Daily Devotional for April 16, 2021

Earlier this week, hundreds of our church members were confused by a text that looked like it had come from me.  It said, “Hi, Hope you are staying safe?  I need you to do something for me.  Please text me back as soon as you get this message.  Thanks, Pastor Tom Robbins.”

When one of our faithful responded back, they got the following text: “Good to hear from you.  I just need to go get VISA gift cards today for some sick women, but I can’t do that right now because of my very busy schedule, so I can only text.  Can you please get it from any store around you possibly now? And I will pay you back later in cash or check.”

After explaining to many members of our church that these text messages are scams, I have come up with a few ways for everyone to read these sorts of texts and immediately see they are a hoax.

First, know if you receive a text from me, that’s the day Jesus is coming because I hate texting.  I would much rather ask for your money face-to-face.

Second, I will not text asking you to do something because I am “too busy.”  According to most of our members, I only work a few hours on Sunday mornings.  That means I’ve got plenty of time to do it, myself.

Third, I will never ask you for VISA gift cards.  I will only ask for large envelopes filled with unmarked bills.

Fourth, If I ever ask for money, I will never offer to pay it back.

Sadly, we live in a world where con artists take advantage of the faithful, the strong exploit the weak, and some people only care about themselves.  This is no surprise to God.

When Jesus sent his twelve disciples out into an inhospitable world, he said,” See, I am sending you out like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”  (Matthew 10:16)

God does not expect us to walk around oblivious to the fact that this world can be a hard, cruel place.  God wants us to recognize the illness and work to heal it.  This calls for discernment, wisdom, patience, and peace.

So, choose to live a life of love and service in a world that won’t always be receptive.  Two thousand years ago, Jesus sent his disciples into the world, knowing it wouldn’t be easy.  Today, Jesus sends us into the world knowing it won’t be easy.

Let the adventures begin.

Prayer:  Dear Gracious Heavenly God, as I serve you in this broken world, give me discernment, wisdom, patience, and peace.  Use me to relieve the suffering of others.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

Again, if you get a text from me asking for gift cards, don’t respond.  It’s a hoax.

If you get a call from me asking for an envelope filled with unmarked bills, it’s not a hoax. 

In fact, as soon as you read this, stop by the bank, and bring the money to the church.  I’ll wait.

I pray your day is filled with joy and laughter.
Tom Robbins