Have you bought a Super 7 lotto ticket for tonight?

I was at the East Melbourne Library once and I saw this book on roulette. I read it and John and I had a lot of fun testing out some of the systems that the book put forward. We had this big glass bowl which we filled with all the numbers and we would play with pretend money and see how we fared. We had a lot of fun doing it.

One Saturday night we decided to catch the tram down to the Casino and give it a go with ‘real money’. We took a hundred dollars and told ourselves we were prepared to lose all of it. I think in reality we weren’t prepared to lose one cent. We favoured a system where you just bet on a colour – red or black. We placed a $5 bet on red to win. A black number came up. I was gutted. I was grieved for my $5 that quickly disappeared down some rabbit hole in the table. We put another $5 on red and then red came up and we got $10. Yay! I had this really good feeling at that moment and I realised why people liked this so much. You are literally buying what I call ‘the feeling of found money’. You know that feeling when you open a handbag you haven’t used for a while and there’s $50 in the side pocket or you put a something you haven’t worn for awhile on and find some money in the pocket or better still your walking along the road and you find some money on the ground with no obvious owner in sight. That was the feeling I had when I won that money. I felt like I had won a million dollars not $5.

I remember distinctly this man coming up to the table and putting $100 on a number and then hiding behind a pole because he was too afraid to watch the outcome. He was clearly not enjoying the process anymore. I was the exact opposite, I was thoroughly enjoying the experience, I kept getting told off by the croupier for flailing my arms too close to the table and for leaning too far over. We bet Red 7 times and it came up 7 times in a row and we had won a total profit of $30 dollars. We had decided before going to the Casino that if we won $30 we would leave, but we had only been there 15-20 minutes. We had imagined this was going to be a night out. The temptation to stay was overwhelming, but we left the Casino and got back on the tram. We decided to go get a video and then we went to the supermarket and bought over $20 in lollies, chips, chocolate and ice cream. We had the best night pigging out watching a video. We didn’t loose that ‘found money’ feeling by staying at the Casino and loosing the money and to this day I look back on that day with fondness retaining ‘the feeling of found money’.

I realised a number of things about ‘gambling’ that night and in my opinion it’s got very little to do with greed. My observation and experience was that it’s all about ‘that found money feeling’.  A ‘win’ can make you feel fantastic, on top of the world, and if you don’t have another way to cultivate that feeling in your life than it can become highly addictive. And if that addiction develops the outcome can be destructive and cause a life to unravel very quickly.  It’s the theft to cover up the losses, the lies, deception and fabrications that are needed to hide the mounting debt. The worse the problems get the more drive there is to ‘pursue’ ‘that good feeling’. Guilt, despair and hopelessness join the party and push harder to get that ‘good feeling’ back but by now even a win is not enough to bring relief from that ‘terrible feeling of loss and grief’ that has grown into an insatiable monster.

Buying a lottery ticket, putting a flutter on the Melbourne Cup, raffles tickets, playing blackjack, tatts lotto tickets and the pokies are an issue of personal conscience not law for every Christian. Do you know why we never went back to the Casino again, because I liked it a bit too much and I knew I could easily buy into the ‘lie’ that the only way I could capture that good feeling was to gamble for it.  Instead I dug deeper into my relationship with God to cultivate that ‘abundant, good feeling with Him’. Unlike your odds at tatts lotto or in the Casino your odds with God are sure and true. He promises to draw near to us, if we draw near to Him. He gives ‘joy, peace, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, wisdom and more without measure’ to every person that makes themselves available to Him.

I’ve bought a ticket for  the 70 million tonight and I am going to enjoy the moment but my ‘faith and feelings’ are not in that piece of paper it’s in a God who has always invested more in me than I ever have in Him. I could never repay God for His generosity toward me, it’s just not possible. I can buy a ticket with complete freedom of conscience and enjoy the outcome no matter what the result because He is more than enough.

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