“I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” ~ Philippians 4:11b-13
Dreams were shattered…Hope was suffocated…Inspiration was numbed…Disappointment was embraced….Fulfillment fled…
Normally, celebration accompanies a ball drop, but our solemn disappointments were forcefully embraced once again as we watched three individuals take home the booty last Wednesday.
According to ABC 7 Chicago, the odds of winning last week’s $1.6 billion Powerball were 1 in 292.2 million. To bring perspective, your odds of being struck by lightning this year are 1 in 960,000! Sounds pretty impossible!
Add to this a falling stock market. Money is leaving us in so many ways it seems!
But are these the odds for us to achieve our dreams? To reach new heights? To be people of accomplishment and admiration? To obtain meaning and fulfillment?
Powerball has an interesting affect upon people. As the winnings increase, so does people’s frenzy. ‘Pimping one’s life’ feels as close as our breath as we fantasize over our payout options if we were to win.
Unfortunately, I think we believe a lie here. When we seek to ‘pimp our lives,’ we, for some reason, think that we are the agents in control.
I would like to suggest the opposite: we become the subjects in this pimp-peddling transaction.
Whenever I accept this concept that my life, happiness, fulfillment, etc. really doesn’t begin until I have a certain amount of zeroes in my bank account, square footage in my house, Jordan’s in my closet, or whatever, I have just become a slave.
Whatever our master may be, whether it be our culture, circle of friends, or family, we are fed this hollow lie that “more is MORE.”
May I humbly suggest something? If you are able to read this, you have far more than you think. In fact, you are most likely within the top 1% of our world! (see http://www.relevantmagazine.com/reject-apathy/8-stats-will-change-way-you-think-about-wealth)
Pimps thrive off of subjugating and exploiting their hustlers. The apostle Paul spoke on how the ‘pimp’ money treats its mistress:
“But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” ~ 1 Timothy 6:6-10
Hebrews 3:5-6 exhorts us in the following way:
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
Whenever Powerball Pandemonium strikes, the excitement over money does not originate out of shortage of cash but contentment. It’s not the flatlined savings but our gratefulness that has a low balance. And the more we dwell on what we lack, the more pain and despair clouds our souls.
We lament over our world’s various pathologies, but in the very next breath we crave to improve our own aggrandizement.
So we didn’t win the jackpot. It’s okay, you’re the jackpot. Has anyone ever told you that? Money, among other tangible things, should only help display this and maximize its benefits to others.
Let us learn contentment.
And for those of faith, remember that your true stability during volatility is the Lord our helper, who (unlike money, possessions, fame, status) will never leave nor forsake us!
Godliness is great. Godliness + contentment = real gain.
“In your presence there is fullness of joy, at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
~ Psalm 16:11