Deal or No Deal
Introduction: The lady said she came to win the $2 million prize. She had been offered $180k by the guy in the booth, but she was still thinking about the $2 million. “Just pick one more,” her family and friends said. “No deal,” screamed the audience.
A. It was a classic “approach-approach conflict.” On the one hand she had the $180k in her hands.
B. But on the other hand, there was the possibility of the big prize–$2 million.
C. “No deal,” she said as she slammed down the plexiglass cover.
A. This was an ancient version of Deal or No Deal.
B. God made His offer. “The banker offers you life in the Garden. Or you can choose to pick something else. Adam and Eve, deal or no deal.”
C. At the heart of the choice was a decision about where one’s loyalties would be placed.
You could argue that the Bible is a record of how humankind has done with that choice.
A. At the foot of Mt. Sinai, Israel chose the Golden Calf rather than God, and they fell down and worshiped the Calf, Exodus 32. “Who is on the Lord’s side?” Moses asked the people. Deal or no deal?
B. In the land of Palestine, Israel chose the gods of the Canaanites rather than serving God alone, Judges 2:13.
C. Peter chose his own safety over the dangerous commitment of following Jesus, Matthew 26:75.
D. Ananias and Sapphira chose human praise over integrity to the Spirit, Acts 5:1.
There’s really only one example of anybody who made the correct choice. Everyone else yields to the pressure. Succumbs to the temptation. Gives in to the desire.
A. Matthew writes about it in his gospel, 4:1-11.
1. For 40 days Jesus hun between the extremes of hunger/certainty and satiation/false promises. No doubt he had experienced hallucinations and paralyzing pain. (Those are symptoms of hunger.)
2. It was a deal or no deal moment. The devil offers the big prize to Jesus: food to fill his stomach, ego satisfaction, and power.
3. But Jesus knew that he already had the prize: the Word of God, the assurance of God, and the greatness of God.
4. “Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him,” Jesus said.
B. Jesus understood that the choices ultimately boil down to worship. What will we worship? Deal or no deal?
1. Joshua also understood this. “...choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served....or the gods of the Amorites....but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord,” 24:14,15.
2. Similarly, Moses told Israel, “The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might,” Deut. 6:4,5.
It is easy to lose this focus. It is easy to believe that the Deal is now. That the Deal is about wealth and prestige.
A. That was how Satan marketed to Jesus in the wilderness.
B. Sometimes churches can do that. Their work becomes program centered, self-preservational and not directed to God.
C. Our lives can also become self-focused and selfish. The Deal becomes education, career, children/family, cars, or ego.
Conclusion: The show cut to a commercial. We were all left wondering what she would pick. Would it be the thing she had or the thing she wanted?
A. “I’ll take number 23,” she said.
B. The model with case number 23 cracked it open a bit and the color left her face, like the sweet colored liquid draining out of a snow cone. The studio audience was as quiet as a funeral.
C. It was the $2 million case, and with that choice she lost everything, even the $180k. She left the show with $1500.
D. And how often is that the case with us. We end up with so much less than the offer made to us.
E. The only reason is that instead of choosing the real deal, God, we choose the glitter and prestige.
F. So here are some questions to help you determine where you are with this?
1. (Money) At the beginning of the month, what priority does God get in your budget? Do you tithe?
2. (Time) Do other things take your energy so that you sometimes day, “I’m too tired to give attention to _____.”
3. (Motivation) What motivates you? Immediate gratification or God’s approval?
G. Adam and Eve had to make the same determination in the Garden. John wrote about this in 1JN 2:15-16 and warned against: desire, lust, and pride.