When the jackpot prize of the 6/55 Lotto of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office breached PHP300 million (more than US$7 million based on the current peso-dollar exchange rate), bettors not only trooped to the lotto outlets but also stormed the gates of heaven. A Catholic bishop criticized those misguided faithful who have even wiped their lotto tickets on religious images for divine favor (Read: luck). No doubt most of them vowed they would donate to the church or other charitable institutions if and when they win the astronomical jackpot.
Honestly I doubt if they would do what a retired Canadian couple did with their CAD$11.3 million lottery prize. (But first a disclaimer: I am not in any way encouraging people to bet on lotteries.) Seventy-eight-year-old Violeta Large was undergoing chemotherapy for cancer when she and husband, Allen, won the jackpot last July. But, for them, the money was a “headache” because “it brought anxiety over the prospect that crooked people might take advantage of them…So they began an $11 million donation spree to get rid of it and help others.” (Source: Yahoo! News) They only retained 2% for the rainy days. Married for 35 years, the couple was living off their savings from Allen’s income as a welder and Violeta’s as a retailer. In an interview, Violeta said, “We haven’t spent one cent on ourselves because we’ve been too busy getting everything looked after and with my health, I have to wait to get my health back to get the energy to do anything… Money can’t buy you health or happiness.” After taking care of their family first, they came up with a two-page-list of beneficiaries such as the Red Cross, the Salvation Army and the hospital where Violeta had cancer treatment.
Asked how she felt giving away millions of dollars, “It made us feel good… And there’s so much good being done with that money.” Her husband, Allen, tearfully added, “That money that we won was nothing… We have each other.” As far as the couple is concerned, the money was not really theirs at all. The couple’s hearts are in the right place. Matthew 6:21 tell us, “Your heart will always be where your treasure is.” (CEV) Violeta wisely said, “What you’ve never had, you never miss.” That’s the biblical mindset of stewardship: God is the ultimate Owner and we are just His managers. As such, wealth should have no hold on us.
Brethren, is your heart in the right place?