You Can't Con a Con

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Most of us are familiar with the expression, “You can’t con a con.” The idea being: when someone is in the business of conning (deceiving) others, it is hard for someone to con (deceive) him because he is wise to all the tricks of the trade. Let me demonstrate with the following story.

There was a man who visited a small antique shop in San Francisco. The offerings were mostly cheap and junky. However, as the man started to leave he spotted what appeared to be an ancient vase on the floor. On closer inspection he was able to identify it as a priceless piece from the Ming dynasty. Without question, it was worth more than everything else in the store combined.

He thinks to himself that the owner has no idea of its value because it is filled with milk for feeding his cat! “This is the opportunity of a lifetime,” he thinks to himself. So he quickly develops a strategy for buying the vase without letting the owner know how valuable his “cat saucer” really is.

He says to the shop owner, “That is an extraordinary cat you have! How much would you sell her for?” “Oh, the cat’s not really for sale. She keeps the store free of mice,” he answered. “I must have her,” the customer persisted. “Tell you what- - I will give you a hundred dollars for her.”

The owner laughed and replied, “She’s not really worth it, but if you want her that badly, she’s yours.” The man continued, “I will need something to feed her from, so let me throw in another ten bucks for the saucer she’s drinking out of.”

“Oh, I could never do that,” the owner responded, “That is actually an ancient Chinese vase from the Ming dynasty. Further, it is my prized possession whose worth is beyond calculation. Funny thing, though; since it has been in the store, I have sold seventeen cats!”

In the spiritual realm, Satan is the greatest con artist of all time (cf. John 8:44). He will let you think you are in control; that you are smart; that he could never get to you; however, it is all just a setup. Make no mistake, in reality he is a lion just waiting for his chance to pounce on you (1 Peter 5:9).