Weekly Devotional

Each week a devotional is sent to recipients around the country.  It begins with a story taken from my personal life, history, news media, or a current trend in society.  The story then connects with relevant passages from the Bible, and concludes with a challenge to consider personal applications.  These devotionals are intended to present the truth of the Bible to a non-christian, enlighten a new believer, as well as provide scriptural insight to the mature Christian.  This week's devotional  is provided below; don't forget to check this page when you return.  Anyone can join the list of recipients by contacting me at know.doubt.268@gmail.com .  There is no charge.  Your address is not shared with anyone.  And you can drop off the mailing list at any time.

Sweepstakes for Life  (January 15, 2021)

I received quite an offer in the mail, a sweepstakes letting me know I could win $5,000 a week for the rest of my life. All I had to do was put a sticker with my sweepstakes number on a form and mail it back. A brochure provided all the details of this amazing opportunity.

First, I could designate a secondary recipient who would continue to receive the money after I died. For their entire life. I didn’t have to buy anything, and I could submit additional entries. Then I noticed the odds of winning; I had one chance in 6,200,000,000.   The population of the entire world is 7.84 billion, which suggested we all had about the same chance of winning.

Limiting the sweepstakes to just the USA (population 331 million) didn’t seem to noticeably improve my chances. If the winnings were divided evenly in North Carolina (population 10,290,000), where I live, every year we would each get $0.02!  

Now the bad news. If you don’t submit your entry, you don’t win even if they draw your number. They just draw another number. The organizers can give your name to other businesses so you get their offers. And you have to pay all the taxes.

There were other sweepstakes prizes where the odds of winning also made me a long shot. A one-time prize of $1 million (1 chance in 3.84 billion) had about the same odds as winning a Ford Bronco (1 in 3.41 billion). My best chance was to win $500 (1 in 850,000).

The sweepstakes offer stimulated my thoughts about other types of odds I have had. For example, when I was born, I had a 50-50 chance to eventually go to heaven, and the same odds to go to hell, because there are only two options. If you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you go to heaven (Romans 10:9). If you don’t, you’re destined for hell (Revelation 20:15).

God only offers two options. There are no secondary prizes like a semi-heaven or a part-time hell. And you can’t designate a secondary beneficiary.  Your decision to accept Jesus is personal and is not transferrable to someone else. They still have a 50-50 chance on which they must act. This truth is imbedded in the story Jesus told of the rich man who died (Luke 16:19-31). In the interest of full disclosure, I must also point out that you cannot designate someone to go to hell, although your lifestyle and influence may tempt someone to choose the path to destruction. This concept can be found in many of the parables of Jesus (e.g. Matthew 22:4-14; 25:1-12, 14-27, 31-46).

While you must decide which option you want, the good news is there are no taxes to be paid if you choose Jesus; He paid them by his death (Matthew 26:28; Ephesians 1:7). There is, however, a heavy penalty to pay if you reject the Lord’s offer; not just the pain of fire, but eternal separation from God (Hebrews 10:26-31).

If you might be interested in the divine sweepstakes, don’t look in your mailbox. It has already been delivered by God sending His one and only Son (John 3:16). The offer is good until Jesus returns.

How do you like your odds? But don’t wait, time is running out.