$1.5 Billion Dollar Lottery!

Temptation is different for everyone, but everyone is tempted. These past few days I have been tempted by the lottery that climbed to $1.5 billion dollars. I was so tempted that I tried to figure out when and where I would buy just one ticket without my husband or children knowing. I thought about what I would do with the money if I was the sole winner—would I move? Would I upgrade my camper? Would I travel in First Class to Europe? I wouldn’t have to work anymore—I can just enjoy life.

Then I thought about how my husband would react if I won—he would be very disappointed with me, and the church would think I was a hypocrite. I know they wouldn’t accept any lottery money from me, but I would feel compelled to give money to some kind of charity so I’d try to find a few just to ease my guilt.

As I put more thought into what the $1 ticket might bring (I don’t play the lottery so I’m assuming the tickets are a dollar), I thought about the life I already have. I wouldn’t want to move—I like where I am, I love my old camper—I personalized it and it feels like it’s a part of me, and I like to find bargain travels.

If I gave money to my children so that they can buy better cars and better homes then what have I taught them? I wouldn’t have taught them that hard work brings self-satisfaction, and that paying off student debt, a car loan, or the mortgage brings a sense of accomplishment.

I then thought about the other things that would result from a lottery win—people trying to kidnap my children and grandchildren for ransom, people trying to kidnap me to extort money, etc.

I recalled the words I had read on a friend’s Facebook page recently—“Am I not enough?” Is God really enough for me? Wouldn’t He give me the desires of my heart and meet my needs? He has never left me hungry, and we’ve always had enough money to pay our bills. Do I really want to forsake God for the lottery? Some might say that God could use the lottery to bless someone, but that’s just a way to justify it.

So I’ve come full circle. I was tempted to buy one lottery ticket, but after much thought I’ve decided to be content with what I have and to trust God for all my needs. Plus, I enjoy my job of interacting with students and trying to bring them closer to God (also, I think I would be really bored after a while of doing nothing).

I am now honestly afraid of winning the lottery because of the unknown road that it would take me. If you’re tempted to buy a lottery ticket—don’t. Pray harder and trust God more!

Copyright © 2016 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti
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The crack

A few months ago, we thought about moving to a different house—one with a flat backyard and a wider area on the main floor for entertaining. The realtor we met at one of the houses we viewed offered to look at our house to give us an estimate of its value (what we can expect to get for it) and to give us advice on how we could sell it.

When he came into our house, he looked at the living room and kitchen. He mentioned how people are looking for an open concept (which we have) and a large ranch (again, which we have). He felt that if we put our house on the market then it would be sold right away since it was a property that was very desirable and in a good neighborhood.

Then he told us some of the things we could do to make it more marketable. He mentioned little things like de-clutter, take pictures off the wall, etc.  He said one of the big things he noticed was the large crack in the ceiling of the den. I took a good look at it—the crack had become so much bigger than what it was originally. It used to be a thin line, hardly noticeable, but now it runs across the whole ceiling and is slowly coming down along the wall. When did that happen?

It made me think about how our spiritual life can be like that crack in the ceiling. For instance, we neglect to do little things such as read our Bible, and then we neglect to pray. After a while we start missing worship services—maybe just one every couple of months, but then it becomes more frequent. Or maybe there’s a temptation that we’ve been resisting, but one day we decide to try it “just this once.” The one time turns into a multitude of times.

James 1:14-15 says, “Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death” (NLT). We don’t always notice when we have “veered from the path” or when we have “fallen away.” We convince ourselves that it’s “not that bad,” then compare our situation to those that are far worse. As a result, our lives become less joyful and we start to experience problems that were not there before. 

Take a good look at your life— has the “crack” in your life become bigger?  Don’t ignore the issue anymore. Run to God!

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

The bag without a tag

Temptation can come in many forms. The other night, my son and I went to a local thrift store because we heard they were having a “50% off” sale on fur and leather coats. I found a bag that I really wanted but it had no tag on it. I looked on the floor, hoping I would find the tag but none was found. I thought about taking a tag from one of the other bags—I looked at all the prices and found one that was $1.99. I told myself that any money the store gets would be profit since all of their merchandise was donated.

After seriously contemplating about it, I decided not to take the tag off the other bag, and then I tried to hide the bag I wanted so that no one else could get it. I was thinking that I can come back when they were having a “half-off” sale on bags—of course that didn’t solve the issue of the bag not having a tag. Once I walked away for a little bit, I decided that the best thing to do was to bring the bag to the counter and have them reprocess it so it can have a tag—my thinking was, after it was reprocessed and I see it again, then I was meant to buy it.

I went up to the counter and asked, “How much are your bags?” (I was hoping they had a set price for “ordinary” bags). He said that the price should be on the bag. I then explained that this one had no price tag. He examined it for a few seconds and said, “How about $4?” (I had noticed that most of the bags were $4). I was stunned—the policy of the store had always been that they would not sell merchandise without a tag. I replied, “That’s fine.”

What I learned from that experience is that I just need to do the right thing no matter what the situation. I should never do anything unethical, even for something as small as a used bag. Also, I learned that God will make positive things happen when you resist temptation.

Yes, I wanted the bag and even though I would have technically paid a price for it (by ripping off another bag’s tag), I should never resort to doing any “underhanded” tactics to get something (it’s a bag today but what will it be in the future?).  James 1:14-15 says, “Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death” (NLT). Bottom line– “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7b).