Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Pennies From Heaven?

Everyone has unproductive and bad habits. One of mine is entering contests and sweepstakes. The act of entering the contest is fun in and of itself. And it better be, since actually winning a sweepstakes is almost a virtual certainty. I have a list of contest wins buried somewhere in my computer, but here are some of the ones that stand out: (1) Curacao trip, (2) Los Angeles trip, (3) fantasy baseball camp trip, (4) New York City trip, (5) World Series tickets, (5) Final Four trip, (6) wide screen TV, (7) laptop, (8) tablet (9) Desktop Computer, (10) watch, (11) Braves tickets, (12) college and pro football tickets, (13) Basketball tickets, (14) concert tickets, and (15) a weekend hotel stay.

Guy I know just won his second car. Perhaps he spends money on tax-deductible raffles to support various causes. Why haven’t I thought of that? Years ago Randy won a Mercedes SUV his family drove for years and years (while warning others to stay away from the unreliable vehicles, a do-as-I-say as opposed to as I most fashionably do). Now he’s won an expensive top-of-the-line luxury Audi sedan, that’s going to be a huge tax hit - the same year he has to pay for two weddings. Will he keep the car, or sell it to pay for the weddings? I know what I would do.    

I consider the things I’ve won to be gravy, little blessings from God that weren’t needed but certainly appreciated. While I’m not embarrassed to be driving an eleven year-old beat up Civic, I’m not sure all fifty-something professional men feel the same way. If God has something to do with this, is it because He knows these trips and electronics were things Ceil and I “needed” for encouragement? Did Randy “need” those cars to maintain a lifestyle that helps him minister and serve others? Sounds insane, but it could be possible.

God does not give in equal measure. The parable of the talents tells us that. I may not have won two cars, but I’m thankful God has given me a comfortable life, as opposed to one in Syria or Ethiopia. Others can serve through hardship better than me. Some use great wealth to minister. I’m not sure I would be the best steward of great riches, though who wouldn’t like to try. Anyone could give to others, but it takes a certain type person to best use great wealth. Guess I won’t be winning the lottery anytime soon.

I’ll have a conversation, then weeks later think of a good answer to a rhetorical question. Should I only give on the Sundays I attend church? While I am far from worthy to address this topic, a thought crossed my mind this weekend while washing my car: does God only give according to how often I attend church (much less contribute to His kingdom)? Thankfully the answer is most certainly no. God has blessed me and my family with so much, as well as giving the life of His only Son for my sake, that I have the chance to accept His free gift of life with Him in heaven. I could never out-give God.         

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