Attending a game show wasn't your idea of a perfect day of vacation. But now that you're here, you are beginning to enjoy it. The studio frenzy is contagious. The music is upbeat. The stakes are high.
"Higher than they've ever been!" the show host brags. "Welcome to What Is Your Price?" The emcee announces the pot: "Ten million dollars!"
The audience needs no prompting; they explode with applause.
The host beams. "Someone today will walk out of here with a check for ten million!"
"Won't be me," you chuckle, "I've never had any luck at luck."
"Shhhh," you best friend whispers, pointing to the stage. "They're about to draw the name."
Guess whose name they call? In the instant it takes to call it, you go from specatator to player. Your friends shriek, your parents scream, and a thousand eyes watch the pretty girl take your hand and walk you to the stage.
"Open the curtain!" the host commands. You turn and watch as the curtains part, and you gasp at the sight. A bright red wheelbarrow full fo money - overflowing with money. The same girl who walked you to the stage now pushes the wheelbarrow in your direction, parking it in front of you.
"Ever seen ten million dollars?" asks the pearly-toothed host.
"Not in a while," you answer. The audience laughs like you were a stand-up comic.
"Dig your hands in it," he invites. "Go ahead, dive in."
You look at your family and friends. Your brother is drooling, your friend is praying, and your dad is giving you two thumbs up. How can you refuse? You burrow in up to your shoulders and rise up, clutching a chestful of one-hundred-dollar bills.
"It can be yours. It can be all yours. The choice is up to you. The only question you have to answer is, 'What is your price?'"
Applause rings again, the band plays, and you swallow hard. Behind you a second curtain opens, revealing a large placard. "What are you willing to give?" is written on the top. The host explains the rules. "All you have to do is agree to one condition, and you will receive the money."
"Ten million dollars!" you whisper to yourself. Not one million or two, but ten million. No small sum. Nice nest egg. Ten million bucks would go a long way, right? Tuition paid off. Set for life. Would open a few doors on a few cars or a new house (or several).
You could be quite the benefactor with such a sum. Help a few orphanages. Feed a few nations. Build some church buildings. Suddenly you understand: This is the opportunity of a lifetime.
"Take your pick. Just choose one option and the money is yours."
A deep vioce from another microphone begins reading the list,
1. Become a prostitute for a week.
2. Give up your American citizenship.
3. Abandon your church and your faith.
4. Give up your virginity.
5. Abandon your family.
6. Kill a stranger.
7. Have a sex-change operation.
"That's the list," the host proclaims. "Now make your choice."
The theme music begins, the audience is quiet, and your pulse is racing. You have a choice to make. No one can help you. You are on the stage. The decision is yours. No one can tell you what to pick.
But there is one thing I can tell you. I can tell you what others would do. Your neighbors have given their answers. In a national survey that asked the same question, many said what they would do. 7% of those who answered would murder for the money. 6% would change their race. 4% would change their sex. 3% would put their children up for adoption. 16% would leave their spouse. Another 16% would give up their American citizenship. 23% would become a prostitute for a week. 25% would abandon their church and faith. And another 25% would abandon their family.
If money is the gauge of the heart, then this study revealed that money is on the heart of most Americans.
Even more revealing than what Americans would do for ten million dollars is that most would do something. Two-thirds of those polled would agree to at least one - some to several - of the options. The majority, in other words, would not leave the stage empty-handed.
They would pay the price to own the wheelbarrow. What would you do? Or better, what are you doing?
"Get real, Max," you are saying. "I've never had a shot at ten million."
Perhaps not, but you've had a chance to make a thousand or a hundred or ten. The amount may not have been the same but the choices are. Which makes the question even more disturbing.
By Max Lucado
I got this story from the back of my Bible, along with
some other stories that I'm putting on my page.
They came from the "True Love Waits Bible" in case any
of you would like to check that Bible out. Please visit
page which has verses that go along with this story.