Today I learned that there were three winning numbers for the $1.5 billion power ball lottery.  In the last week alone the pot almost doubled from the previous week’s $800 million.  So many people were jumping in at the last minute by buying up lottery tickets with such a large prize at stake.  I am a little torn when it comes to lotteries.  On one hand, it allows millions of people to purchase big dreams for just a few bucks.  On the other hand, it promotes the desire to get rich quick, without putting in any effort to earn that money, which is a form of mental dust.  For the most part I assume people are buying lottery tickets for the fun of it, not to seriously pursue the wealth.  Since Hawaii is one of only 6 States that do no allow lotteries, I’m glad the temptation is not here.  I am happy for the three winners whose numbers were called, and wonder if they will spend the money philanthropically, or if they will hoard it selfishly.

In contrast to the excitement of the $1.5 billion payout, I also learned that a business colleague passed away a few days ago.  This gentleman lived in the mainland, and I would only see him once or twice a year when he visited the islands.  He was always in good spirits with a smile on his face.  He was an intelligent, insightful man, soft-spoken, but he had a passion for college football.  In fact, I heard that he followed his alma mater around the nation during football season attending every game in person, home or away, for over 10 years – an amazing feat and I’m sure it brought him much joy.  He happened to be in Hawaii just last weekend and finished up his business trip with a round of golf before heading back home on Monday.  And on Tuesday he was gone.

It was a shock to hear about his passing, and although Tenrikyo teaches that his body has been cast off and his soul has been returned to the bosom of God the Parent to await rebirth into this world, I thought what he would give to still be here and be able to continue rooting for his team next season.  I also thought about the pain endured by the family he left behind.  May his soul rest and return quickly to the earth!

We generally don’t really know which day will be our last in this lifetime.  When we think about the preciousness of each day being kept alive, how thankful we should be for God’s workings inside our bodies.  Winning a lottery pales in comparison to being blessed with yet another day of life, right???  So if you’re reading this and wake up tomorrow, you’ve already won the jackpot.

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Taiheiyo Church

I am a fourth generation American of Japanese descent. My great-grandfather immigrated to Hawaii in 1907, and founded Taiheiyo Church in 1931. My grandfather became the 2nd head minister in 1956, and my father succeeded him as the 3rd head minister in 1981. On November 7, 2015, I was installed as the 4th head minister.

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