Design of the Week – Shell Game

April 16, 2008 at 9:49 am | Posted in Designs of the Week | 1 Comment
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The featured design for this week is one that comes from my interest in magic. I have enjoyed watching magicians since I can remember. As I grew up, I took up sleight of hand. Recently, this has come to include historic con games like Three Card Monte, Fast and Loose, and The Shell Game.


In the shell game, the object is to choose the one shell (out of three) that hides the pea. If you are right, then you win (if you’re playing for money, then you win money), but if you’re wrong, you lose. Many of those who run the game use singsong poetry to draw people into playing.


Unfortunately, there seem to be many “Christians” today that are playing the shell game. Some of them are the ones running the game and some of them are the ones playing. Often, if the shell game is played on the streets, there are more people involved in the con than most people realize. It’s the same way in the church. Those running the game use others as “heavies” to push and persuade those playing to gamble. Those playing have no idea what’s really going on and play in hopes of winning. What they may not realize is that the stakes are ultimately their soul. Those running the game are showing them Jesus and then hiding Him under the shell of religion. That shell is then moved around with the others in dazzling patterns. The people playing the game feel that it’s easy to find where Jesus is, but when they pick a shell, they come away with nothing. They have been told something about Jesus that isn’t true and when they choose what they think is right and find that the shell is empty, they become hardened toward anyone that tells them about Jesus and may not receive the gospel.


The sad thing is that the people playing the game are the only ones that lose. Those running the game lose too. By teaching false doctrine, they are guilty of mocking the character of God and His Son. They are teaching people to build idols and compromising the truth in the name of religion. They are more concerned about the number of people playing than they are about the souls of the players. They tickle the ears of the players with singsong sermons and “relevant” teaching, lulling the players into believing that they’re truly saved. The scriptures say that these preachers bring “swift destruction on themselves” (2 Peter 2:1).


It’s time that those that present the gospel (whether you’re a preacher or not) do so in a way that glorifies God. We need to stop playing church, stop hiding Jesus, and start telling people the truth. It is the only way that we will see God’s mercy in our lives and our nation!

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  1. I love your analogy of the shell game. The stakes are a bit too high for my blood, but not too high for Jesus’. We need to do what Andrew is always seen doing and take people by the hand and lead them to Jesus, not a building. Great devotional thoughts. Keep it up.

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