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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Prosperity (05/11/06)

TITLE: Pick Six or Pick the Truth
By Joanne Malley
05/15/06


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Pick Six or Pick the Truth



Mere minutes before the lottery jackpot is released to a winner, the activity in my town shifts gears at an accelerated pace.

Hordes of people are en route to purchase the winning ticket that promises dreams come true. Lawnmower engines are shut, kids are shuffled into minivans whether clothed or not, and adults run from the house waving dollar bills at a frenetic pace.

Vehicles screech to a halt at the front doors of the convenience store and people blast through the entrance void of manners. Everyone in the brood is wheezing, perspiring and flushed in the face. All charge full force to the counter like a pack of gazelles in heat. Their mission is to be all over that ticket machine like hair on a gorilla.

I happened to be at the convenience store one of those frenzied days and, needless to stay, I was left standing at the checkout line without any service. In a cyclone of fear, both cashiers rushed to the ticket machines to quell the commotion, and my French Vanilla brew and I were jilted.

I’ve never seen such a display of desperation – except for the morning after Thanksgiving when shoppers maul each other at 6 a.m. at the department stores to buy stuff they’re friends and family are sure to return on December 26.

Well, the poor girls at the counter were obviously threatened when they caught several people salivate and foam at the mouth near the roll of instant-winning scratch-off tickets. When the lady in blue showed her fangs and sneered, I convinced myself that purchasing a cup of coffee didn’t compare to staying alive.

Of all days to forget my camera.

I gladly left everyone at the counter to debate who would be the next millionaire. After all, they had what they needed – “A dollar and a dream,” right?

They obviously envisioned packing up their problems, daily drudgeries and children to move to a mansion with a lifestyle change that guaranteed supposed lifelong bliss.

Even though they probably knew their chances were one in 86 million, they were convinced they had the winning ticket and already had their house on the market and the slow cooker in the trash. Why not? A personal chef would soon make their meals while they sat poolside.

I was desperate that day too, but was driven by my need for caffeine. I arrived at another establishment to obtain some coffee, but from the looks of things through the windows, it was the same insane performance as at the previous store.

I sat in my car for a few minutes to watch because I never pass up the chance for a top-notch show or a good laugh. However, I’m no animal. I did call 911 before the last person lost his teeth and hair. Then, I went home to brew my own coffee in a safer environment.

If only we could keep up that pace in our search for prosperity and abundance through a different venue. What if people suddenly began investigating the word of God for their search for “more” instead of taking a chance with a ticket that usually turns up empty promises?

Maybe it’s me, but I’d rather achieve my dreams through a sure thing than go through all that sweating, wheezing and inconvenience for a lousy one-dollar ticket. By doing it my way, I also bypass the need for an inhaler, learn a thing or two from an expert and reap rewards greater than a built in pool and a chef wearing a silly hat.

My way ensures that if I wait upon the Lord, I’ll prosper in ways that I could never dream. Happiness and godliness are not achieved when we search for things other than God, but when we allow God to work in us through His word. In doing so, spiritual prosperity makes any amount of money look minuscule in comparison and proves to be everlasting.

So, I choose to leave my dollar bill at the counter for those who really want that ticket or a cup of coffee, but pray that they’ll be spared the havoc that almost cost me my life in more ways than one.

I learned two valuable lessons that day, so I’d like to share them…

“It doesn’t take six numbers to be a winner,” and “Stay home and brew your own coffee!”



If they listen and obey God, then they will be blessed with prosperity throughout their lives.


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This article has been read 1134 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jessica Schmit05/18/06
This was extremely well written, very funny and contained an awesome message without being preachy. "Lawnmower engines are shut, kids are shuffled into minivans whether clothed or not, and adults run from the house waving dollar bills at a frenetic pace." This is one of several sentences I loved. You really "show" with your words. The audience can see everything! Great job.

terri tiffany05/19/06
Nice voice and humor throughout. Good message and good clear writing!
Lynda Schultz 05/19/06
Reminds me of subway stations on a Friday night. The description was exceptional, and your two lessons excellent. Good work.
Phyllis Inniss 05/20/06
A vivid picture of desperate measures to achieve success. You painted this scene so richly, with humour and understanding and still got your message across.
Floyd Jordan05/20/06
You speak your message so clearly and articulately. I can visualize your words and take with me something I can hold on to. Definitely a Masterful work.
Jan Ackerson 05/22/06
Wonderful! This one needs to be displayed somewhere as an exemplar of "How to Write a Teaching Piece without Preaching at Your Audience." What wit and charm! Loved it!
Teri Wilson05/22/06
Hi. I really enjoyed this piece. You do have a typo in the paragraph about shopping the day after Thanksgiving. It should say "their" friends and family. Just thought you would want to know.
Ann Grover05/22/06
Isn't this the message of our times, though... get rich without any sweat on the brow. One tiny nit-pick... their for they're... and possibly you meant 'salivating and foaming?' Other than that, you painted a very vivid picture; I'm feeling jostled and pushed... and need a coffee!
Joanne Malley05/22/06
So much for spellcheck and re-reading a gazillion times! Thanks for the corrections. It's greatly appreciated. Jo
Debbie OConnor05/22/06
Great fun and truth here. Brew your own coffee when the lottery jackpot is up...mental note taken! :)
T. F. Chezum05/22/06
Great story. I enjoyed the read, and the way it gave the lesson. As far as brew my own ... Luckily Starbucks doesn't sell lotto tickets. Great job.
Lynda Lee Schab 05/22/06
Ah, Jo. I just realized how much I've missed reading your work. I'm so glad you made your way back. LOVED this entry - you always make me laugh and punch me out with a great message at the same time. Excellent writing. Stick around this time, would you? Geesh. :-)
Love, Lynda
Anita Neuman05/22/06
Great humour with a great point. Well, done! (Although I pity all you folks living in the lands without Tim Hortons.)
Pat Guy 05/23/06
'When the lady in blue showed her fangs and sneered, I convinced myself that purchasing a cup of coffee didn’t compare to staying alive.' Only one of many dear Jo! :)

Feels good to read your work again! :) Um ... how 'bout bein a regular for a change? This come and go as you please stuff is for the ... 'ladies in blue.' ;)

Always love the 'funny coated' messages JoJo.
Rita Garcia05/23/06
Love it! Humor and a strong message right on target!
Dr. Sharon Schuetz05/23/06
What a great way to deliver suc a powerful message. I loved it.
Maxx .05/23/06
Is this another JoJo classic?!? Great job as always... it HAD to be yours. Too funny. You'll do well with this!
Cassie Memmer05/24/06
Funny take on prosperity. I enjoyed it!
dub W05/24/06
The shift from present tense to past without a transition bothered me, but I know the intention. Good humor, well conceived.
Beth Muehlhausen05/24/06
I can see the scene EXACTLY. The desperation and misplaced hope is.....sad. Great visuals and descriptions!