Well, the huge Mega Millions jackpot that had built up has been won. Sadly, I was not the winner, which probably is because I failed to buy a ticket. It turns out that the record $640 million dollar jackpot is going to be split by three winners, one each in Maryland, Illinois and Kansas. But the whole thing really caught the nation’s attention, didn’t it? There were long lines at vendors across the country and it seems as if everyone was excited.
CNN yesterday was running live ticker of tweets across the bottom of their broadcast showing all the things people would do with the money if they won. As it happens, just the night before, I was taking lunch break with my co-workers and they were engaging in the same speculation; what they were going to do if they won. But, alas, it seems that today is a day of shattered dreams for all but three people.
I’ve found myself wondering, as a Christian, what do I think about all this? Compassion doesn’t allow me to scold people for putting their trust in money instead of God. An aversion to insipid moralizing keeps me from telling people putting their trust in Jesus will assure them of winning. So what do I think? The more I reflected on what the guys said to me that night; and the more I read things scrolling across the screen of the TV, the more I felt that the lesson is that there really is a heaven and, on some level, everyone knows it.
The center of the “What I would do with the money?” chatter was always focused on how good it would be to be rich. Often the comments were very caring and giving, talking about all the good that they could do with the money. At other times it was more about how they could make life wonderful if only they won. And, yes, sometimes it was how they could make life less miserable if they had the money.
But the pattern was always the same. Something is wrong with this life, it is far from perfect, and it needs to be fixed. The flawed assumption that money can fix it doesn’t detract from the reality of the longing. Without articulating it, everyone seemed to know that in this sin-filled world things are not as they ought to be. Without even knowing exactly what they long for people sought a life that was perfect. In short, they were longing for heaven.
The encouragement I take from all this is that deep in every heart, even that of the most hardened materialist is the longing that only heaven can give. I may not have all the answers to their problems, but I do know how to give them directions to where they can be put to rest.