Life is NOT a Raffle, 19NOV – #975

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This writing is spilling so fast in my brain, it’s like the Lord chomping at the bit for me to wake up. 

Life is NOT a Raffle, but money is a tool for God to use.

Raffles, I enjoy raffles. Yesterday at work, they held a fundraiser for the foodbank netting 1500 dollars for raffling off two expensive Yeti coolers.  Big prizes, big excitement. I didn’t win, but that’s ok. I didn’t need it anyway. I bought some extra tickets for my immediate coworker crew, as thank you’s. It’s good to simply say thank you for all you do. 

Why does John Wesley, of the Methodist church making, thought to frown on raffles? Gambling? I was raised catholic so this intrigued me, and whether that’s now a relaxed view or not, the good intention was and is to not tempt people who have few means into an addictive gambling moment, or to not take money from your neighbor, or to not fall into a destructive lifestyle. And whether John Wesley said it or not, I heard once: no gambling because life is not up for chance. That’s where I will pick up on the current running thoughts…  Life IS secured by Jesus and our belief in Him as Savior. Our buy-in to believing is paramount. And of course, we cannot buy, purchase tickets for, or steal salvation. That is the gift of God to Himself to have all His children (us) come home. The ultimate price He paid was Jesus for the necessary prize of saving us all.

I agree 100%. I believe in Jesus. I need Jesus. I love Jesus. We are chosen by Jesus before He chooses us. Not a coincidence or chance.

Yet I still enjoy raffles, my family had a one-armed bandit for nickels as a kid. I still enjoy bingo. I was raised catholic and in catholic school that was the lifeblood of fundraisers for education. Tuition was minimal then, outrageous in cost now, but necessary to run a building. Most schools have closed. It’s expensive. My parents helped at bingo, the cigarette smoke in the gymnasium rafters was thick in the 1970s, the Sunday night smoke was often still there Monday morning when gym classes started. Ugh. Bingo once only on Fridays became twice a week, Friday and Sunday. That was gambling some quality of life for exchange of money to run gym.

God choosing us by chance? No. Life is not a chance. Jesus is not a fluke. I liken fundraisers like this: you are hoping to win but you are ok if you don’t win. Some purchase and never check their tickets. In raffles, you like helping others, and really you could have given the money straight but that excitement about winning builds jackpots. How different is giving money directly to the church building? Well, similarly different. God bought you and your tickets and handed them to you, but if you never use your ticket, never open your eyes of your heart, even crumple your tickets, you miss out in knowing Him. If you lose your tickets have you lost your way? Well the WAY is already looking for you. JESUS WILL ALWAYS WANT YOU. 

In Christian living, you are supposed to tithe, 10% of gross income, plus talents and time, that is the interpretation of many biblical scholars.  Tithing is straight off the top giving – giving back the best to God who owns it all anyway. He doesn’t want leftovers, not bottom of the barrel. The first fist fruits, and directly to the house of God. Jackpot of life is salvation, so are we buying our ticket to heaven? Nope.

No ticket could be bought to send yourself to heaven. Why give money and time and talents to the church? Are you buying for yourself? Nope. You are not buying tickets but you ARE funding the means to get the message out. You ARE helping others. You are fueling the fire keepers of the Word, the pastors of purpose, and the workers for the Way. Perhaps you could see the giving as sacrifice for others in all this. So perhaps or YES, you see Jesus, the first born, first top cream of the crop, a blessed gift giving of Himself because He knew He was from God for God for us forever.  No sacrifice of our money could ever equate, but regardless, we are a gift to give back. We are to steward that money as well. An investment not a tax.

Tithe for life that is not just your own. Help the others see the Way. Dust off your dust and join in for fellowship for fueling faith-sharing. And not just money, but your time and talents. Your time reading the Word is time well spent, pondering the Word is golden time, writing and wondering, then acting out the Life gifted to you by living from the Word. Salvation secured, get back out there and see to the church helping secure more souls.  The world is not your prize, but seeing workers being able to work is a win. 

It’s not a raffle, but there IS excitement in saving souls. It’s not you saving others, it’s God who waters the seeds you plant. He does give you plenty of reasons to plant: the whole Kingdom of His Love is awaiting awakening of His children.  It’s not what He gambles because Jesus already won it, but it’s His mission and therefore ours too. Jesus finished the bridge between sin and death to freedom and life. We get to help spread the Good News. We get to Watch For God. Bingo – He’s got out number as planned, not pop-up.

So, we give unto the Lord for Him. We cheer as He is winning souls for re-claimed lives.

Amazing Amen !!!

—-

John 15:16-17 NIV

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.  This is my command: Love each other.

James 1:17-25 KJV

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.

But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

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