“That’s impossible,” her father said. “We don’t play the lottery.” 1
“Because it’s a foolish gamble. You have one in eighteen million chances of winning. And that’s in a lottery for a single state. Some lotteries are for several states, and your odds could be as low one in one hundred and twenty million.”
“It’s still one chance.”
“Why don’t you start digging in the back yard for gold or oil or buried treasure? Your chances would be about the same.”
“Now you’re being silly.”
“Maybe I am. But I can tell you something you can have for sure that is worth millions of times more than the money from a lottery.”
“Sure you can.”
“Seriously, Marcia. God has offered us all the wealth of His kingdom and happiness forever, and we can have it for sure. And you don’t have to buy a single lottery ticket. Just give Him yourself.
[Thought Questions for From Slaves to Heirs November 16, 2011]
1. Slave or a member of the family. If you love Jesus with all your heart, won’t you be happy to be His slave? His servant? What is infinitely better about being His son (or daughter) than His slave? Are you ready to be wealthy? To have riches beyond comprehension? Does wealth always bring happiness? Have you ever known of someone who was ruined by having everything he or she wanted? How does God succeed in making us wealthy beyond measure without experiencing any of the negatives of being rich?
2. Baptism. When you were baptized (if you were), did you become a new person? Or did you come out of the water with the same feelings and temptations as before? What, if anything, changed at your baptism? What is the connection between your decision for baptism and your being a member of the family of God? Are you sure? Does God clothe us with His righteousness when we are baptized? How can we “keep our clothes on” as we continue to walk with Him?
3. To be a child. Have you ever marveled at the simplicity and innocence of a child? Have you ever reeled in distaste at the sight of a grownup acting like a child? Do you see the sacrifices and special offerings and festivals in the Old Testament as childish? In what way? Are there are those among us with a desire to have every detail of Christian life and every step to take spelled out for them? Or those who are convinced that we don’t need to think about our sins but just focus on Jesus? How should people with ideas different from what we believe the Bible (or Ellen White) teaches be accommodated?
4. Freedom. If God hates sin, why does He give us such remarkable freedom to rebel against Him? How valuable is God’s freedom to you? Do you ever feel impatient with God when He allows horrendous sins and evil deeds against His human family to persist? Would you rather have your will locked up safely in a “mind prison” where you could not sin? Why is this idea so abhorrent to God?
5. God sent His Son. Why was it important for Jesus to be born of a woman? Why was Jesus, the holy one, sent to live with fallen mankind? Couldn’t He have rescued us from this world of sin without setting his divinity aside and becoming human? Or did He ever lower Himself to be anything but divine? Were there risks in Jesus’ coming to this world? Or was it a risk-free “holiday” from heaven? What was Jesus’ relationship to the law throughout His life and death on earth? Explain.
6. Adoption. Have you ever observed tension between adopted and “real” children in a family? Why? Is being an adopted child of God “good enough” for you? Why? Does God’s goal in making us like Him extend to the point of making us gods? Why or why not? In what sense is an adopted child of God a free person? What made our redemption (re-buying) possible? God is buying us back. From whom? Or what? Should we try to allow others freedom? Even freedom to sin? Why?
7. Why go back to slavery? It sounds abhorrent–doesn’t it?–to choose slavery, but it happens every day. Even by people like you and me. Can Christians like you and I trip and fall on the false teachings of others within our belief system? What about revisiting the “sins of pleasure” we enjoyed before we decided to give our lives to Christ? What’s wrong with a little “fooling around” anyway? Once we choose to follow Jesus, does the devil stop trying to lure us into our selfish, sinful ways? What can we do about it?
8. Attitude. You and I may be doing all the right things, but does that guarantee the right attitude? Does God value our attitude more than our deeds? If so, does it matter as much what we do as it does how we feel about it? If so, then why worry about sinning? Just feel good and don’t let your conscience trouble you. Or does God mean something else? Should we put our need for a Christ-formed attitude ahead of our need to “feel good” and do what we feel like doing? How can we give our attitude to Christ for repair and renovation?