By James Snyder
I know I am not the sharpest pencil in the drawer, or the brightest bulb on the porch, and a few bricks shy of a load. However, my philosophy is simple, if you know what you are not, then you can soon figure out what you really are.
If somebody can’t con me, they can’t con anybody. I admit that I am naïve about many things. A Girl Scout needs only smile, wink her brown eyes at me and I will buy all the cookies she has.
My problem is, I have a hard time believing anyone would lie to me. Why would someone lie in the first place? What does lying get you?
An incident happened this past week that sucked me into that whirlpool of naivety.
I received an email from somebody who wanted to give me a lot of money. It seems this woman was recently widowed and her husband was very wealthy and she wanted to give money to some charity. Would I be interested in receiving money?
Well, when it comes to money you do have my interest.
Immediately I printed this email out and brought it to show the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. Now, if anybody can con her, they can con everybody. She can spot a lie three generations back.
She read the email and then looked at me with one of those “stares” and said, “You do know that this is a scam?”
“But,” I said rather hesitatingly, “what if it isn’t a scam? What if it’s real? What have I got to lose?”
“You mean,” she said rather sarcastically, “besides your mind?”
It was at that moment I had an overwhelming urge to prove finally that she did not know everything. When I follow through with this and get all that money in our bank, I will have a laughing party heard around the world at her expense.
I decided to see if maybe this was legitimate. So, I emailed them back and said I was interested in their money for our charity and explained a little bit about our charity.
Very soon, I got an email back congratulating me on a wise decision.
I sat back and grinned to myself; at least somebody appreciates my wisdom.
Then I received an email saying I needed to send them some information, so I immediately sent it.
All the while, I’m thinking of how I’m going to rub this in someone’s face for a very long time. After all, the amount of money they were talking about was $4.7 million. I started thinking about what I could do with all that money.
It is amazing what happens when a person starts thinking about all the money he is going to get. Then the thoughts go to “things.” Things that I cannot afford right now. I tried to think of all of the things that I would buy as soon as I got this money. I got some paper and a pen and started to make a list.
I ran into a little problem here. I could not think of anything I wanted that I did not already have. I don’t have a long list of things I want. I like books, pens and pocketknives. Of course, I could buy my own Apple fritter bakery. That would be a good option.
For a couple days, I shot emails back and forth with this company that happened to be in Nigeria, Africa. I have some wonderful friends there so I was not even thinking on the negative side of this transaction.
Of course, being a pastor, I would donate some of that money to my church. Then I got thinking about what we could do in the church with that kind of money. How many people could we bless and encourage with the programs we could do with that kind of money?
I continued emailing back to this widow and she connected me with the bank that was going to handle the transaction. I was beginning to feel a little more comfortable with this. I know my wife thought this was a scam, but I’m not so sure it is a scam. I think it is some dear widow who wants to give her money to somebody that she doesn’t know. What a sweet and wonderful woman she must be.
Then I got THE defining email. In order for this transaction to go forward, they needed from me a processing fee of $1,000. After all, I would more than make that up once the transaction was done. At least, according to them.
It was then I began to realize I had been bamboozled. Ask me for anything but don’t ask me for my money!
It was a scam and I am quite reluctant to pass this information off to the other resident of our house. One of us was right and it sure wasn’t me.
I did not get the $4.7 million, but on the other hand, I did not lose $1000. At least that’s something to celebrate.
Thinking about this reminded me of one of my favorite Bible verses. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
When I put God first in my life I can be assured that He will direct my paths in the right direction.
The Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage, in Ocala, Florida. Call him at 352-687-4240 or e-mail email@example.com. The church web site is http://www.whatafellowship.com.