Saturday was a really interesting day! It wasn’t because of the Razorback football game, as that was just another disappointment. It was because of the conversations that I had with a fellow, that I am confident was trying to “scam” me. You know it is really amazing how hard some people work at trying to do something illegal. If they put that much effort into a legitimate job, they could do really well.
It started Saturday morning about 10:00, when the phone rang for the first time, as I was getting ready to go to my son’s house and watch the ball game. As soon as he started talking, I knew that I had heard that voice before. When he said that this was “David Church” for the Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes, I knew that I was right. Immediately, I told him that I was not interested and hung up. I had answered the phone in the living room, and walked back into the kitchen, and by the time I went to finish what I started, the phone rang again. To my utter amazement, it was “David Church” again! I quickly told him that a few days before that I was not interested, and five minutes before this call that I was not interested, and that nothing had changed — and hung up again! Just like all of you, I often get calls like this; but I had never had someone call me right back like that. But, I was sure that I had heard the last from David Church!
By the time I got back in the kitchen, the phone was ringing again. I wondered who it was, because I sure didn’t believe that it would be David Church again. WRONG! His first words were “Please, don’t hang up again. I need to tell you what you have won, and what needs to be done for that prize to be given to you.” Well, I listened (I know, stupid). He went through his spiel, that my name had been selected and there was a prize just waiting for me to claim, so that they could bring it to me. That is where it really started getting interesting. First, I told him that I didn’t know how that could be, since I had not entered the sweepstakes. He had an answer for everything that I said, or questioned. Then he asked if I could come by their location in Little Rock, and verify that I was Bill Hooten. Quickly, I told him that he had just shown me that he was not even in Arkansas — that I was 200 miles from Little Rock, and “no” I would not come by. He said that there are other things that could be done, and kept repeatedly telling me that he would not ask for money or any private information. Well, by that time I was getting tired of him, and needed to go on to my son’s house. I came up with an idea, I told him that I needed to go; but I would go to Arvest Bank, where my wife worked, and I would call him from there on Monday morning — all he needed to do was give me his phone number! I readily confess that I thought would end my conversation with David Church! Imagine my surprise, when he agreed to that arrangement and gave me his phone number! Of course, as we were getting off the phone he asked me to call him when I got back; so that we could go over some final details. I agreed, not really intending to calling him back until Monday morning.
Well, I went and endured the beat down that the Razorbacks took, and went home. About 4 hours later, I rationalized that I needed to call him, since I had told him that I was a preacher. He had called me on the land line at the house, so I called him on my cell phone. Of course, he didn’t answer and I didn’t leave a message. But he did call back in a few minutes, and it became painfully obvious that he did not remember who I was at first. Again, he asked me to come by their facility in Little Rock, and that is when I accused him of not remembering who I was. I think it began to come back to him, and, then, finally, he asked me just to trust him. I told him that I didn’t know him, and he didn’t know me — and we had no reason to trust each other. He asked if I thought this was real? I told him that my dad taught me a long time ago, “If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is.” He then said, ‘So you have no interest in what I am trying to give you?” Quickly, I told him that I had already told him that twice, and he had not changed my mind. Then he hung up on me.
Just for the sake of clarity, Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes has on their website that they NEVER contact winners by telephone or e-mail before awarding their prizes. So, why do people fall for things like this. I believe that that the Bible has the answer for us, in the book of James. Listen carefully to what he has to say:
But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it bring forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. (James 1:14-16, NASB)
You think about winning 2 1/2 million dollars at once, and then $5,000 a week for the rest of your life — people become “enticed” so much, that they do things that they KNOW they should not do! That’s how people end up getting hurt and swindled. Their desire for something becomes stronger, than their desire to be smart.
Temptation can have that same effect. Our desire for something illicit overwhelms our desire to be what we are supposed to be — and a sin is born. Let’s be smarter than that. Let’s be in control of our desires. Peace.
(I thought about putting the phone number of “David Church” in this devotional, and asking everyone to call him; but I decided that would not be the right thing to do. It is my prayer that he does not hurt, or take advantage of anyone.)