What Does Winning The Lottery Have To Do With Marriage and Heaven? Part 1
Years ago, when I was a young boy, a radio station called my home at random as part of some marketing campaign and broadcast their recording live and on air. Because I answered the phone, the DJ informed me that I just won a prize. I won an African Violet plant! I was 10 years old. At age 10, I had never won anything before. I couldn’t believe it. Others were always the winners, not me. Yet, that day it was me! I felt incredibly special.
The feeling I had at that moment was intense and joyful. I still remember it today, decades later. Interestingly, in my mind’s eye, I still see the small potted African Violet arriving at our home. For me. I was the recipient. The winner!
Do you recall the first time you won something?
I predict you have that moment etched in your mind. True? Reflect for a second. Can you pull back the memory of that first win? It could be a door prize at a party or a raffle ticket that had the winning number. Or, it could be the first prize awarded for best performance. You crossed the finish line first in the 100 yard dash or your solo violin piece delighted the judges and you received all the first place votes.
What recollection surfaces? I wager the delight of that honor still lingers as you reminisce.
Of course, the value of the prize varies. In my case, the African Violet probably cost less than the expense of delivering it to my home, whereas imagine the feelings of those winning monster-sized lotteries. What would be the emotions of someone like Harold Diamond who won $326,000,000 in the New York state Mega Millions lottery?
What would you feel given you acquired a check of that magnitude? Can you wrap your brain around it? To receive a gift of this enormity blows the mind.
Many in our culture dream of such a purse. After each paycheck from their job, they buy Powerball tickets with the fond hope of cashing in, quitting their job and living a worry-free life. They go to work day after day with the inner thought, “When I win the big one they can take this job and shuffle it to someone else."
Others of us realize the odds are against us. It is all the more probable that we’d be hit by lightning twice than to win once at Powerball.
So it is, some dream of an earthly paradise which shall never be, while others reject the glories as so improbable it borders on impossible.
Ok, Emerson, why are you bringing this up?
What if I told you that you will, in fact, receive something that has value far exceeding a winning lottery ticket worth $326,000,000?
The truth is, for the faithful Christ-follower, a moment awaits us in Heaven that exceeds anything we can imagine on earth.
Listen to Paul’s testimony.
What the apostle saw there is “inexpressible!” Fourteen years earlier, he says in 2 Corinthians 12:4, he "was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak."
The reality of heaven is too wonderful to tell. It is so astounding that no one can describe it with words. Paul could not capture the glory of heaven. What he saw and heard exceeded language’s capacity to capture reality.
Remember, Jesus was “taken up in glory” (1 Timothy 3:16). What other word better describes the eternal realm with God? Yet, that word falls short. What Jesus entered is inexpressible.
And what we will enter is inexpressible, as well. As with Jesus, a day is coming when that "glory...is to be revealed” to every believer (1 Peter 5:1) and we will “gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 2:14) at that moment.
Friends, something is coming and it is inexpressible. It is a lightyears beyond any glory we know in our experience.
This is why I preach the Rewarded Cycle, which teaches that we do what we do “unto Christ.” In our marriages and families we see the bigger picture of what awaits us.
The tough times with a spouse or with kids or at work or wherever are seen in light of the coming glory. These difficulties do not compare to the glory that awaits.
Read what Paul and Peter say about this.
2 Corinthians 4:17--“For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison…”
Romans 8:18--“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
1 Peter 5:10--“After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.”
Jude 1:24--“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy."