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No servant can serve two masters; for a servant will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth."                     Luke 16:13

 


Sermon Excerpt: Saints and Swindlers, Luke 16:1-13, Rev. Tom Hall

Recently, at least twice a month it seems I get a letter that has on the envelope in thick block letters, "URGENT! - OPEN IMMEDIATELY!" So I rip the envelope open and read . . .

"MR. THOMAS HALL of _____________,
if you’re standing up, you may want to sit down
because you may just have won $10,000,000,000."

Last count, I had won six Mazda Miatas, three Caribbean cruises, one in-ground swimming pool, $14,000,000 (to be paid in $1,000 monthly allotments for the rest of my life) and a lifetime supply of cat food. These letters are personal, too. They actually know my name and its spelled correctly in bold-faced, capital letters. And it sounds so official. "Mr. Hall, congratulations! You have made it into the final sweepstakes drawing for $1,000,000,000! Yes, Mr. Hall, this may be your lucky day! And then comes the "imagine-with-me type questions: "Have you ever wondered how you would spend that kind of money?" Must be something to this because as I scan the page I see color photos of boats, motorhomes, cape cods, beaches, and pictures of smiling winners--one from Cincinnati, another from New Mexico, and would you believe it, one even from my town!

Yet, sadly, nothing has arrived on my door step except the magazines to which I subscribed in order to enhance my chances of winning. Scam artists who know the legal loop holes are pretty slick.

A couple of summers ago, my wife’s father and his wife from Montana were visiting us eastern seaboarders and so we spent one day in New York City. There, during a traffic jam, our Montana couple came upon the buy of a lifetime. Someone on the corner was selling an expensive CD/Radio boom box that retailed for over $250.00 in their home town in Montana, but at streetside in NYC is was going for only $70.00. Such a buy! Back at our home they opened their treasure. What had they paid seventy bucks to buy? Why, three of the nicest red bricks you’d ever want to see wrapped in a New York Times and stuffed inside a boom box package! Montanans are so trusting.

I'm sure you could tell me of your own experiences of being swindled. Your used car flat lines four days after the ninety day warranty runs out. Your timeshare dream turns into a nightmare. That pocket trumpet you won on Ebay can’t even stay in tune with itself...Subscribers: click here for the full sermon and more