TEMPTATION & THE PARABLE OF THE VENTRILOQUIST
Finally finding his concert seat, Alex sits ready to enjoy a famous ventriloquist. He watches this sold out arena greet the artist with a standing ovation, before even performing! But within minutes of his act, his incredible lack of talent becomes clear. As his lips move constantly, and his puppet keeps slipping off, it is Alex who feels like the "dummy” for buying this ticket! And others agree as they begin to protest (Ephesians 4:14), only to be drowned out by a surprisingly combative round of applause. Alex watches as some leave (Hebrews 2:18). But the majority become embarrassed enough to sit back down silently for the remainder of the show (Mark 14:38). Alex eventually decides to leave like the others (Matthew 6:13) for a cup of coffee across the street. And later he sees the entertainer taking a cigarette break in the parking lot.
"Excuse me.” Alex approaches the artist.
"I saw you leave!” The ventriloquist replies reaching in his pocket to give Alex a refund.
"Yeah I did. I’m an artist myself!” Alex reasons. "With all do respect, you gotta perfect your craft first!”
"Perfect my craft?” The entertainer scans the empty parking lot. "Come with me for a second. I wanna show ya something.”
Alex agrees and follows him back into the now empty concert hall.
"Watch this.” The entertainer motions to Alex while picking up a microphone. He breathes in deeply and exhales without moving his lips. "[APPLAUSE]”
"WHOAH!” Alec yells hearing a crowded room of cheers in this dark, empty, theater. "That was YOU during the show?”
"Yep,” the ventriloquist smiles. "But please don’t tell anyone.”
"Well… I stand corrected. You are talented! But why do you use your talent specifically this way (Mark 4:19)?"
"Because it easy money!" The entertainer holds up his puppet. "The REAL dummy is the crowd (I Corinthians 10:13) … because they pay to see me (Luke 12:21)… but they perform for each other (James 1:14) (I Timothy 6:9).”
<Moral>: Temptation is a stage-setting audience to its unknowing performers for anyone who’ll "sit through it" and pay attention. Anticipate (temporary) feelings of loneliness and embarrassment for interrupting its show, as you should (in the eyes of its audience). Only wisdom can see this.