Clarence Jackson Jr. missed $5.8 million by just three days. His reasons for missing the deadline seemed so reasonable. But it doesn’t change the fact he missed it.

Mr. Jackson Jr. was just 23 on October 13, 1995 when the Connecticut Lottery Corporation drew the winning number. This young man was busy working as a janitor back then, trying to support his family. He missed the one year deadline for claiming the multi-million jackpot by three days.

He told local newspapers at the time, that he had been working hard
and was distracted by caring for his sick father. By the time he realized he had the winning numbers it was fifteen minutes from midnight on a Sunday. ClarenceJacksonlottery.jpgHe figured the lottery headquarters would be closed. To make matters worse, that Monday was Columbus Day and he figured everything would be closed and there would be no possible way to contact a State official. Tuesday arrived and he was so distraught and depressed about missing the deadline he did nothing. On Wednesday, three days after the ticket’s expiration he drove to the headquarters near Hartford but the news was not good: he was too late.

Ten years later Mr. Jackson is still working every angle to get the big win he missed by three days. Lobbyists and lawmakers are trying to figure out a way to bend the rules to benefit Mr. Jackson. One lobbyist, Carroll J. Hughes said: “It was terribly tragic. Here you have this wonderful kid who had taken care of his father and missing out on such a surprising and amazing thing.” (1)

As I write this 57 minutes are remaining for someone to step up and claim last year’s $3.5 million prize. But at the stroke of midnight all hope vanishes of the winner ever receiving their millions. One minute after midnight, that person will join the list of wish-I-hads, would-have-beens, could-have-beens and should-have-beens.

Ten years after missing the deadline, Mr. Jackson is still lamenting his loss. He is still pleading for consideration and compassion given his plight and distractions at the time.

Far more significant is the fact that you are in danger of missing the deadline for God’s amazing gift of eternal life. As busy as you might be and as bogged down as you probably are, you can not afford to miss God’s deadline. If you think you might kick yourself for missing the deadline on claiming a dirty old lottery win that would put a few dollars in your pocket but no happiness in your heart – how much greater will be the loss of missing eternal life?

Any excuse or reason you might have for failing to claim God’s gift will not relieve your painful memory throughout the eternal ages, if you miss the deadline. Your regret will not span a mere decade. Your remorse will eat away at you for an eternity.

Repeatedly, God’s Word tells us salvation and eternal life is a free gift from the Lord Himself. At least six times in Romans Chapter 5, the free gift is mentioned. In Romans 6:23 you will also read: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” In Ephesians 2:8-9 you can read these words: “By grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God; not of works lest any man should boast.”

It’s not a lottery win. Nor is eternal life God’s reward for you being good. If you are ever going to be in Heaven you will have to personally accept what is available to every sinner on earth – the Gift of God’s Son. Eternal life through Christ is available to every sinner but it MUST be claimed before the deadline.

Have you ever personally contacted headquarters (God in Heaven) to claim the free gift? The clock is ticking. Time is running out. The offer expires the moment you take your last breath or the moment the door of salvation closes when Christ returns.

Claim God’s Gift for you today. You’re in grave danger of missing the deadline.

(1) Millions in Lottery Prizes Go Unclaimed, New York Times, Jennifer Medina, 20070214
(2) Picture – by Bob Child, Associated Press