Spammers at the Gates

Not long ago I got one of those spam e-mails in my inbox. I'm continually amazed at the implausibility of these e-mails. It makes me wonder if people are still falling for them. However, since I keep getting them, I have to believe that someone out there is still responding.

After the e-mail, which I've included for your interest and humor, there's a humorous video of someone who played along with an e-mail scam. At least one person is keeping the spammers busy.

Hello friend,
 I want to trust you with this confidential proposal. Before I continue, let me introduce myself to you, I am Col. Thomas Collins the commander of the Special N.A.T.O coalition force with the United Nation troops in Afghanistan, on war against terrorism. I was working with General Stanley McChrystal, the former commander of U.S and NATO forces in Afghanistan before he was replaced last June by another General David Petraeus. I am serving currently in a Taliban territory; a remote Village in Bamyan province to the bustling capital Kabul (CBC’s Doc Zone).
 Because of series of killing of England/United States troops in Afghanistan especially the shot down of UN helicopter that killed 30 American soldiers and 12 England Soldiers on the 5th of August 2013 and the five American soldiers who were killed by a bomb in Afghanistan onThursday last week. After this series of killing I and my colleague decided to share the money we recovered on our raids on terrorist’s camp in Afghanistan. I have now in my possession the sum of $16M (Sixteen million US Dollars).
 I have carefully packaged the money in a box, I have made contact with a friend who is working with the UNITED NATIONS RED CROSS here in Kabul. He will assist me move the consignment out of the trouble area down to your country, which is the only safer means of moving it out of this hell hole, he will deposit it with the United Nations Red Cross as a diplomatic luggage as I have told him that the luggage belongs to one of our soldier that died during the attack but before giving up he told me to make sure the luggage get to his family. He will deposit the consignment for safe keep and to make contacts for its proper use.
 So I need someone I can work with on trust and that is why I contacted you. So if you accept, I will put you forward as the beneficiary/owner of the funds and then the box shall be deposited on your name as the beneficiary and the Red Cross Agent will transfer the box to you anywhere in your city. I just need your acceptance and all is done. I have 100%  assurance that you will surely receive the box without any hitch through United Nations, every arrangement will be made to proceed to your country.
 Once I confirm your interest to my proposal, and your positive reply I will proceed with the arrangement to move the consignment out of the trouble area and register your name as the beneficiary then move the consignment to your country Red Cross office. I am willing to give you 30% of the total sum when the money is delivered to you. I wait for your response so we can proceed immediately. In less than 7 days the money should be in your safe custody.
 The only telephone access we have here is radio message which is for our general use and is being monitored, therefore all communication will be via email till we finish our assignment. Please keep it to your self even if you are not interested, thank God for President Barrack Obama whose keen interest is to call us back home soon.
 Regards,
Col. Tom Collins

Implausibility

The implausibility of this sort of e-mail is evident on several levels. First, why would someone contact me as if I'm the best person to receive a $16 million shipment. I wouldn't say no to $4.8 million if I found it on the street, but I hardly think that I'm the best person to fulfill this sort of function. There has to be another layer of people more likely to succeed in laundering this amount of money that are closer to the troops.

Second, the author can't even bother to be consistent in his own e-mail. He's an American colonel, but at the same time, he wants to get money into "your country." At least if you're going to lie to me you should be a little craftier.

Third, I'm supposed to believe that the phone is monitored but e-mail isn't? Seriously? Who falls for this stuff?

Anyway, I guess I've violated the agreement because I've published the solicitation even though I was asked by the good Col. Tom Collins not to. I wonder what might have responded and strung him along like the guy in this TED talk.

Playing Along

Here's what happens if you actually play along with the spamming scammers. The speaker is a comedian, so his timing is good. This is one of the more entertaining TED talks I've watched.

Used by CC License. Danger from Heavy Seas by Anne.  http://ow.ly/CyQN3005z9p

Used by CC License. Danger from Heavy Seas by Anne. http://ow.ly/CyQN3005z9p

Procrastination and the Christian Life

Are you a procrastinator? 

You don't have to answer right now.

The reality is that most of us tend to procrastinate about some things at some times. For example, even an individual that files taxes on the first possible day may put off getting health screenings. Or, the person that starts and finishes every task at work early may delay making other decisions in life.

In a humorous TED talk, blogger Tim Urban describes the mind of a procrastinator and makes an important point that should resonate with Christians. 

Put off whatever else you were doing for 15 minutes and watch him describe the mind of the procrastinator. But make sure its okay if you laugh, because you probably will at some point.

If you've watched his talk, you should recognize the big point here. We only have a limited number of weeks, so we should avoid putting off the important things.

Urban would likely arrive at a different set of important things than a Christian would (or should), but the principle is generally the same.

Who have you not shared the gospel with? What important work are you putting off? What progress toward sanctification are you neglecting?

Redeem the Time

In Ephesians 5:15-17, Paul writes:

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

We should accept that the will of God for us is, in general terms, for us to become holier and thus glorify him through everything we do. There may be more particular things that we are called to do, but everything in God's will should fall into the category of things that increase our sanctification and bring him glory.

But there is a key phrase here, which should convict all of us. Paul tells the Ephesians to walk carefully, "making the best use of the time."

He doesn't recommend making a productive use of the time or just not doing bad stuff in the time.

In fact, the reason that Paul gives for making the best use of the time is because the days are evil. This means that procrastination--and the instant gratification monkey--are things that we need to fight against. They are part of the world and flesh that we need to overcome.

Conclusion

Like everything else in life, we can err by fighting procrastination to an extreme degree so that we fail to enjoy our lives. 

We shouldn't be afraid to enjoy free time in our lives and to take pleasure in playing with our children. However, most of us fall on the procrastination side of the spectrum, so there is a lesson for us here.