading world. I will invest in eternal assets. I will hug precious people in Heaven who are somehow connected to me by the true investments Jesus has enabled me to make.

Let’s live like Moses did: “He thought is was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward.” (Hebrews 11:26, NLT)

The Reason for Every Regular Day Jesus Lived

– The God who designed a woman’s womb was birthed from one with much travail.

– The One whose joy is everlasting had to burst into tears as He took His first breath.

– Jesus who spins the planets around the sun now stands beneath the moon and stars.

– Christ who powers that bright orb now grows weary under its heat at the peak of day.

– The God of perfect, triune love feels the sting of hatred and desertion.

– The One who supplies all creatures with daily food experiences hunger pangs.

– Jesus who created the universe in six days without exertion now grows tired at each day’s end.

– Christ who is eternal now knows the gloom of impending death all His earthly days.

– The God who formed each person’s body with intricacy and wonder now walks about in flesh that feels pain.

– The One who is Lord of the universe becomes just one Person among many, unknown and unpopular.

– Jesus who owns the whole world now faces the sting of poverty.

– Christ who never sinned becomes the sacrifice for all sin.

– God who sustains the life of all creation must raise Himself from the reality of death.

– The Christ of Heaven must ascend back to Heaven.

– The God of all glory who willingly chose to do all this will come again to restore us to the glory He originally intended.

We celebrate at Christmastime the day of the birth of Jesus Christ. While this is important, we cannot forget the days after His birth and the totality of the life He lived preceding His death and resurrection. For these days, we are most thankful. These days enabled Him to be made “perfect through suffering” on our behalf. (Hebrews 2:10, ESV).

Jesus suffered long before His crucifixion. The highest of all beings descended to the lowest of human experiences. Isaiah 53:2-3 (ESV) assures us that Jesus was not a glamorous or popular person and that, in fact, He was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.”

When we hear in Hebrews 2:10 that Jesus was made “perfect through suffering,” God does not mean to say that Jesus had ever been imperfect or sinful. The word rendered “perfect” here means “to be brought to completion” or “to have the end goal accomplished.” How amazing that God chose to complete the job of participating in our suffering by enduring the regular, human struggle – including Monday mornings! – from the day of His birth to the day of His death.

Hebrews 2:10 heartens us, because we realize that the founder of our salvation knows exactly how we feel in the human experience. Jesus began the journey of identifying with us from the moment He descended to the womb of Mary. And every minute after that added to the process of Christ fully identifying with our frustration, pain, loneliness, and heartache.

The culmination of all His days was the moment He cried out on the cross, “It is finished” (John 19:30, ESV). The work was then complete. All our sin had been paid for, as Jesus had walked all His days as we walk in order to be the perfect substitute for us.

Thank you, Jesus, for your humble birth in to the world – and for EVERY DAY thereafter.

“Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people.” (Hebrews 2:17, NLT)