John 14:6 - (Jesus said) "I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."
It was Christmas Day, and Nicole Coggins from South Carolina gave herself a present.
She invested $1 in the Holiday Cash Add-A-Play lottery. The object was to scratch off three spots on the game card and thereby expose three Christmas trees in a straight line. Coggins scratched, and those three trees told her she had just won $500. So, what to do with this unexpected largesse?
Simple, Coggins played the game again -- and she won again. A third winning ticket brought her earnings to almost $1,500. That's when she called her mother-in-law. By the time they were done, the two had bagged an amazing $18,000.
Coggins' children also became winners when she promised them a trip to Disneyworld.
Their victory celebration was short lived. The South Carolina Education Lottery got wind of Coggins and other winners. Quickly, they halted the sales of the lottery cards. They discovered that some cards had been printed where all nine slots covered a Christmas tree. There was no way the players could lose when they had one of those cards.
Then the lottery folks said something like "Those cards were bad; we're not going to pay."
Seeing her money evaporate, and looking at the crestfallen faces of her children, Coggins said, "We didn't do anything wrong. I think they should either honor the tickets or give us our money back."
As of this writing, there has been no further announcement from the lottery officials.
I wonder if I could poll the Daily Devotion readership what that questioning reveal?
No doubt, some would say, "Give her the money. She played the game fair and square. It wasn't her fault if the cards had been printed wrongly." There are others who believe that the lottery people shouldn't have to pay out for a flaw that wasn't their doing. After all, they reason, "Suppose there had been thousands of those winning cards?" Finally, there is the position which argues, "People shouldn't play the lottery and expect to harvest what they haven't sown."
Me, I'm thankful that I don't have to make a legal decision where all parties involved can make a reasonable argument for their position, and where everybody is kinda right and kinda wrong.
I'm also thankful there is no such problem when it comes to preaching Law and Gospel.
Scripture is clear: there is nobody in this world who is untainted by sin. The Word offers no wiggle room when it says the soul that sins will die. That depressing and damning picture of humanity's future would have remained unchanged if it had not been for the Savior Jesus Christ who entered this world as the ransom that would mend the sin-created rift between earth and heaven.
Jesus' prophesied life, death, and resurrection is the plan the Almighty began and completed to save us. Now all who are brought to faith are granted the forgiveness which transforms and opens heaven. Without doubt, they can believe Jesus who said, "I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." That's God's eternally correct truth we can share.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, we live at a time when everyone wants us to believe there is no such thing as truth. May I always rejoice that Your Word is truth, and in it we are given the Redeemer who has ransomed us. In Jesus' Name we pray. Amen.
The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one written by Michael Harthorne for Newser on December 29, 2017. Those who wish to reference that article may do so at the following link, which was fully functional at the time this devotion was written: click here.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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