And What Would You Do?

How would you react if you suddenly became wealthy?

Back when I was quite young, growing up in the late 50s, there was a TV show called The Millionaire. It featured a wealthy benefactor who anonymously gave various folks $1 million. The response of the people to this unexpected largesse was the main part of each episode. I sometimes think about that show, and wonder how it might work out today for folks on the receiving end.

While not a foolproof test, it seems to me that one indication of the sort of person you are can be determined by what you might do if you suddenly came into great wealth. Would you think of others – and not just close friends and family – or would you selfishly spend it all on yourself?

I was thinking about this last week. We often hear on the news about an individual or a group of people who just won a massive payout in some lottery or a similar thing. We learn about an ordinary Joe with a mortgage to pay and a family to feed who all of a sudden becomes a millionaire.

I guess all the folks buying these lotto tickets and going in for similar things are really hoping that they will suddenly find themselves rolling in the dough. Of course the truth is, the more people who enter into some lottery, the less chances they have of winning. If hundreds of thousands of tickets are sold, your odds of winning grow pretty slim indeed.

Yet people keep dishing out money on these sorts of things, and now and then someone does win – and win big. As I said, what you do with your newfound wealth is not a perfect indication of the sort of person you are, but it may well tell us some important things about you.

Although most folks would do some obvious things – pay off their mortgage, help struggling family members, help the kids pay their bills, etc – how many would think instantly of buying some new mansion by the beach, going on all sorts of exotic holidays, getting a bunch of hot new sports cars, or move to some tropical island to enjoy the good life for the rest of their days?

I suspect most folks would immediately think they can now join in the lifestyles of the rich and famous. I have thought about such things now and then, wondering what I would do if I all of a sudden found myself quite wealthy. To be honest, I usually think that I would give much of it away to various important causes, including various Christian activities and works.

For example, I would consider friends who are on the mission field who are struggling to have enough funds to keep going. I might consider helping various parachurch groups or ministries that are doing great jobs, but can use much more funding. Or there might be some church where the pastor is doing a fantastic job proclaiming the gospel, but is having a hard time simply getting a proper salary so he can feed his family.

Or I might think of friends or colleagues I know of, especially ministering in the developing world where any financial help to them would be a real blessing. So many things would come to mind IF I all of sudden got really rich. Sure, being a normal kinda guy, I would want to see my family members helped out, maybe helping the children have enough to afford buying their own homes, etc.

So it would be a mix of course, with some money going to family and friends, and some going to various worthy causes. I might even need to find – and pay for – a financial adviser to help me know how best to use or invest surplus funds.

But given that I am not expecting to inherit and/or be gifted with great riches any time soon – or ANY time for that matter – I do not think about such things that often. However, just a day or two ago I came upon one such story. And it was not the usual ‘I am now rich so I am going on a massive spending spree’ sort of story.

In this case the person gave away so much of the money she had gotten. I am not sure if the person is a believer or not, but it was a change of pace from the usually stories about instant millionaires. It starts like this:

Imagine winning the lottery, the sheer exhilaration and the endless possibilities that lie ahead. The dream of a sudden windfall has crossed the minds of many, leaving us pondering what we would do if such fortune came our way. While sports cars, luxurious mansions, and extravagant indulgences often come to mind, there are those who have a different vision—a vision centered around giving back.


Frances Connolly, a remarkable woman from the UK, found herself in the extraordinary position of winning the EuroMillions in 2019. As a former social worker and teacher from Northern Ireland, she discovered that luck had bestowed upon her an astounding fortune of £115 million (approximately $145 million).


Rather than keeping the wealth to herself, Frances had something extraordinary in mind from the very beginning. Even before her remarkable win, she had prepared a list of beneficiaries, firmly believing in the power of giving. While one might expect family members to top such a list, the truth is far more remarkable.


With her newfound abundance, Connolly established two charitable foundations, each with a distinct purpose. The first foundation bears the name of her late mother, Kathleen Graham, and operates in Northern Ireland. The second, known as the PFC Trust, offers support to local carers, the elderly, and refugees in her hometown.


