by: Andy Lawrenson
Did you see or hear the story of Shetara Sims, the single mother in Missouri who gave the $100 she won from a scratch-off lottery ticket to the family if a police officer who had been shot in the line of duty? It’s a genuine feel-good story that I believe illustrates a few valid biblical principles.
No, that principle isn’t for us all to go out and buy lottery tickets! I don’t believe gambling is practicing good stewardship of what we have. But, who hasn’t dreamed of what you would do with the money if you won the lottery, especially if it was one of those mega jackpot winnings of hundreds of thousands of dollars? I have. And the result of my dream is that I pat myself on the back because of how I would give most of it away to further the Gospel.
And then I say something to God like, “See God. If you would let me win a lottery look how much ahead you would be financially”. Then I realize how dumb that thought is.
Anyway, this single mom had a daughter murdered in 2012, and the police supported them with daily messages, family visits and more.
“The detectives were really there for us. They were there for us more than anyone I can imagine. They did things they didn’t have to do,” Sims said. “They came to see my kids. They did a lot. They were fathers, therapists. They were everything.”
Then one day she picked up a dollar she found in a parking lot and spent it on a lottery ticket, and won $100. Her daughter suggested that she give it to the family of the wounded cop. She sent it anonymously to the police department to go to the family. Being cops, they wanted to know where the $100 came from, so they did some detective work and somehow found her to thank her.
But there’s more to the story. Then, after learning she was a struggling single mom, they started a GoFundMe for her and quickly raised $12,000 as of yesterday.
What’s the biblical principle? It’s not to spend your money on lottery tickets hoping God will make you rich. He doesn’t work that way. But there are three lessons here.
1. Be kind to those who are hurting. The police were kind beyond the call of duty to Shetara when her daughter was killed. Shetara was then kind to the family of the wounded officer. Look for ways to express kindness to your neighbors and people you don’t even know. If God blesses you with some extra, share that blessing. Be kind, especially when you don’t have to be.
2. You will reap what you sow. God says so. And here is a story of someone who sowed kindness (the police) and then reaped kindness and generosity when they received that $100. For some of us $100 is not a lot of money, and to sow it wouldn’t be a big deal. But for a struggling single mom, $100 of groceries or gas or new shoes for her girl to wear to school was a big amount. But, she sowed it because of the kindness she had received earlier.
3. Give and it will be given to you. Remember the story of the widow’s meager amount of flour and oil that she gave to Elijah? Remember the widow who gave her last two pennies to the Lord? God honors that kind of generosity. What can you give to someone in need? Jesus promised that generosity doesn’t go unnoticed by the Lord, and He promises to take care of your needs.
We’re coming up on a time in our community when there are going to be some opportunities for us to give. Working parents are scrambling now, wondering how they’re going to work and homeschool their kids, even for 5 weeks. What can you or I do to help? How can we be generous?
You’ll reap what you sow.
Give and it will be given to you.
Contributor: Rick Lawrenson, Lead Pastor