DIALOGUE WITH A ONE ARMED BANDIT OPERATOR

(c) Copyright 2000 Rev. Bill Versteeg


Matthew 25:14 - 30 ( Read by Narrator #1) NIV

"Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money.

After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,' he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.'

His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'

The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,' he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents, see, I have gained two more.'

His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'

Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,' he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.'

His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be give more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

The following dialogue is a dialogue between a person named Bill who enters a casino and his conscience. As a child of God - the word of God, as read by Narrator #1, speaks to his conscience, and the Spirit of God, as read by Narrator #2, speaks to his conscience. This in much the same way that God speaks to each one of us through the gift of a tender conscience that he has given us. Maybe this morning you will hear God speaking, and you might hear yourself responding.

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Narrator #1 "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." Psalm 119:11

Bill walks up - looking around with awe.

Bill :  "Man, look at all those lights - this Casino is amazing! And outside, the beautiful scenery, the lake - wow! And the food prices, and all this beautiful fruit - I can eat like a king for dirt cheap, and this is better than macaroni and cheese! (And the booze is cheap too.) I've got to come here more often. This is a taste of paradise!" (Approaching back of pulpit area, removes his wallet) "$10 worth of tokens please..."

Bill sits down at the table - apparently green at operating a one armed bandit - but it doesn't take much to learn...

Bill :   "Hmm - place token into slot - play your luck."

Bill attempts pull #1 -  Gambler gives sound effects "Ding, ding, chunk..."

            "Nothing"

Bill attempts pull #2 - "Ding, ding, ring!"

Bill:  "Wow - look at all these tokens - there must be $75 here!" "This is great - I've got to try this again..."

Narrator #2  "Bill? Where are you Bill?"

Bill looks around with a slight look of fear - a moment of silence, places another token in the slot, is about to pull...

Narrator #2  "Bill?! Where are you Bill?!"

Bill :  "On no... not you, not now - you're supposed to be at church, not here. I'm just out to have some fun playing some games. And look what I have to show for it - $83! What a rush!"

Narrator #2  "Bill, Why are you here?"

Bill:  "What do you mean - why?"

Narrator #2  "Why are you here?"

Bill:  "I already told you - to have some fun. I have a little money left over - I have the right to spend it the way that I want - so I choose to have fun at some of these gaming tables - what is wrong with that?"

Silence

Bill:  "You never said anything about gambling - there's nothing about it in the whole bible... So its my right to spend my money the way I want to right?!"

Bill pulls the one armed bandit with a hint of frustration and rebellion... thunk, ding, thunk...Bill places another token in the machine, showing some frustration with his conscience...

Narrator #2  "Who gave you that money?"

Narratore #1  "The earth is the Lord's and everything in it, the world and all who live in it."Psalm 24:1)

Bill:  "I worked for it - an hour overtime three weeks ago. I worked for it, I deserve it. Its my life. Let me do what I want to do with it!"

Narrator #2  "Who gave you that Life?"

Narrator #1  "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mothers womb." Psalm 139:13, "For in him we live and move and have our being" Acts 17:28 "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Colossians 3:17

Bill:  "OK, OK, you gave me my life, my strength, my health, my talents, my job, my family..."

Narrator #2  "Who gave you that money?"

Bill:  "My money...(Pregnant Pause) - can't I just spend some of it on fun like this? - like everybody else gets to? And besides - if I win big, and my luck feels good today, then our family budget problems will be solved. Maybe You can help me win..."

Narrator #1  "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." Heb 13:5

Another token is entered and pulled - "Chunk, chunk - ding."

Narrator #2  "Win?.. At whose expense?"

Bill:  "What do you mean - at whose expense? It's my expense of course, I'm the one investing in this machine, and if I win big, the casino loses and I get a good return on my investment..."

Narrator #2  "Where did all your winnings come from?"

Bill:  "Well, if I win big, it has come from everybody else's pocket - but they all agreed to give it away, its kind of a gift from a whole group of people to one person..."

Narrator #2  "Did they all want to lose their money?"

