My thoughts (Kristin Herrmann):
Give me neither poverty nor riches; (provide me only with the food I need;)
I don’t play the lottery regularly, but I have bought a ticket or two in my day. Such purchases are typically made after I spot a billboard advertising a sizable jackpot. Is it worth two dollars for me to purchase a chance of winning millions? Sometimes it is. Besides, I joke after alerting my friends to my possible-impending riches, if I don’t buy a ticket, how will I know if God wants me to be a millionaire? The truth is: I savor the time between purchasing a ticket and learning I hadn’t won (because I failed to match even one number).
During those days, as I drift off to sleep at night, I remind myself to be a good steward of the money. I vow to find Terry, a girl I played basketball with in high school, whose family lived in poverty. One night after practice, the coach and several team members helped Terry’s family move out of their home because they had been evicted. Carrying boxes outside in the dark, I saw the desperation of her family’s situation but was too immature to fully understand it.
During our senior year, I had begun to realize that Terry was a remarkable person. She showed me her strength when I provided her with a 15 minute car ride down a three-lane highway so she could work her assigned shift at a fast-food restaurant. Her transportation had fallen through. Since the trip to work from her home, on foot, took an hour, she couldn’t attend practice. I was worried she’d get into trouble from the coach for skipping. She was worried about keeping her job. Making small talk as I drove, she told me she’d made the trip to work on foot several times. She just walked along the shoulder of the road; to her, it was no big deal.
By the time I check my lottery ticket against the winning numbers, I don’t have hope of winning. Being a millionaire carries with it a responsibility to better our community, one that I’m still not mature enough to handle. Thinking about Terry sobers me to the illusion money alone can make things better. It reminds me to be grateful for what I have. It also encourages me to spend my time drifting off to sleep at night finding value in sufficiency. What buying a ticket provides me, then, is an opportunity to better understand that what I want is not always, or even often, what I need.
Is it worth two dollars for me to purchase a bit of perspective? I think so.
Thought for the day: When you find yourself wanting, ask God to help you discern if what you want is what you need.
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.