Why I am Not Going to Pray You Win the Lottery
Over the years I have had innumerable people tell me that if they win the lottery, they will pay off our church building debt. I never quite know how to respond. They would have to really win a lot of money to pay off our church building debt. Since our debt is about $5,000,000 dollars and they we be taxed 50% and they probably want to keep 90% of the after tax windfall themselves, I am guessing they would have to win about $200,000,000.
I know that winning that much is possible now that there is a billion dollar lottery but it seems less possible than being killed by lightening and no one has ever taken out a life insurance policy on a lightening strike and promised to donate it to the church if they get zapped while mowing the yard (at least in my experience). Since I consider the lottery a tax for people who can’t do math, my hopes for a debt-less congregation are not aided by the “if I win the lottery” promises, nor am I driven to prayer pleading with God that they will win the Power Ball.
I must confess that I often wonder how much money people in congregations all over the country actually do spend on the lottery…and at the casinos. I am guessing quite a bit. My unscientific hypothesis is this: If people who attend church gave what they spend gambling to the building fund, most church debt loads would be paid off already.
-Rev. Shane L. Bishop, A Distinguished Evangelist of the United Methodist Church. is the Sr. Pastor of Christ Church in Fairview Heights, Illinois