Bill:  "They didn't really want to lose it, but they did take the chance, they did give it away."

Narrator #2  "What have I said to you...?"

Narrator #1  "Thou shalt not steal."

Bill:   "This isn't stealing - its taking what is rightfully mine, if I win, from people who regretfully had to give it up - others just like me, that's their problem..."

Narrator #2  "Their money then - your profit?    Their loss then, your profit? - THIS you call fun?"

Narrator #1  "You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not covet your neighbor's wife or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor." Exodus 20:13,14,15,17

Bill:  "If you put it like that, it is no fun - but it is - this is a game, and people choose to lose their money, they choose to play this game..."

Narrator #1  "What does the Lord require of you?"

Narrator #2  "Did their wives or husbands choose?"

Narrator #1  "Seek Justice"

Narrator #2  "Did their daughters choose?"

Narrator #1  "Love Mercy"

Narrator #2  "Did their sons choose?"

Narrator #1  "Walk humbly with your God"

Bill slots 5 more tokens and pulls with obvious frustration.

Bill:  "C'mon, c'mon, big money now, big money now!"

Sound Effects as Bill continues to throw in his money.. "Chunk, chunk, chunk..."

Narrator #2  "Did those others, my sons and my daughters whom I love choose to lose?"

Bill:  "Give me a break! You're going to pull the poverty issue into this aren't you? And then next it will be the church budget. Forget it. Just once, just once in my life I would like my ship to come in - get something extra, maybe not have to work so hard. Maybe enjoy life a little more..."

Narrator #2  "What have I told you...?"

Narrator #1  "A man reaps what he sows."

Bill:  "You mean - the only way to get ahead is hard work."

Narrator #1  "Go to the ant, lazy bone; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. How long will you lie there, lazy bone? When will you get up from your sleep. A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest - and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man. Proverbs 6:6,9,10 "The lazy bone craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied. 13:4)

Bill:  "There has got to be just a chance that I will make some big money!"

Bill slots 10 tokens and pulls..."Ding, ding - chunk"

Narrator #1  "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows... Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Galations 6:7,9

Bill:  "This isn't fair, it ticks me off - why do some others get off easy, but I have to work hard to get anywhere? Why can't I win the 649? Why can't I have people drive up to my door selling me trucks?

Bill places a good number of tokens in the slot - pulls calling out big money..

            "Ding, ding chunk"

Narrator #1  "God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised." Heb 6:10-12

Bill:  "There is nothing wrong with this. Its all a matter of free choice - people can choose to do what they want with what belongs to them. This is OK. I bet I can prove those dusty old scriptures wrong..."

Narrator #2  "And make me a liar...?"

Narrator #1  "If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has not place in our lives." I John 1:10

Bill:  "Oh be quiet!..."

The Spirit and the Word respond in unison...  Narrator #1 and Narrator #2

         "That we will."

Bill continues his gambling - putting his last tokens into the slot and pulling, while the Word and the Spirit remain silent. The slot machine goes "Thunk, thunk, thunk." Bill arises and goes to the back of the pulpit area to get more tokens...

Bill:  "I would like another $10 worth of tokens please..."

Bill opens his wallet - finds no money, just a white piece of paper from church last Sunday...

Bill:   "What's this - Oh, its from church last Sunday... From the deacons: They are asking each family to donate $10 to benevolence because through Neighborlink a family in desperate need has contacted us. Oh, well - I guess not this time..."

Bill:  "At least I can pray for them - right Lord..."

Silence

Bill:   "Lord..."

Silence

Bill:  "Lord...?"

End Scene

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Prayers

- burrying our talent can happen in many ways - this way, we have nothing to return to the Lord. Rather enable us to work diligently, and so in time reap a harvest.

- some of us may have seared our conscience, squelching its voice, the voice of the Word and Spirit

- pray for the victims of gambling addictions - 8-14 people affected by every problem/ compulsive gambler

Prayer should include I John 1:1,9

(NIV) Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright (C) 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.


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