In 2011, there was almost $262 billion in lottery tickets sold worldwide. That’s $262,000,000,000 in tickets. In other words, that’s an average of about $37 worth of lottery tickets per person. Nobody in my family bought a lottery ticket last year, so somebody else must have spent our $259.
Whatever the differences between the buyers—race, education, income, gender, favorite color—there is one common characteristic they all share. They want to win, preferably an amount that’s amazing and life-changing.
How many people actually win the lottery? I don’t know that statistic, but I do know it has to be considerably fewer than 262 billion.
You may not play the lottery, but what if I told you about a jackpot that was far more valuable than something that’s measured in dollars? And what if I told you that you didn’t have to pay any money up front, and that you were guaranteed to win if you truly wanted to?
It sounds too good to be true, but it isn’t. The guaranteed reality of living in relationship with Jesus is that you get a huge payoff.
I only wish I had realized this sooner. I’ve been a Christian for many years, but it’s taken me that entire time to grow in my knowledge of the incredible benefits of walking with Jesus…and I still have a long way to go. But I want to share with you some of the things I’ve learned along the way. Maybe they’ll help you too.
The first thing is this: Jesus is beyond incredible. When you consider getting to know Jesus deeper, you are considering getting to know an incredible Person. And He’s not just incredible because He can do impressive miracles and because He knows everything. He’s incredible because of who He is, not just because of what He does. The more I’ve gotten to know Him, the more I’ve found out that He is more amazing than I can possibly comprehend. Once I realized that the point of Christianity was getting to know Jesus, and not just doing (or avoiding!) a bunch of stuff, my whole focus changed. And as I began concentrating on getting to know Him rather than on just doing things right, I began to fall more in love with Him and became even more amazed by Him.
Now having said that, let me tell you the second thing I want to share with you: Jesus also does incredible things. Not only do you get to enjoy a relationship with someone who is already perfectly worthy of your love and perfectly trustworthy, who’s in it with you for the long haul, and who only gets more and more interesting and desirable, but He will also do incredible things for you. And He loves it when you ask Him for those things.
Sometimes we Christians get this crazy idea that we’re not supposed to ask God for much. We’re just supposed to be content with whatever He provides. Oh, but we couldn’t be more mistaken. You see, God delights in pouring out blessings upon us. He is most glorified when we most delight in Him and when we rely upon Him to give us what we need.
Do you need a friend? He’ll always be there for you. He’s never too busy to listen. He never reveals your secrets, and He loves to do things with you and go places with you.
Do you need comfort? He knows exactly how to comfort you through His Spirit within you. Sometimes He’ll even send a human being to help show you His comfort.
Do you need strength? He’ll give you His.
Do you need wisdom? He’ll tell you everything you need to know, and He never makes a wrong decision or an error in judgment.
Do you need healing in your heart and soul? He knows exactly how to bind up your wounds.
Do you need appreciation? He appreciates you 24/7/365, and He even puts in an extra day on Leap Year. And He won’t just appreciate you silently; He’ll tell you He appreciates you, over and over and over, as many times as you need to hear it.
Do you need love? He’ll pour it into your soul day in and day out, your whole life long. In fact, He’s inspired a whole book to be written that will reveal to you how much He loves you. (It’s called The Bible.)
Do you have any kind of need at all? He’ll meet it in the way that’s best for you out of His vast resources.
It’s not only that He died on the cross for us to pay for the sins we’d committed that we couldn’t pay for—though that in itself is far more than we deserve. You see, He didn’t make us spiritually alive just so that we could go through life feeling empty and disappointed, while grateful that at least we weren’t going to hell. The Bible says He transferred us from the kingdom of darkness into His marvelous light. That doesn’t mean just that we get to go to heaven when we die. It also means that being eternally in His perfectly awesome presence begins right now for us, right here on earth. We can begin enjoying and loving Him, and being perfectly enjoyed and perfectly loved by Him, right now. We can have the best Best Friend we could ever imagine, and we can spend every second of every day with Him.
I can’t think of anything better than that.
John 17:3—And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.