“Congratulations! You’ve just won a free trip to the Bahamas!” That’s the phone message I keep getting from somebody hoping to trap me with a too-good-to-be-true scheme. Though the principle of offering something for nothing is ancient, modern people still fall for it. Why? Because people have the silly hope that maybe this time it’ll work out for them.
I’ve fallen many times in the past for such easy-money schemes. Amway was one of the first to enchant me. It sounded so possible with its sponsorship of “downlines” who would sponsor more people and so on. Friends tried to warn me that only the few at the top would reap the real benefits of my hard work but I refused to listen. After five years of giving it my best, I realized that my friends were right.
I also became caught up in the Principal Group scandal of 1987. A man called me one day and said a friend recommended this investment plan that would net me a startling twenty percent annually. As I listened to his sales pitch, I realized this could be the break I was looking for. I invested fifty dollars into the scheme and also coaxed my brother to also put in his entry-level investment. Then the news broke regarding the arrest of the leaders of this Ponzi scheme. Though I felt fortunate that I received twenty-six bucks back, I hadn’t been cured of my delusion regarding easy money.
The woman who sponsored me into Amway called me up all excited one evening. I thought she was just practicing some new pitch to convince prospects but this was something different. After rushing to the bank and withdrawing a fifty dollar bill from my account, I folded carbon paper around it and posted it to the name at the top of a list my friend gave me. Once again, a news report burst my bubble and I came down with a hard thud.
Believe it or not, there is a spiritual con game spreading through churches in the west and even into third world countries. Preachers such as Joseph Prince, Joel Olsteen, and Joyce Meyer are teaching that you can get whatever you want if you just keep positively confessing that you have it. They teach that we can speak good or ill fortune into our lives. I fell for this nonsense more than forty years ago and the lack of results turned me against God for nine years.
In How I Was Razed, I wrote about how I was taken in by false teaching and chain-letter-like gimmicks. This testimony of God’s sovereign rescue of my soul is available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers.