Pastor Larson’s Corner: The Millionaire

Pastor Larsons Corner

One of our local television stations has begun having “old show” marathons. They will play all the episodes of an old TV show without stopping. Recently they featured the popular ’50s show called The Millionaire. I remember watching this show as a child, imagining that I was the lucky person to be given a million dollars. In each episode a person received a million dollars with no strings attached, except agreeing to not tell anyone who gave it to them. The eccentric billionaire who gave them the money would then watch to see how each person responded to such an incredible gift. Without exception, the recipients used their newfound wealth to make a real difference in the lives of their families and others around them.

In many ways the Gospel story parallels this old TV show. In the Gospel story, God gives to us the great gifts of forgiveness and eternal life. In response to this great gift, we are called to respond in love towards God and neighbor. Like the TV show’s billionaire, God watches to see what our response will be to such an incredible gift. Will it bring us great joy? Will we share it with others? Will it lift our spirits and help us get through the difficult times? Will it be for us a life-changing gift?

I have known since I was a very young child about God’s great gift of love and grace towards me. I did nothing to deserve this gift. It simply came to me through the teaching and preaching of the Gospel by my family and my church. In response to this great gift I have tried to make a difference in the lives of my family and the world around me. My life of responding to God’s great gifts has had its ups and downs, but I have never taken the gift for granted. I believe that is exactly what God is looking for.

Pastor Larson’s Corner is written by Jerry Larson and appears weekly in the Norwegian American Weekly.

Pastor Jerry Larson retired to his cabin in Zimmerman, Minn., after 39 years in parish ministry for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. In 2011 he published a book entitled “Speaking the Word Freely: Writing with purpose, preaching with power.” Contact him at

This article originally appeared in the May 29, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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The Norwegian American

The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.