Well, last Friday came-and-went. Someone won the raffle and the motorcycle but it wasn’t me, not that I expected really to be the winner. There were thousands of entries. What were my chances to win? Next to zero! But someone had to win. Right? Why not me?
Ah. This is the reason those of us that enter such things do so. We just might be the one that wins! I don’t play any of the lottery games. None. But I know that if I did, my chances at winning would be minuscule. But those odds are what keep people going back over-and-over again. I just might be the one that beats the odds. I used to play the Reader’s Digest Sweepstakes and the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes. Of course, I’m only poorer for trying. But, the odds are as good for me as they are for others. Certainly.
When I was a pastor in Fort Madison, Iowa, the State of Iowa decided to restore Riverboat Gambling on the Mississippi River. Fort Madison and a similar city just 20 miles up the River, Burlington, were stops along the way. Now, the games of chance have moved off the River into town at the Catfish Bend Casino. I, along with other stake holders, met with the governor to discuss the problem of gambling addiction. That is, what resources were to be provided to help those afflicted. We were promised all the resources necessary but nothing was forthcoming.
Now, there is a world of difference between those who, like me, buy an occasional raffle ticket or who, 25 years ago, put my hopes in the odds to win this-or-that sweepstake, and someone who robs the rent money to try one more spin at the table but the emotional derivative is the same. I want to win! Don’t you? I deserve to win; at least as much as the next person!
Is this a moralistic diatribe? It certainly sounds like one. But that is not my intention. It is, in terms of my conscious motivation, an account (OK, maybe a confession) of my disappointment at not winning a motorcycle. Add to that a significant portion of sour grapes verbiage and it begins to sound a bit like a sermon.
The light that losing a raffle for a motorcycle shines upon my own soul is enlightening. Nevertheless, it’s important for me to recall this experience when I’m speaking to or even praying for someone with a gambling addiction. Hypocrisy lies in wait at the door. Two metaphors in a three sentence paragraph. I’d say I have a lot to learn about this before I can really write a fair post about this issue.