It was a Friday afternoon and I was leaving Camp Christian to run a quick errand to the Flash Foods in Gordon, Ga. I was going to the Flash Foods because I figured it would be much quicker to go there than the Piggly Wiggly across the street. I pulled into the parking lot expecting to run in and pick up the one item I needed. The line was out the door. Out the door and into the parking lot. I could’t believe it. I soon discovered the source of the line- lottery tickets.
Gordon, Ga is a poor, rural community save for those who work at the local Kaolin plant. Let’s just say resources are slim- even the Huddle House closed. Yet on that Friday, people were lined up out the door looking to trade what little they had for the hope of something more.
When the lottery became legal in the state of Georgia, I was 18 years old. Myself and some buddies were volunteering at Vacation bible School the week the scratch off games started so each morning on the way to VBS, we stopped to buy lottery tickets. Since I was 18, I bought the tickets for everyone. (I hope the statue of limitations has run out on that crime) Being that it was the first week every other card was a winner. Surely it couldn’t be this easy.
And that’s the rub isn’t it. It’s not that easy. I’m not talking about winning the lottery. I am talking about being truly alive. I’m talking about living a life filled with experiences and relationships that truly make us richer. Now, winning the lottery isn’t a bad thing. Any type of financial security and our good stewardship of those resources are not a bad thing. In fact, its a good and faithful thing. But it’s not the guiding goal of our journey through life.
When we line up for a lottery ticket, it is with the hope that we can find something more. We are all searching for something and perhaps we believe we can find it in the power ball numbers. The truth is that we simply need to wake up each day and be inspired by the gift of life and the presence of God. We don’t need to win the lottery to spend more time with others, to love our neighbors, to serve the least of these,and to figure out what the heck God wants us to do with the one precious life we have. We are desperate for something more and the good news is that the more we seek is available to each of us all the time.
I’ve come to believe that the people lined up out the door that day were looking for something more. The good news is we don’t have to come up with the right numbers to find it.