It is estimated that Connolly has already given away more than half of her winnings, a staggering testament to her generosity. Astonishingly, she even kept her philanthropic endeavors a secret from her own husband, surprising him with her selfless acts.


However, it must be noted that Connolly’s dedication to giving back did not emerge overnight. Her commitment to the community has deep roots….

Well, that is one case of someone not being totally consumed with self and living the good life. And we know that money can cause all sorts of problems. We also read media accounts of a family being torn apart after a big financial windfall comes their way and they fight over it. And the same can happen as a will is contested. There are plenty of those horror stories to be found.

Spiritual application

Any new-found wealth can certainly be a mixed blessing. If it does not cause you to become a certain type of person, it likely will reveal the sort of person you already really are. What your real priorities and values in life are will almost certainly be revealed if you do become an overnight millionaire.

The Bible of course repeatedly warns about the dangers of riches. The love of many Christians can grow cold when the temptation of great wealth comes their way. And a good part of the reason why many believers are not blessed with such great wealth might be because God knows they would not use it rightly – they would quickly forget about God and live totally for self.

Yes, there is a gift of giving, and that presupposes that there are some rich Christians out there. And I know of some real godly men and women who ARE quite wealthy, but they have not consumed it all on themselves. They gladly help others and support so many good works and charitable causes.

So it is worth thinking about some of these things ahead of time. IF you came upon a large sum of money, what would you do with it? Although it is unlikely that most of us will be the winner of some mega-lottery, it is good to decide ahead of time how you might use any such newfound wealth.

And of course one need NOT be rich to think about how to spend what one has. The story Jesus told in Luke 21:1-4 makes that quite clear:

Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

[1427 words]

3 Replies to “And What Would You Do?”

  1. If one does come into unexpected wealth, it wouldn’t do any harm to donate some money to worthy charities, such as those in missionary fields who are also providing medical care and infrastructure to vulnerable impoverished communities or those in wartorn countries, or city missions that deal with homelessness, alcohol and drug addiction, mental illness and other social problems. That way, your money could be constructively and practically used to demonstrate the compassion, mercy and goodness of our Lord and Saviour.

  2. It is a truism that where you spend your money, that’s where your heart is. And equally true is that those who are generous with the little that they have, are generous with much, and visa versa.

    A bit off topic, but something I would strongly recommend, is to properly research. The scripture tells us to sow into good ground, and for Christians that must mean a group or individual that is focused on the cause of Christ’s Kingdom. Many of the more commonly known and prominently marketed “Christian” charities, apart from having disproportionately high overheads, have drifted far from their roots. Yes, there are tools available to the proportion of funds actually reached their intended target, but better yet, my suggestion is to look for, and get to know, people who are on the ground at the coalface who are both providing succour to others but who have committed their lives to reaching people for Christ (as we all should). You can build a relationship with them, effectively becoming part of their team through prayer and financial support, and know that your money and prayer is changing lives for eternity.

  3. I would like to think I would use most on donations to the charities I support and the rest I would set up some kind of investment that I would get monthly income from to be able to continue to contribute to those charities each month. If the largesse was large enough I would also set up some trusts for some cousins of mine.

    However I’m not sure if I would do that as I quit playing the lottery because I couldn’t even win the smaller prizes, we have a lotto here in the state that the amount you win is based on the number of balls you match. Each ball has a number and there are 5 white balls and 1 red ball. To get the millions you need all 6 but lesser prizes are available for other matches. I prayed hoping for the 5 white balls prize $100,000 plus’s multiplier (2-4X) didn’t get several times so tried for the $10,000 one with multiplier didn’t get that either so I simply figured God does want me to have that much. Or at least not yet.

    Sometimes we’re sure of what we would do but God knows what we REALLY would do and doesn’t allow us to be tempted. It is said we won’t be tempted beyond our ability to resist so some people aren’t tempted with thing others are simply because of the ability to resist. Those who are tempted and give in can’t blame God because they had the ability to resist the simply chose not to.

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