Two headlines grabbed my attention this week. One had to do with the Powerball Jackpot. The other was the story about a gentleman who literally hit the jackpot years ago but lost it all this week.
The lines to buy lottery tickets have grown significantly since the announcement that tonight’s drawing will be for more than $1.4 billion. That’s $430 million for the Powerball Jackpot and $970 million for the Mega Millions jackpot. The odds of winning? According to CNBC, 1 in 88 quadrillion. According to the National Weather Service, you are 258 times more likely to be struck by lightning this year than winning the Mega Millions lottery.
On a sadder note, Paul Allen, multi-billionaire co-founder of Microsoft died this week after a battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He was originally diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease in 1983 and appeared to beat it until it resurfaced in 2009. A few weeks ago, he announced it had returned but shared an optimistic note on his website looking forward to a good result.
In 1975, two college dropouts who had been friends since their teenage years, Paul Allen and Bill Gates, founded Microsoft. A company that completely transformed the world in which we live. Allen was credited with naming the company by combining the words microcomputer and software. The company grew exponentially and made lots of people millionaires, some even billionaires. Allen became a billionaire at just over 30 years of age.
No matter what we have in this life, one day we’ll leave it all behind for the life to come.
He left Microsoft in 1982 due to illness and never returned full-time. He stayed busy with other interests, owning numerous mega yachts and sports franchises, including the SEATTLE SEAHAWKS and PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS. His yacht, the OCTOPUS, is one of the largest in the world at over 400 feet long. Among other phenomenal amenities, it has TWO helicopter pads, a pool and TWO submarines.
At one time he owned 80 percent of TICKETMASTER, helped fund IMAGINE Entertainment and DREAMWORKS, and was the primary financial backer for SpaceShipOne, the first privately funded ship to put a civilian into suborbital space around the earth. In 2014, he pledged $100 million to combat Ebola in West Africa.
As of 2016, even though he had given over $2 billion away to charitable causes, FORBES still estimated his wealth at $19 billion.
Paul Allen was 65 when he died this week.
What a contrast. One man who had it all, or at least $19 billion of it, left it all behind this week. Hundreds of millions more are purchasing lottery tickets hoping they’ll win it all, or at least $1.4 billion of it, tonight in the Powerball/Mega Millions drawing.
The Bible says, “Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness” (Ecclesiastes 5:10/NLT). No matter what we have, or how much of it we have, we should use it to honor God and invest it in the lives of others helping them get to Heaven. (I addressed that this past Sunday. You can watch what I shared here: https://vimeo.com/295051458.)
$19 billion wasn’t enough to keep Paul Allen alive and $1.4 billion won’t be enough to satisfy whoever wins the jackpot. No matter what we have in this life, one day we’ll leave it all behind for the life to come and the only thing that matters then is …
… Do you know the Lord?
© 2018. Barry L. Cameron
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.