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Why I'm not buying a Powerball ticket (but will buy a Mega-million one)

I don't have anything to say about David Bowie, so I thought I'd write about the other event people seem to be captivated by, and that's the billion-dollar Powerball lottery.

After prayerful consideration -- really, I considered it, while praying -- I decided I would NOT buy one.

It's not because I hate standing in lines, or because the odds of winning are so horrible. I believe in miracles. And despite the odds, someone (or now, likely many someones) will eventually win this thing. 

And yes, I do realize that even though the odds are nearly impossible, the only way of guaranteeing one can NOT win is by not buying a ticket. 

And that's exactly why I'm not buying a ticket.

I've decided that I honestly, sincerely, do not want to win that much money.   

Now lest you think I'm some holier-than-thou, Zen-like, Ghandi-esque or Ignatius of Loyola-esque person who is perfectly content with my already richer-than-most life -- someone who doesn't dream of having even more wealth, and of all good and fun things I could do with it, let me hasten to add: 

I sometimes buy Mega-million tickets. I even bought a Powerball ticket a few weeks ago, before the prize amounts got so big. That's because -- God forgive me -- sure, I would love to win (or earn) a million or even a couple million dollars.

But -- sorry Philosophy 101 professors -- there IS a qualitative change with a quantitative increase. The quality of the winnings -- the quality of life (or lack thereof) -- does change once the dollar amounts of the winnings get beyond a certain point. I don't know where that point is, but I do know hundreds of millions of dollars is beyond it.

I do not presume to judge anyone else who has decided they want that much money, but for me, I have decided I really do not want the changes that a billion dollars (or half a billion dollars, or a hundred million, or even tens of millions of dollars) would bring. 

That's because it's a fact that winning several hundred million dollars -- even if you give 99% of it away -- would change your life forever. 

And here's the thing:

I realized, in praying about this, that I LIKE my life. I really do. 

Actually, I love my life. 

I love my job. Not all the time, and sure it has headaches and hassles and stresses and sure, it'd be fun not to have to work, or to just do the work I wanted to do. But overall, I love my job. 

I love the house we live in. Sure, it'd be nice to own our own home, or a retirement home on some beach. But I love our house. 

I love the town we live in. Sure, it'd be nice to live in Siena, Italy for a while, or go on long vacations. But I love the city we live in. 

I love my friends, and I love the fact that the reason my friends text or FB message me or call me or ask to get together, is because they seem to actually like me and my company (or, equally possible, they like my wife and her company so much they're willing to put up with me).

I love my relative anonymity, and privacy: my wife and I can go grocery shopping, or to a movie, or to the local pub, and usually neither of us are recognized by very many people. Sure, I want my Slaying Your Goliaths: How God Can Help new book to take off, and I want to be invited to book signing parties and to conferences and retreats and to travel the country speaking about it, and I even dream of all that leading to being on a television talk show or -- heart be still -- the guest of Krista Tippett on her On Being radio show so my book could take off exponentially and that many more people could be reached through my writing. But it's the writing I want to become famous, not me, because overall, I like my relative anonymity, and privacy.  

Winning the Powerball would change all that.

It'd change my job; we'd likely have to move; it'd stress our friendships. And I'd be famous, not for my writing or the ideas and passion I share, but for being "That Multimillionaire."

In other words, winning the Powerball lottery would change my life.

And while I'd love to accentuate, and improve, and make changes IN my life, I don't want to change my life. I love it, pretty much the way it is. 


  1. Well said John! I am very glad you are so satisfied with your life. Well done.


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