Thursday, August 28, 2008

What would you do?

This week at a church in New York state, a man won three million dollars in the lottery. And he put the ticket in the offering plate, giving the whole sum to the church on one condition: that his identity remain anonymous.

So what would you do with a winning lottery ticket? Use it to pay bills, by a new house and cars, set yourself up for retirement?

It's easy to assume the winner was already wealthy, and thus gave the church the money because he didn't need it. But then, why was he playing the lottery to begin with? And if he already had that kind of money, why didn't he just give what he already had to the church? It's very likely that the winner actually didn't have the money, hence he gave the ticket instead.

Now, let's say this happened to you. Would you want to remain anonymous? Or would you want people to know about it? Perhaps would you want the church to name a room after you or after your grandmother?

If this happened to you, what would you do with it? And would you keep it a secret?


andy beck said...

it's safe to say that if i won the lottery, i'd most likely lose the winning ticket before cashing it in or donating it. doesnt answer your question though. sorry.

DennisS said...

I used to play the lottery, and I had plans for staying anonymous (so all the long-lost relatives wouldn't be bugging me, and my kids wouldn't be kidnapped, etc).

I figured out that I would want to keep the vast majority of it. I'd likely become a bit paranoid in regards to safety and security, so would spend quite a bit of it in those areas. I'd probably need to move a distance away where people didn't know me, and buy a controlling interest in a business so that I could tell relatives where I worked (that I had a good job there, had a nice place to keep up appearances, and had to travel much of the time for my company).

The statistics of winning concerned me. Most go bankrupt. Surveys concerned me. No matter how much income people have, if they've been at that level for a couple years they say they would need twice their current income to be happy.

I decided it wasn't worth it to win the lottery - there were too many problems, and I would become a completely different person. So, I quit "playing" - that is, throwing my money away.

This is similar to what I see in the hope of some in congregations. They are hoping for an immediate pre-trib rapture - get me out of here Jesus. But this hope becomes so pervasive and rabid that some quit their jobs, or otherwise squander what they've got, because it just doesn't matter (since Scotty is about to beam them out of there). These often fail to live life here.

I see this in folks who were brought up in a small town. They can't wait to get out of town - get to the bright lights of the big city. Soon they are disappointed, and searching for a safer school for their kids.

When Sept. 11 happened, it shook me in regards to what is important.

If somehow I bought a lottery ticket and won (not likely on either count), then knowing about human nature, I too would likely give it fully to a non-profit organization - anonymously.

The temptation for me would be to set up a non-profit organization which gives away the earnings each year, and set myself up as manager of the organization.

No, if I sat down and figured out what is important, and figured that I don't have to have control of the winnings for it to be used for a good purpose - then I'm sure I'd give it away.