In middle school, when I didn’t want to turn in homework on time, I faked all sorts of ailments to play hooky—sore throats, upset stomachs, fevers, cotton mouth, extreme fatigue—whatever convinced my mom. On sick days I wrapped myself in a warm blanket, ate Kit-Kats, and watched television. Networks play different advertisements during daytime television than they do in the evenings. My personal favorite daytime advertisement star was Matthew Lesko. You know the guy, he’s the one who dresses like the Riddler, and jumps around like a Harlem Globetrotter shouting about all the free money the government offers via grant programs. Every year he has a new book full of schemes to swindle the government out of money, which tells me one thing: people actually buy it. The whole shtick is ludicrous; in 2004 a New York Consumer Protection Board report criticized him for his sweeping claims about government programs that only applied to niche categories of people. Obviously most people are not fooled by his act, but they buy the books anyway.
There are countless other get rich quick schemes and scams operating today. At www.forexautomoney.com all people need to do is a click a button a few times a day, then sit back, relax and earn hundreds of thousands of dollars per month. The US Mint and Gainesville Coins regularly advertises special coin deals, implying that consumers can buy ‘em cheap and sell ‘em big. Even dieting is plagued with get thin quick schemes. Dexatrim, a diet pill first released in 2001, promises quick, easy weight loss results. The FDA removed Dexatrim from store shelves multiple times for dangerous side effects, but every time it returned people kept buying. So why do people buy all these get rich quick schemes? Because of an innate, human sinful desire: to get something for nothing.
Consider Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Even though God walked with them in the garden, loving, and teaching them as a father would his children, they chose to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Satan sold them a get rich quick scheme—if you eat this then you’ll be like God, and it’s that easy! Things are not much different today; humans are still tempted to buy into get rich quick schemes, no matter the cost.
While I wish these outrageous schemes never slithered into the church, some are deeply entrenched in the thinking of many well-meant Christians. I write this out of love for Christ’s church, and an earnest desire to improve it by transforming our thoughts on a couple key ideas. So, for the next few weeks I want to look at several Christian get rich quick schemes, explore how they corrode our spiritual lives, and then uncover the biblical truth they aim to hide, starting tomorrow with one of the most prevalent schemes, “say the prayer.”