This morning I had to go to the bank to make a deposit. Before I went inside, I was sitting in my van making a few phone calls about arranging some details for worksites for The Hartford Project, a local summer missions outreach to the city of Hartford. As I was jotting down some notes from the phone conversation I had just had, a brown van speeds up toward me and jerks to a halt parking awkwardly near me. (The van was like one of those used for small company deliveries – however, it had no markings or company logo, and had no windows on the sides or rear.)
Before he stopped so abruptly, I thought the guy was going to plow into my driver side door, but he did parked awkwardly facing me with his driver side front corner bumper just feet from my van door where I was seated, behind the wheel of my van.
As you might be, I was a bit taken off-guard especially when the other guy slammed his van into “park”, proceeding to roll down his window and motions for me to hurriedly do the same. I hesitantly pressed the button to lower my window, and the driver starts with this story-
Driver: “Hey man, do you live around here or are you familiar with this area?”
Me: “Yeah, a little bit. Why?”
Driver: “Do you know anyone who wants a stereo surround sound digital audio system for a home theater for really cheap!!??” My buddy and I got two for the price of one and we’re trying to sell this other new system we have in the back of the van… We just sold the first one over at [names a local restaurant]. We have to be at another appointment in about… [Glances quickly at his watch] in 38 minutes so we gotta get outta here quick. We just saw you sitting here, and thought since you’d have the room in your van to haul it, we thought we’d ask you if you wanted it. If you want to look at it go ahead - it’s in the back [motions to the rear of his van] and brand new in the box already to set up. Do you want it?! Brand new it’s worth 4300 bucks, but we got it free and if you want to buy it right now we’ll give you a deal.
Me: [extremely skeptical and cautious… yet attempting not to out-right accuse him of burglary] … “I donno, I don’t know if I want it… I don’t think I know anyone else who’d want it right now either. How much are you talking?”
Driver: Awww… A few hundred bucks. How’s that sound?
Me: No thanks. See ya later.
Driver: Speeds off.
During the “pitch” he gave me, the driver pulled out an envelope of twenty dollar bills. Then he actually began to joke about how much the restaurant owner paid for the first system and spreads out the stack of twenties that he claimed he got from the sale of the first system. Supposedly the cash he pulled out amounted to $1800.00 in Twenties. He assured me I wouldn't have to pay even that much. The driver continued to brag about the sale he’d just made but assured me that all I needed to pay for the second brand new system was 300.00!
Maybe if I hadn’t been scammed before… or maybe if I felt like I could somehow justify spending 300.00, or if I had the room for a “movie-theater-quality surround sound audio system” I might have bought it. But as soon as those two guys sped away looking for their next sale (or victim) I was relieved I would never see them again.
Have you ever been faced with a “deal you couldn’t refuse?” … Or a deal you THOUGHT you couldn’t refuse?
WHY was the deal you saw, heard about or read about so good you couldn’t pass it up? Whether it was a SilverBullet Food Processor or a “steal” on Ebay - What did it pique inside of you that you just couldn’t walk away? Why did it entice you?
What is it that entices you most? What steals your attention?
I am a bit ashamed to admit it, but I am enticed by stupid things too...
This passage in Deut. Chapter 8 reminded me of what should I should be enraptured by… What I should be most compelled by?… What should consume all my attention?
Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you.
Observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking in obedience to him and revering him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.
When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. -- Deut. 8:2-11
Lord, please help us... help ME.. be careful NOT to forget You - ever. To put our life’s attention on You and to observe your commands - because of the incredible work that You have done in the transformational work of Jesus Christ! Please, God help us show others how incredible a life with Jesus really is... that even though that this world will never be perfect... what's most enticing... is REAL Life with Jesus. -I ask this In Your Name, Amen.