Friday, May 4, 2007

I Won The Lottery!!!

A couple months ago, my fiancee got a new job. It happened to be very close to where I work, too. She is a preschool teacher now. That's about the age when kids start to learn basic math, right? Well, here's a math problem for ya... let's see if you can get it:

Jen and Aaron both work near the mall. Jen works 4 blocks away from where Aaron works. It takes Aaron 5 minutes to walk to the mall from where he works. It takes Jen 10 minutes to walk from where she works to where Aaron works. If Jen and Aaron both work 2 blocks away from the mall, then how long does it take for Jen to walk to the mall?

If you didn't think too hard about this, then you came up with the right answer: 5 minutes [highlight to see answer]. However, if you thought hard about this question, then you would likely have been stumped. Because what you made a little drawing on a scratch piece of paper, mapping out the word problem. Then you ask yourself, Doesn't the mall take up a whole block? Does it count as a block, or doesn't it? And then I laugh because I find it humorous when a simple word problem can turn into such complication.

What does this have to do with me winning the lottery? Well, lately I have been thinking about the simplicity of probabilities.

The two of us meet for lunch almost every day, now that we work so close to each other. Often, we go to the mall and sit in the Food Court and eat our sack lunches. Nearby, there is a lottery-ticket dispenser thing that people can buy lottery tickets at.

I am amazed at how many people buy lottery tickets from that thing. It is unbelievable! And almost every day we see an old man who always drinks a cup of coffee, eats a candy bar, and buys lottery tickets. And the funny thing is that he buys them religiously. After he scratches off his first few tickets, he walks up to the counter and collects his winnings. What does he do with his winnings? That's right, he goes back to the machine and buys more tickets. After this cycle repeats itself several times and when the pile of silver-scratched-off stuff completely covers his table, he finishes the last few sips of his drink and heads for the door.

What kind of life is this? Flushing money down the toilet, hoping that you'll be lucky and win big bucks. Do these people know what the probabilities of winning the lottery are? Sure, their odds of winning are better with the scratch-off tickets than the SuperJackpotBall or whatever it's called, but they are still more likely to go waste their money before winning anything worth while. It's hard for me to believe that it is brainwashing people into thinking that "it's good to play," according to their slogan.

Then I got to thinking about how sad it is. Hoping in something like this. Hoping that some day you might get rich. There is no hope in that. Especially with the odds being so crappy. I'm glad that I have a purpose in life and a hope in something that is guaranteed (according to the Bible).

I didn't really win the lottery. I have won a few bucks in the past when my aunt gave me some scratch-off tickets for Christmas, but certainly nothing that will make me rich. However, I have certainly won big time in Christ. What are the odds that a perfect guy who says that He is God gets tortured and crucified all for the purpose of saving me, a dude 2000 years in the future that He never met.

Sounds pretty crazy, huh? Well, I'll take it!

Image taken from