The Great Scam

 “Mr. David Nelson, because you pay your bills on time and have an excellent credit rating, you have been selected by “Megamillions” and “The Winners’ Enterprise” to receive 2.5 million dollars, a new car, $30,000 in cash, and free gas for the next six months.”  That was the message I received over the phone this past week from a person speaking with a very foreign accent.  “You will receive your ‘package’ in a couple days,” the voice continued.  “All you need to do is go to a Wal-Mart or a Walgreens and get a money card for $550, using your credit card, and let us know and you will then be able to receive your package.”  The man was quite difficult to understand but kept asking about what credit cards we used and what limits we had on them. I, of course, gave out no information, and refused to buy his story, at which point he got quite perturbed and much more insistent that they really wanted us to have this “package.”  I hung up on him, but to no avail. He kept calling back. I asked to speak to his manager. Another person with the same accent gave me the very same pitch, and again was very hard to understand. I asked to speak to someone who spoke English. I was supposedly being transferred and then the phone went dead. Soon, however, I get a call from someone identifying herself as Theresa Campbell.

She was the “English-speaking” representative, who interestingly had the same accent as the two men. I asked her if she spoke Spanish and she said, “We all do, but we are going to night school to learn English!”  She gave me the same story as the two men, who, by the way, when I asked them for their names, gave me Bill Bradley and Tony Blair!  Each time I hung up one of them would call again, often within a minute. Another identified himself as Michael Williams, also with the same accent.
     I called the Better Business Bureau to report them and they suggested I call the Federal Trade Commission and register a complaint, which I did. They said, to call them back if I heard from them again, which I did!  This time it was from “Dorothy” of Fresno, California who called to say she had been skeptical too about the offer of the package, but had gone to Wal-Mart and gotten the money card and they delivered her “package” of a new Mercedes and $7.5 million and that I really should do what they say and get my package. (I thought, “No fair, she got $7.5 million!)  She said “I am very happy now!”  Interestingly, she had the same accent as all the rest.
     Then, of course, “Bill Bradley” called to see if I’d heard from “Dorothy.”  But this time our son Grant who is here visiting, answered. The man asked, “Where is my ‘good friend’ Mr. David?” Grant responded, “First of all, he is not your good friend.” “Mr. Bradley” replied, “Yes he is; he’s my wife’s sister!!”  Grant finally convinced them that we didn’t want the money and that they should give it to charity, “because that’s what my folks would do with it anyway.”   So far, no more calls. But that went on for five days, with the calls starting early in the morning. 
     This particular group of scam artists may not have been the sharpest knives in the drawer, but there are many deceivers out there who run some pretty shrewd scams.  It all started way back in Genesis in the Garden of Eden when Satan used the serpent, apparently a beautiful creature in its uncursed state, to play a scam on Eve. He suggested that if she ate of the forbidden tree “your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:5).  Tragically she fell for Satan’s scam and then convinced her husband to do the same.  Satan has been scamming people ever since, often presenting some very attractive “packages.” He even tried them on Jesus in the wilderness after Jesus had been there fasting for forty days and Satan said, “If you are the Son  of God, command that these stones become bread…Then the devil took Him into the holy city; and he had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, ‘If you are the Son of God throw Yourself down; for it is written ‘He will give His angels charge concerning you; on their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone…Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world, and their glory; and he said to Him, ‘All these things will I give You, if You fall down and worship me” (Mt. 4:3-9).  Satan’s intention in the temptation, of course, was to make Christ sin so as to thwart God’s plan for man’s redemption by disqualifying the Savior. God’s purpose in the temptation (note that the Spirit led Jesus to the test) was to prove His Son to be sinless and thus a worthy Savior. Again, just as Satan had done with Eve, he quoted the Bible, but not accurately, omitting a phrase which was not suited to his purpose.
     In order to be a successful “scam artist,” you have to be a good liar, and Satan is the best. In fact Jesus referred to him as “the father of lies” (Jn. 8:44).   There are lots of people out there trying to scam you out of your money, but Satan is trying to scam you–if you are not a Christian–out of an opportunity to receive eternal life; or–if you are a Christian–to rob you of your joy and to destroy your testimony. He offers some very attractive “packages,” but his real intent is to rob and to ruin, like “the thief which comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy” (Jn. 10:10). In contrast, Jesus “came that we might have life, and might have it abundantly” (Jn. 10:10).  Satan is the greatest scam artist ever. Jesus’ offers are genuine and He can and will carry through on all His promises.
     Don’t be scammed by Satan. Paul says to “Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (Eph. 6:11). Don’t believe his lies no matter how attractive they may seem. Make God’s Word your standard. Seek Christ only. Don’t settle for anything else. He delivers the real “package,” “For in Him all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete…” (Col. 2:9,10).
 
                                            Forever His,
                                                    Pastor Dave
 
P.S.  The “package” never arrived!
    
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About Pastor Dave

Until my retirement 2 years ago, I pastored an independent Bible church in Northwest Montana for nearly 38 years. During that time I also helped establish a Christian school, and a Bible Camp. I am married and have children and grandchildren. The Wisdom of the Week devotional is an outgrowth of my desire to share what God is doing in my life and in our world, and to challenge you to be a part.
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