Archive for the ‘bribes’ Category

17:8 Bribing One’s Way to Success

Sunday, September 11th, 2011

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?

18:16 Unusual Gift

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

John Leland, whose gift was worthy of a president

“A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before the great.” Proverbs 18:16

One of the most unusual gifts in American history brought a Baptist pastor before a president. The Baptists had been much persecuted in the colonies and the president had befriended them. As the pastor brought the gift down from New England, cities full of people turned out to see it, and he used the opportunity to preach the gospel to them.

The pastor’s name was John Leland. The president was Thomas Jefferson. The gift was a giant cheese, weighing 900 pounds made by the women of Cheshire, Massachusetts.*

Jesus brought a far greater gift before a far greater ruler. The gift he brought was his own blood; the ruler was God the Father.

*This, and many other anecdotes appears in my book The Archbishop Who Killed a Man.

15:27 Greed’s Grim Outcome

Saturday, August 8th, 2009

Sir Francis Bacon.

Sir Francis Bacon.

He who is greedy for gain troubles his own house; but he who hates gifts shall live.

When Francis Bacon was Lord Chancellor of England, he—or at least his servants—accepted bribes from all quarters. Whether these bribes influenced Bacon’s decisions is not clear; after his disgrace he called God to witness he had been the fairest of judges. At any rate, the wealth so easily gained was also quickly dissipated, and Bacon declined into deep debt.

A commission investigated. It returned numerous counts of wrongdoing. Bacon signed a confession and King James I dismissed him in disgrace. He was forbidden ever again to hold public office. His wife having already betrayed him, and the couple being childless, Bacon had no family to suffer with him, although posterity, enamored of his scientific and philosophical writings, has often wished his practice had been more in keeping with his precepts. Bacon died alone in a mansion empty of all but a caretaker.

Christ was once offered a bribe—all the kingdoms of the world—if he would but honor Satan, and he rejected the temptation with a sharp rebuke from God’s word.

Any Christian in a position of authority—be it only authority over a child—should firmly resolve never to consult his or her interest in determining the resolution of a matter but only the justice of the case.