Acton Institute Powerblog

Who’s the true good samaritan?

Mike Weirsky, an unemployed New Jersey man, just won $273 million in the Mega Millions lottery. According to one headline he “has a Good Samaritan to thank.” Weirsky left his tickets at the store where he bought them, but someone found them and gave them to the cashier. Thanks to this person Weirsky was able to reclaim his tickets the next day, and he then discovered he was the jackpot winner. He says that now he doesn’t need to worry about finding a job, and he has since canceled a job interview he had lined up. He’s going to “sit back and enjoy” the money and do what his lawyers tell him he can and can’t do.

So who is the Good Samaritan in Mr. Weirsky’s story? Lotteries prey on the poor, and the path of destruction that lotteries often leave on winners is well documented. In his press conference Weirsky may not have been joking when he said that his ex-wife now has decided to take him back to court. If the lottery is a decidedly unmerciful and harmful scheme, maybe the Good Samaritan in this story wasn’t so good after all. Or maybe the true Good Samaritan in this story was the person who had planned to interview Weirsky for a job.

Andrew McGinnis

(Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary) is editorial director and a research fellow at the Acton Institute, where he also serves as the book reviews editor of the Journal of Markets & Morality. He is co–general editor of the second series of CLP Academic’s Sources in Early Modern Economics, Ethics, and Law. He has written and lectured on topics in the fields of Reformed and Presbyterian theology, history, and social thought, and he is coeditor of Abraham Kuyper’s On the Church (Lexham Press, 2016), editor of Franciscus Junius’ The Mosaic Polity (CLP Academic, 2015), and author of The Son of God Beyond the Flesh (Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2014).