A Million Dollars: So What’s the Bad News?

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Photo by Simon Davidson

Today we get to test ourselves by imagining the following situation:

You’re at your house and you just got home from a busy day of work.  Your tired body slumps on a chair until you hear a knock at the door.  Dragging yourself to the door you are greeted by someone who tells you that you won a million dollars. How do you feel?

I suspect you probably automatically start thinking about all the wonderful things this million dollars is going to bring to your life:

  • The ability to quit your job
  • The freedom to buy gifts for friends and family
  • The opportunity to give to those in need
  • The change to get a bigger home and newer vehicle
  • The possibly to take the family on a big vacation

But, here is the interesting thing – all of those are positive.  They are positive because somewhere deep inside we have bought into the myth that money does buy happiness.  We have accepted the false assumption that life can only get better when you have more money.

Could there be anything negative about winning a million dollars?

Here are some things Jason Zweig mentions in his book Your Money and Your Brain: How the New Science of Neuroeconomics Can Help Make You Rich

  • Phone rings off the hook with calls from crooks and desperately friendly acquaintances
  • Living in your new mansion you feel isolated from your former friends and neighbors
  • Besieged by long lost relatives
  • Everyone you ever rubbed wrong files a lawsuit
  • Quit your job and you miss your fiends and go crazy with boredom
  • Co-workers hate you or hit you up for money
  • Becomes hard to tell who your real friends are
  • At home you bicker about what to do with the money

The point of this post is not to say it would be evil to win a million dollars.  Or anyone who has a million dollars is evil.  But, it is to force us to question our deepest impulses.  Do we really believe money can only bring blessings?

Devotional Response

If you are married, sit down and talk about the following questions with your spouse.  If you are unmarried, find a friend who will help you think through the following questions.  Then read and reflect on the scripture thought (1 Tim. 6:6-10).  What phrases in that Bible verse are most meaningful to you in light of the exercise today?  Conclude your time with an honest prayer where you submit yourself and your finances to God.  Ask God to lead you in areas of your fleshly weakness.

Questions for personal spiritual reflection:

Are there deep parts of you that still embrace the lie that money can solve many or most of your problems?

Do you find it difficult to imagine that money could bring negative consequences? Why or why not?

Are you feasting on the false hope that by getting money you get a better life?

What do your emotions surrounding the idea of winning a million dollars reveal to you?

Scripture thought:

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Timothy 6:6-10 NIV Bold and underline mine)


  1. says


    Because I never play the lottery, I (somewhat pompously) don’t ask myself what I would do with a million dollars. But your post and scripture reference forces me to think about where true contentment comes from. And I must confess that I drift toward placing my security in my finances instead of the Lord.
    Thanks for keeping me on task!
    .-= Joe Plemon´s last blog ..My Decision to Start Social Security Benefits Early =-.

  2. says

    I enjoyed this post. I saw a TV show not to long ago about what has happened to many people who have won the lottery. The results were frightening. It just goes to show if you’re not good with managing small amounts of money you won’t be any better with large amounts of it. Some may be blessed with much, but if you’re already following God’s plan for your finances, knowing how to use the money may be as clear as following what is communicated in the Crown Money Map or Dave Ramsey Baby Steps.
    .-= Jason @ One Money Design´s last blog ..OMD QuickPress: Money Map Coaching =-.

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