For days I walked past customer service lines that were longer than grocery lines. I watched the Trending feed display the rapidly growing jackpot as it exceeded the anticipated one billion dollar mark. I listened to the news release staggering, record-breaking statistics for ticket sales. I read stories of Powerball hopefuls passionately attach their dreams and wishes to six numbers and a paper ticket.
It seemed as if the whole country must have been watching the news at 10:59 PM on January 16, 2016. On that night six numbers were picked and read. Millions of ticket holders watched with high hopes that they would be that one in a 292.2 million. But by 11:00 PM nearly every ticket holder was no longer hopeful. Dreams of exotic vacations, mansions and Maseratis vanished in an instant as millions had to lay down their ticket with not a cent to show for it. Someone else - three someone's to be exact - had won the fortune. Someone else would be living "the dream."
Millions of people banked on winning a jackpot that they hoped would change their lives. Some people promised to help their family, their church and their town if only they were the winner. Others said they could finally be happy if only they had money and what they believed would be endless security.
I'd love to tell those Powerball losers that they were already winners before they ever bought a ticket. The truth is we're all winners. We all have in our possession the winning ticket, just waiting to be redeemed. Every single one of us can cash in the ultimate, eternal prize which is salvation in Jesus Christ.
On the cross of Calvary Jesus picked the perfect numbers on our behalf. He bought us eternal security and endless joy. Then He rose again, delivering us from the sorrow of our depravity and spiritual poverty. He ascended into heaven leaving us with that ticket, urging each one of us to cash it in and live abundantly in the light of the prize.
The Powerball certainly changes people's lives but usually not for the better. Forty-four percent of lottery winners end up broke within five years. The likelihood of family estrangement, divorce and relationship fall-out is higher for the winners than the losers. The financial jackpot doesn't necessarily translate to a life of happiness and ease.
There is only one route to true happiness and it isn't found in a paper ticket. It is found in cashing in on the salvation bought and paid for by Jesus, the Savior of the world. New life in Christ is the only way to have lasting joy and eternal peace.
A Powerball worth millions will certainly change your life but salvation in Jesus Christ will save it.