Get rich quick! Pay off all your bills! Scratch off and win! Big payoffs every hour! Sweepstakes!
You’ve seen the ads. We’ve all been tempted.
Is it really possible to get rich quick? I was brought up with simple logic: hard work will pay off, and there are no short-cuts in life. Did you know that the odds of lottery payoffs are worse than getting struck by lightning – multiple times? I also know that the large percentage of people who buy lottery tickets really can’t afford to and should be buying milk for their family instead.
I think the folks selling the get rich quick schemes are the ones who are getting rich, not their customers. Proverbs 1:10 says “My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent.” There are many out in the world preying on people who don’t know any better. They are counting on finding people who do not know how to protect themselves. They are also trying to find people who will help them in their scheming. Proverbs 1:11 “If they say, "Come with us, Let us lie in wait to shed blood; Let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause;” – DO NOT CONSENT - Proverbs 1:15 says “My son, do not walk in the way with them, Keep your foot from their path;”
In the olden days, people used to carry their own sets of weights to the market, so when they bought a pound of grain, they knew it was a pound of grain, because they tested the scales with their own true weights. Sellers would often hollow out the weights and fill them with wax, so they could cheat people who didn’t know any better. If a smart person came along, with their own weights, the seller would switch his good set of weights for the hollow ones. This practice was called “carrying two sets of weights” – one for the smart people, and one for the ignorant. Deuteronomy 25:13 says "You shall not have in your bag differing weights, a heavy and a light.”
Today, folks call it “just good business” when they charge two sets of prices for the same item. In some industries, bargaining is expected, and the smarter bargainer may be able to get a lower price, especially if he is a friend. I still call this “carrying two sets of weights”. I look negatively on a person, or a company, who charges different prices for things, depending on who the customer is. I think one of the reasons the car company Saturn was so popular, is that they had a “one price” policy. Today, I get very confused by some of the grocery stores, who charge three different prices for the same item, depending on if you have a card or if you have points! I guess they don’t want me to shop there.
Let me add a twist to this. How often do we judge people with two sets of weights in our mind? There’s the “preferred” and then there’s everyone else. People who are “like me” get treated with favor, but people who aren’t, get treated differently, or even taken advantage of. Is that right?
While patriots are preaching about who is an American, and what rights do we have, who stands up for the human being you see walking along the side of the road? Does he have a soul created by God? Does he also have the same value in God’s eyes that you do, even though he doesn’t walk with your “crowd” or may not speak your language? God speaks their language. I try to think about how people may be dealing with some extreme circumstances, and they are just trying to help their family survive. Remember, Jesus did not come to give us “rights”; he died to take our “wrongs.”
When Jesus looked at people, he looked at the inside, and not the outside. I think he had the advantage of knowing the whole story about a person. He walked with sinners. He dined with thieves. He forgave prostitutes. I’ve often wondered if the woman he forgave in John chapter 8, was dealing with some extreme circumstances, and what she did was the only thing she could do to help her family survive.
Jesus chastised the leaders and the religious authorities, because they were so driven by rules, they did not see the hurting people.
I sometimes wonder if Jesus came and visited, if we would even let him into our church buildings. As song writer Todd Agnew said in his song “My Jesus” – “my Jesus would never be accepted in my church. The blood and dirt on His feet might stain the carpet.”
It is in times like these, the God’s people should be opening doors for strangers, not slamming them.
Pastor Jay Merritt