Who isn’t looking for the quickest, easiest way of getting rich? Not just getting by, getting rich! This is why lotteries and scratch games are so popular. This is why our welfare system is stretched beyond its means. We all want something for nothing. I must admit, if I could find the perfect job, it would be one which I was not required to do anything, but was paid handsomely anyway. I wouldn’t want just my needs met, I’d like a job in which I had nothing to do, but whatever I wanted, and didn’t have to worry about any bills, any necessities, and could enjoy the most expensive of leisure activities—all on somebody else’s bankroll.

Let’s face it, though, those kinds of positions rarely if ever exist. They always come with a price tag, and it’s usually too high. Whenever someone puts up the dough, they want something to show for it. We all are like that. We want something for nothing, but expect something in return for our own investment.

I’ve developed a neat idea along this line concerning the state lotteries: If you really like to play the lottery, just drive by my house and toss your dollar out your window onto my lawn. In this way, you will have the pleasure of throwing your money away, and I’ll have the pleasure of an extra dollar or two.

The most interesting thing about this is what Jesus said about obligation:


            23“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents  was brought to him. 25Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.  26“The servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.             28“But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.             29“His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’             30“But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened.  32“Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.             35“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”                                    —Matthew  18:23-35(NIV) 

            I understand that this passage is about forgiveness. But at the risk of being labeled a blatant proof-texter, I think that the principle of responsibility applies as well.             Finally, I am convinced that working for our wages beats the something for nothing ideology that pervades much of the church today. The idea that we can simply use our faith as a springboard to riches, health, and power doesn’t hold with Christ’s example. The greater satisfaction comes from working and serving for the rewards that are lasting.