How did you celebrate your eighteenth birthday? Canadian Juliette Lamour bought a Quick Pick lotto ticket. It was her grandfather’s idea and he thought it would be a fun way to commemorate her big day. Neither had any idea just how big of a day it would become.
But by the time the results were released, Ms. Lamour had forgotten that she’d even bought a ticket. It wasn’t until her coworkers started talking about how the winning ticket had been sold in her area that she thought to check the results.
As soon as she scanned the ticket, her screen lit up with “Big Winner” as the lotto’s jingle began to blare through the phone’s speakers.
It was at that point Juliette Lamour realized she’d just won $48 million—nearly $37 million in US currency. She’s now the youngest person in Canadian history to win that much from the lottery.
Juliette Lamour: “Money doesn’t define you”
She plans to invest the money “carefully,” using it to finance her dreams of becoming a doctor without having to worry about loans or grants—though a bit of traveling with her family once she finishes school is also on the agenda.
She said of her big win, “Money doesn’t define you. It’s the work you do that will define you.” Those are admirable sentiments to be sure, and I hope the coming years show that they are words she lives by.
However, given that about 70 percent of people who win the lottery, receive a large inheritance, or otherwise come into vast sums of money quickly go bankrupt within a few years of their windfall, not letting her newfound fortune define her would be more the exception than the norm.
But either way, Juliette Lamour’s story and her statement serve as important reminders for all of us today. After all, you don’t have to win the lottery to struggle with the temptation of allowing money to define your approach to life. And that was just as true in the first century as it is today.
Fortunately, Christ’s guidance on the subject is just as relevant today.
What your treasure says about your heart
Toward the end of Matthew 6, Jesus cautions his disciples against storing “up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal” (v. 19). Instead, he encourages them to focus on accumulating treasure in heaven instead because “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (v. 21).
In these verses, Jesus addresses the three primary forms of wealth people possessed in his day: clothing, food, and possessions. It’s important to note, however, that he understands how necessary each of them is. His very next thought turns to how they can trust God to provide these same necessities if they follow his will (vv. 25–33).
It’s not a sin to have resources or be wealthy. But it is a sin to let that wealth become your master, and Jesus is very clear that unless God remains our focus, we will eventually find ourselves enslaved to the resources meant to serve him (v. 24).
The temptation is always going to be to try to manage both, thinking that as long as God remains our top priority, it doesn’t matter how small the gap gets between him and whatever comes in second. Unfortunately, that sort of thinking invariably leads to other concerns overtaking the Lord as our primary focus at some point.
As the gap between God and money shrinks, it can be easy for the Lord to fall into second place when our circumstances change. That’s the temptation against which he’s warning in this passage, and the best way to make sure it doesn’t happen is to keep our hearts set on Christ and his kingdom to such an extent that every facet of our lives serves him.
Where is your heart today?