Ephesians 2:4-7 - But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-by grace you have been saved-and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Let's make this real clear: I don't play the lottery. On the other hand, I derive a lot of laughs watching the people who do.
For example, on November 18, 2017, a Denver man bought a Lotto ticket. Yes, he bought a ticket, and then he put it away. That's right. He didn't check his numbers when the drawing took place. That's because he doesn't like to be bothered taking time out of every day to see how he has done.
Like most of us, he was pretty sure he hadn't beaten the odds, so he just decided to wait until he had a number of tickets to check. By doing that, he could kill a lot of birds with one stone. Well, he eventually did check his numbers, and he found out he had won something. Doing a little bit of research, he was pleased to find he had won $1,996,761.
The man collected his winnings, paid his taxes, and walked out of lottery central with a lump sum check of $983,380. When someone asked, "What are you going to do with all that loot?" our man replied, "I plan to pay some bills, save for retirement, and have a little fun with the money."
At the beginning of this message, I said I got a lot of chuckles at the expense of lottery players. This fellow is no different. I think he's funny because
1. he kept playing a game he's pretty sure he wouldn't win;
2. he didn't think he had won; for five months he kept a $2-million check in his dresser drawer;
3. during those five months his house could have caught fire, been swept away by a snow slide, been wiped away by a tornado; a million things could have happened to that ticket and not one of them would have been good;
4. he could have paid off those bills, saved for retirement, and been out having fun five months earlier -- if he had only checked those numbers earlier.
Now that man's story may be amusing because it worked out all right. Sadly, that is not always the case. Right now, all around us, there are people -- millions of people -- who have been given a great gift through the work of God's Son, their Savior.
By His life, death, and resurrection, Jesus offers faith and forgiveness, hope and heaven, to all who are brought to faith in Him. These people have heard about Jesus; they may have a rudimentary knowledge about how salvation works, but they store that unused information away for a more convenient time. They may have every intention of checking out the Savior's salvation plan someday -- some day, but not this day.
Sadly, that day may never come. Things can happen and opportunities can be lost. And without faith, they will be lost, too. Far better to seize the Spirit's call to faith today and be saved.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, there are many people who are playing with salvation. Remove all obstacles and grant they may be called to faith and believe in the Savior who has rescued them. This I ask in the Savior's Name. Amen.
The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one written by Ben Hooper for the UPI on April 13, 2018. 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: https://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2018/04/13/Man-finds-out-he-won-2-million-five-months-after-lotto-drawing/3151523642880/?utm_source=sec%26utm_campaign=sl%26utm_medium=15
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries