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To listen to this reflection as a podcast, click here.
For the price of a $2 ticket, you can indulge in the ultimate financial fantasy.

Tonight’s Mega Millions jackpot drawing is expected to exceed $1.35 billion, the second-largest prize ever. 
After taxes, a solo winner (if he or she requests the lump sum payout) would somehow have to figure out how to spend $708 million.  

If you turn out to be the lucky person on this Friday the 13th, you could pay off all your debts.  Resolve all of your lodging and transportation needs.  Order anything you want off the menu at any restaurant.  Or just put a fast-food franchise of your choice into your own kitchen – in that amazing new house on the small island that will belong exclusively to you.
With hundreds of millions of dollars we could bless countless other people.  We could share the love with everyone we meet.
Does this sound like the best thing that could ever happen to you?

It’s not.
In fact, winning the Mega Millions jackpot might turn out to be the ultimate Anti-Blessing.
Let’s start with the opinions of actual billionaires.  Mark Cuban says, “If you weren’t happy yesterday, you won’t be happy tomorrow.  It’s money.  It’s not happiness.”  If as a rule of thumb you dismiss anything Mark Cuban says, here’s Warren Buffett: “If you were a jerk before, you’ll become a bigger jerk with a billion dollars.”  Money, in other words, is powerless to produce either joy or character.
John D. Rockefeller: “I have made millions, but they have brought me no happiness.”  Henry Ford: “I was happier when doing a mechanic’s job.”  John Jacob Astor: “I am the most miserable man on earth.”
Since it takes more than a few Debbie Downer comments from some depressed rich guys to quell Mega Millions fever, consider the studies that have compared people who have won the lottery with people who have become quadriplegics.  For the first few months the lottery winners seem to be on happiness steroids.  People who are unable to move any of their limbs often yearn for death.
But within a few years there’s a radical reversal of fortune.  The degree of satisfaction with life becomes virtually identical for those with gobs of money and those with no mobility.  That’s because the experience of being blessed is, in the end, fundamentally independent of our circumstances.
Think about it:  Everything that belongs to you, and everything that is you, is going to slip right through your fingers one day.
You’re going to end up losing it all:  Your favorite stuff.  Your car.  Your marketable job skills.  Your most precious friends and family members.  Your health.  Your beauty.  Your capacity to care for yourself.  Ultimately, even your ability to take your next breath.
You can’t hold on to any of it.
So what does it really mean to be blessed?
The Scriptures of both Old and New Testaments suggest that we are blessed when we grasp that even though everything we have is slipping through our fingers, we can never lose the blessing of being held by God.  Picking this evening’s winning numbers may actually prevent us from being blessed.  The curse of money is that it tempts us to believe we can be happy on our own terms.  But universal human experience has demonstrated that it never turns out that way.
Still, wouldn’t it be great to have all that money to share with others?
But we don’t need a billion dollars to bless others.  It doesn’t cost a thing to smile, offer encouragement, listen carefully, and act compassionately.  We can do all those things a dozen times today.  For free.
So if your lucky numbers fail to come up tonight, don’t despair.
Whatever we might seem to gain or lose over the next 24 hours, nothing can snatch us out of our heavenly Father’s hand (John 10:29). 
That’s a blessing that’s worth a whole lot more than $1.35 billion dollars.