I know how we are… we are always dreaming of what we will do if… what we will do when. That is ESPECIALLY since Saturday the NC “Education” Lottery payoff will be around 700 Million dollars. It is expected that many, many more people will be buying tickets for this drawing. I know the chances are very, very, very remote of winning. I also know that I am assured of not having a chance if I don’t buy one ticket.
Isn’t this the way it works: You get a card with all the numbers on it, pick your numbers, buy your ticket… and then the dreaming (I think which has already started) continues in all ernest. We turn to our spouse and utter these words: “If we win the lottery we will…” and then we go through the list we have in our written in our mind.
Early on in the process we would say:
- Pay off all my bills
- Pay my children out of debt
- Buy a new house
- Buy our kids a new house
- Buy a new car (my cousin is a car dealer – see him for a car)
- Pay for grandkids education (Yes, they still need to go to college)
- Give all my relatives a percentage
- Give the church 10% (Bargaining tool)
- Get a place at the beach
- Quit work
Does that sound about right? All of that has to do with making the lives better for ourselves and our family… the ones we love and care about. In the process some sort of epiphany happens to you. Somewhere along the way you expand that circle of caring to include all sorts of people and ideas. It is not a way of soothing the lottery gods, but a way of expanding our philosophical circle of concern… where it more aligns itself with the thoughts of Jesus.
What has touched my heart in this Epiphany season, with its winter blasts of sub-zero temperatures are who is really caring for the homeless in our town, county, state, country? I know there are people called by God to care for them all… and they do a very good job with what they have. But it is not yet a community-wide, citizen driven, government supported, top down, heart-felt concern. We are more concerned about where the money will come from, and the not in my neighborhood worries, than we are about really joining hearts and hands to do something about EVERY HUNGRY, HOMELESS CHILD.
When I mentioned that recently: “If I won the lottery I would do away with homelessness and hunger in Guilford County” the first response I received from several people was: “But what about all those people who make homelessness a business… stand on the street corners and beg while their BMW is parked down the street?” For me that is an excuse that we must deal with and get beyond in a compassionate way.
My thoughts are that to really do away with hunger and homelessness in Guilford County one would have to gather the forces of people in the know who could make a difference from all walks of life… government, community health ministries, finance people, food bank ministries, homeless representatives, and others as needed. It must cover all the areas of concern these people are facing on a daily basis. The second thing is that for this to work I believe it must be financially self-sustaining. We must find a way to generate funds to replenish the funds we are using… or it would run out before long… yes, even 700 million dollars.
I know I don’t know everything… or even all I need to know to do this in a sustainable way. But I do know that something MUST be done if we are to be the compassionate people and civilized society we say we are. What would you do… If you won the lottery? Would you care just for your own or expand your care to include the untouchables and the invisibles in our society?
Reach Out And Touch Someone… That is what Dr. James Howell asked us to do in his sermon on January 3rd, 2016. Here is our chance… lottery or not, we can do away with hunger and homelessness… if we have the heart to do so.
Lord Jesus, give us a touchable, reachable heart… so that we may reach out and touch all your children. Amen.