Seeking Wisdom: Proverbs 13:13 – Winning The Lottery Is The Easy Part

“He who scorns instruction will pay for it,

   but he who respects a command is rewarded.”

Proverbs 13:13

Lottery winners fascinate me.

Think about it, millions of dollars are instantly heaped upon a very unassuming person that days before was buying a strawberry-mango slushy, a pack of Marlboros, and a PowerBall ticket at the 7Eleven just as they had done for years.

Now, after defying all mathematical probability, their bank accounts look like an expired yogurt in a hoarder’s refrigerator; bloated and ready to burst.

This newly minted millionaire is still trapped in a middle class money management body, but now has to answer the question of “What do I do with so much?” instead of “How can I do so much with so little?”

It really shouldn’t surprise us when these people spend their money on the craziest things like Samurai swords, Go-Cart tracks, and 300 sheep.  Equally unsurprising are the “friends” that rise up out of the woodwork like the SwampThing when the money arrives, but “shockingly”, not all of them are looking to congratulate them on their newfound success.  Just listen to this story I read about a man named Bud.

“William “Bud” Post won $16.2 million in the Pennsylvania lottery in 1988 but ended up living on his Social Security. “I wish it never happened. It was totally a nightmare,” says Post.

A former girlfriend successfully sued him for a share of his winnings. It wasn’t his only lawsuit. A brother was arrested for hiring a hit man to kill him, hoping to inherit a share of the winnings. Other siblings pestered him until he agreed to invest in a car business and a restaurant in Sarasota, Fla., – two ventures that brought no money back and further strained his relationship with his siblings. Post even spent time in jail for firing a gun over the head of a bill collector. Within a year, he was $1 million in debt.

Post admitted he was both careless and foolish, trying to please his family. He eventually declared bankruptcy. Now he lives quietly on $450 a month and food stamps. “I’m tired, I’m over 65 years old, and I just had a serious operation for a heart aneurysm. Lotteries don’t mean (anything) to me,” said Post. He died of respiratory failure.”

Solomon says in Proverbs 13:8  “A man’s riches may ransom his life, but a poor man hears no threat.”  I’m willing to bet that Bud would be saying “Amen” to those words.

Money has the potential to do great things in the hands of the right people.  I can’t over stress the word right in that last sentence.  So many of us say, “If I were rich I’d do so many good things”, but in reality more of us have the potential to end up like Bud than Warren Buffett.

This is true because most of us lack the wisdom to handle a small amount of money let alone a lot of money.  Our motto is “It’s my money I’ll do with it what I want!” and so we do exactly that.  Then when that runs out we want more and more and more and more.  As the richest modern day business man, John D. Rockefeller, said when asked “How much more money would people need to be happy?” he replied “Just a little bit more.”

The only way we can find balance to the grip money has on us in our life is through Godly wisdom and instruction.

In Proverbs 13:13, Solomon says, “He who scorns instruction will pay for it, but he who respects a command is rewarded.”  

If you break your foot you don’t try to fix it on your own you go to the doctor.  If your car breaks down you don’t tinker around and hope you can figure it out you go to the mechanic.  So why when you are financially handicapped do you not go to a financial professional for help?

If you don’t handle money well don’t be a fool and try to do it on your own.  Get some help, take a class, get a money manager, give your spouse control of the finances, or just reach out for wisdom from someone who can help any way you can.

The most foolish thing you can do is think it will get better or plan to win the lottery to make it better.  Either one of those options could leave you back at the 7Eleven buying a Slushy with the change from your car seats in no time.

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