17:8 Bribing One’s Way to Success

A. W. Tozer reminded us of eternity

A present is a precious stone in the eyes of its possessor; wherever he turns, he prospers. Proverbs 17:8

Some people think they can bribe their way to success. To them a present is like the philosopher’s stone in alchemy. This was a hypothetical stone which was supposed to be able to turn into gold anything it touched. (In the first fifteen Christian centuries, alchemists wasted vast amounts of time and energy searching for this mythical stone.) Bribe-makers often do succeed, but at the cost of corruption. Therefore, what seems precious in the eyes of its possessor may actually be recognized as a bane by onlookers.

Of what value is success in this brief life if it leads to eternal loss? One of the most chilling verses in the Bible, found in Psalm 106, tells us that God gave the Israelites their desire, but sent leanness into their soul. Christ added an even more solemn warning: “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul?”

A. W. Tozer summed the idea up this way: “Apart from God, nothing matters. We think that health matters, or knowledge, or art or civilization. And but for one insistent word, they would matter indeed. That word is eternity.”

This does not mean there is no place for presents. Christ brought to the Father a present far more valuable than anything anyone can bring another on earth: his precious blood. It paid for our sin.

If bribe-givers (and takers) would reflect, they would see that the only true success in to be a partaker of Christ’s present, for when one comes under the blood, one receives eternal life and gifts of the Spirit. What is more, to those who overcome, Christ promises a white stone, a truly valuable stone, on which is written a new name, known only to God and the recipient—a token of a priceless, intimate, unique relationship between God and an individual. Is not this the success to seek?

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