$80,000 Lottery Ticket Found In Church Collection Plate
Someone won $80,000 in the lottery, and rather than spending it on themselves they decided to leave it in a collection plate at a church in Columbus, Georgia. Now this remarkable act of anonymous benevolence is being questioned. Some Christians suggest the church is wrong to accept the money.
Gambling is the issue, of course. And the question: should a church (or any Christian) ever benefit from ill gotten gains?
This story presents an interesting opportunity for reflection on the nature of the world, and God’s strategy for dealing with evil. Perhaps the most clearly stated example in the Bible is the story of Joseph, who was enslaved by his brothers, and yet spoke these words to them years later, after he had risen from slavery to a powerful position which allowed him to save Egypt from a famine:
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:20 NIV)
But that is far from the only example. There is the way God used Pharaoh’s “hard heart” to reveal His superiority to Egyptian idols with the Exodus miracles. There is the time Jesus allowed his feet to be anointed with expensive perfume, bought with a prostitute’s wages. And above all, there is the way God used the horrific evil of Roman crucifixion to reestablish cosmic justice in the universe.
Apparently some Christians have called upon this church to throw away that lottery ticket. They should pay more attention to their Bibles. Everything in creation is tainted by the corruption of the original sin. Everything. And yet, “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NIV)