Remember Monty? The smiling face from the game show that was perpetually 1976? If you’re to young then check it out on GSN or youtube sometime. Monty was a shrewd evil man that delighted in toying with human emotions and greed! Let me set it up for you and save your google time. Monty would walk up into the audience and select a contestant from the crowd. He would thing offer to give them $100 if they could produce something common like a credit card receipt for gas or a cigarette lighter (people had those back in the lung cancer days). Then assuming they had the named article he would give them the money and offer them the temptation.  They could keep the $100 or they could trade it for a chance at a prize behind one of three doors. It might be hand painted plates worth thousands or a bedroom suit in dark stained oak or even a new AMC Gremlin but there was also the chance it would be a llama and a bail of hay.  I used to picture the Devil like Monty Hall trading people’s souls for 15 seconds of fame and a goat. I was always yelling at the television “Keep the green, you putz!” but it seemed like they always took the chance and I never understood that.
A few years ago two things happened that changed my mind about Monty. He was not Satan but very much more like Christ than I had ever realized. I will explain.  A friend of ours daughter had a car wreck in which she was fine but the car was destroyed. Faith, and I knew they were very poor and that this would place them under a lot of financial stress. We discussed sending them some money and one of the things that came up was the father’s lack of discipline with money. We talked about trusting him to spend the money on a replacement vehicle or even wisely at all. We never resolved to send money or not before a second thing happened. It was one of those surreal moments where you wonder if God is speaking to you directly or if you accidentally stepped into a made for tv movie.  I was at a red light in Dallas carpooling to work. In front of us on the opposite side of the cross street a large woman was walking across the intersection. She was carrying her purse, some keys, and a 44oz soft drink with a straw. Beside her was an empty electric wheel chair.  She was pushing the little joy stick to make it go. This was a very odd scene and I laughed with the folks in the car with me. “There is a joke in here somewhere” I said.  While I struggled to find the punch line, right in the middle of the oncoming traffic, it quit.  The electric chair refused to budge. She played with the joy stick and slapped it but it would not move. Then the light turned green. I wish I could tell you that we stopped and helped her. Instead I surmised that she was a swindler and was using the electric wheel chair she obviously didn’t need to beg for money. Someone else quickly jumped out and pushed the chair out of the road. It took them all of 10 seconds. I hadn’t want to risk what the Lord had given me to help her.

The laughter in the car stopped and we rode in silence for a while. It wasn’t till later on as the image and the memory of my attitude was still haunting me that I figured it all out. What was Monty asking me to wager? Not my hard earned $100, no! All I had was a debt till Monty gave me the $100! The woman had asked for nothing, she hadn’t so much as looked up to make eye contact with the cars swerving around her. What did I have to risk? Nothing. Only the blessings given to me for free, 10 seconds of time and a little energy. Two scriptures came to mind. One was Mt 25:14-30, the story of the servant that hid his talents in the ground and was called worthless while those that have invested their talents were called good and faithful. The other scripture was Mt 25:35, the one where Jesus tells his sheep that the good things they have done for anyone in need they have done for Him. Then He tells the goats that the thing they failed to do for those in need they have failed to do for Him.

Jesus says “I want you to invest stuff. But don’t worry it’s not your stuff… I’ll give you the stuff I want you to invest.”

How selfish I am to keep it for myself. “OK, Monty, door number three!”

We sent the money to the friend.

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