Someone purchased the sole winning Powerball ticket at a 7-Eleven store in Trenton, NJ. That ticket is worth $429.6 million. Imagine how many people who had purchased Powerball tickets were disappointed; likely virtually all of them except for one winner. There were other smaller winners but imagine how they felt to have come ‘oh so close’ and fallen short.
What does winning a huge amount of money such as this mean for the winner? On the upside, it means that this person should never have to worry about his or her financial future again unless he or she is capable of grossly mismanaging his or her money or hires someone who is less than scrupulous. On the downside, it means that he or she is going to be the target for all kinds of people who think they ought to somehow qualify for help from the winner.
If the winner is a churchgoer, I imagine that he or she will be thinking of a donation of some size to the church. If the winner has a family, he or she will probably think about helping the various members of the family. If the winner has special interests in groups or causes, I imagine that donations to those groups or causes will be made. If there are illnesses that might be cured with money, maybe some will go in that direction. Non-profit organizations that are important to the winner may be beneficiaries.
If the winner is a laborer, I suspect his or her laboring days may come to an end. If a business owner, there may be the sale of the business in the offing or the paying off of accumulated debt may occur. Some business owners have been known to share their largess with their employees whom they have come to view as members of ‘the family’. There may be the time now for the winner to do some of the things on his or her ‘bucket list’.
All these possibilities exist now for the person holding the winning ticket, BUT many more possibilities have now appeared even if still unseen or never before contemplated. Those include seeing sides of family members never before seen, and the surprise visits from those unrelated and unknown with what they consider special needs the winner ought to address. There will be sad cases that tear at heartstrings. There will be the get-richer-quicker schemes of con artists or con artists-in-training.
The winner will learn things about people that he or she never suspected, or at least never thought much about. The winner will learn that the publicity that is sure to come from being the winner is not a desirable thing no matter how much being famous might’ve been a secret dream.
Fame and fortune bring heavy burdens. Some will learn how to carry those burdens, and others will be demonized by the burdens. The costs of being a ‘mega-winner’ are only really known after the fact. We dream of all the neat things we could do, or buy or create if we had that much money. But we don’t really understand how much a burden it is to be rich, to be suddenly and publicly rich.
It would be good if we were to say a little prayer for the winner who will need those prayers if he or she is to stay much the same as he or she was last week. Wealth is not, in and of itself, bad, but the burdens that wealth can bring demands a lot of moral strength, and the grace of God in the form of wisdom that often is only gained through experience. It is, of course, possible that experience gathering may be painful in that we can see sides of others we never imagined to be there.
Say a little prayer for this winner.