And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, "To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!" Revelation 5:13
Last year, 27-year-old Marvin Martinez was cleaning leaves out of a gutter when he spotted a lottery ticket labeled, "Win $1,000 a Week for Life."
Martinez took the ticket home and contacted the New York Lottery. They promised to check it out and, over the months, Martinez forgot all about the matter. He forgot until the New York State Gaming Commission gave him a call. They said the unclaimed ticket was his.
That means Martinez could have received $1,000 a week as long as he lived. Rather than gambling on a long life, Martinez decided to take a single payment of $515,612. That's $515,612 after taxes. When reporters asked Martinez what he was going to do with the cash, he said he was going to send some money home to his family in El Salvador; he was going to buy a house, and he was going to help his mother finish some post-hurricane repairs on her home.
Oh, Martinez said one other thing. He said, "I want to keep living a normal life. This won't change us."
Excuse me? Did I get that right?
How can Martinez' life be normal? He has received half a million dollars without having invested a single cent. He is able to help family members and purchase a home. His life has been changed and it will never again be normal. Martinez has been given a singular gift, a special opportunity.
It occurs to me there are many spiritual Marvins out there.
By the Holy Spirit's power, they have been brought to faith in Jesus Christ, who came into this world to live, suffer, die and rise for them. Through Jesus' great offering they have been freed from the Law's judgment and been given a special place in heaven. No longer do they have to live in fear of Judgment Day; no longer can their sins accuse them.
Even though they have been singularly blessed by God's grace, many people, like Martinez say, "This isn't going to change me. I'm going to live my life as if nothing has happened."
That's not right. Jesus was beaten, rejected, spit upon, crowned with thorns, and nailed to a cross so we might be forgiven. How can we act as if this is business as usual? The death of the Innocent for we who are guilty is not business as usual. It is a gift of love unparalleled in all of human history, and we have been blessed because of it.
Because of Jesus we don't get $1,000 a week for life ... we get forgiveness and a mansion in heaven.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, Jesus has changed my present and my future. May I never minimize the sacrifice the Savior made to change my eternal destiny. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries