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Weekly Message To The Masses (March 21, 2004)         

       State lotteries, Powerball, casinos ... so many people play these games daily.  Most of them either think that money will solve their problems, give them security or give them more power than they think they have.  And some people gamble just for the fun of it.  Gambling has been found in almost every race and culture since 4,000 BC.

       My dad was one of those who gambled for the fun of it.  I can remember as a child he would play cards with his friends and others in the community.  Not always did these card games involve betting ... but often they did.  I can remember once when he played cards at the Paris Country Club (Paris, Missouri) and won quite a sum of money.  Now, my mother did not approve of gambling, being a Baptist ... but he finally told her that he had won the money and was going to buy her a gift with some of it ... but she refused to accept it.  Gambling was something that they did not agree on.  

     I have mixed feelings about gambling even though I have enjoyed some wonderful trips to Las Vegas prior to studying for the ministry ... and I have even put a few dollars in slot machines since.  I think that many of us gamble on a lot of things ... new business ventures ... investments; etc. so I don't judge gambling based on any moral opinion.  I firmly believe that gambling and spending are two things that we should only do if we have the money ... gamble with the money that we are willing to lose ... and spend only the money we have and don't use credit cards against money that we do not have yet.  Both are games of "chance" and there is always the chance that we will come up short.

INDIANAPOLIS - A man who was laid off last week from his job at a tractor factory claimed a $89 million Powerball prize Monday with the sole winning ticket.
    Tim Rivers said he and his wife, Pam, plan to buy a new house and move out of their mobile home in the town of Salem in southern Indiana.
    The couple, who are both 24 and have two young children, opted for the cash option and will receive $49.9 million before taxes, a Hoosier Lottery spokeswoman said.

     I read the news item above this past week.  At first glance it would look like this young couple got "lucky."   But, I don't think "luck" had much to do with it.  I believe it comes down to the difference between "have" and "be."  When the young man, Tim Rivers, found that he had won the Powerball Lottery, the first thing he did was call a financial planner.  Both Tim and his wife, Pam, want to further their education.  Pam plans to study nursing.  In other words, they both want to "be" something more than they were.  Wanting to "be" more is more spiritually powerful than wanting to "have" more.  Even without winning the Powerball Lottery, this young couple would have found a way to further their education ... winning $49.9 million dollars ... just opened up the way.  Now that the "way" has opened up ... it is still up to them to realize their goals.  Some people would not ... and most of us have read about people who win lotteries only to realize greater problems in their lives.  "Having" more will never make us happy ... "Be-ing" what we want to "Be" ... will.  I believe that the strong desire to "Be" more ... "Caused" this couple to win the lottery.  "Be-ing" more brings us closer to the Infinite.  The Infinite is always seeking to "Be" more through us ... always seeking an expansion of our consciousness of Good, of Happiness, Joy and Contentment.

       When we choose to "Be" more ... we can place our bets on God to see us to our goals.  We won't need luck or chance ... we won't have to worry or cause injury to anyone ... we won't have to know all the details of how we are going to "Be-come" that which we choose to "Be" ... we can just toss the dice of faith and know that God, Infinite Be-ing ... Is with us all the way! 

 And So It Is! 

Maximum Love,
Rev. Hank Bates

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