As I was teaching in Illinois, the lottery gave away 1.3 billion dollars. I know, because the fellows I was training had pooled their resources and purchased a bunch of tickets, intending to split the winnings if they should happen to hit upon the right numbers. They didn’t win, and Wednesday they were back in my class and back to life-as-usual, not a single billionaire among us.
Then, in the Wednesday-night Bible study where I was visiting in Carbondale, the teacher spoke briefly of the unimaginable wealth of kings like Nebuchadnezzar—wealth that gave him the ability to build a mountain in the middle of the city and turn it into a lovely garden. As the teacher was trying to get us to picture just how much money and influence these emperors had, I couldn’t help but think, “What on earth could one person need with all that money?”
The funny thing is that, regardless of your wealth or status, your earthly end is the same. The very night he was basking in his excess king Belshazzar was killed, and the Babylonian empire fell to the Medes. Wealth doesn’t buy long life. Power doesn’t stave off death. Status will not turn back the judgment of God.
Fortunately, we’ve got all that we need to live a life that pleases God, and that’s the only life that counts. “He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.” That’s wealth enough for me.
That’s something to think about.