The idea of quid pro quo, or I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine, is commonplace. Most everyone is nice to those from whom they can benefit. And with the presidential election looming you can’t help but think of all of the favors being given and the payback being received. So, where do you draw the line? Is there any difference between bartering favors and outright bribery?
“A bribe is seen as a charm by the one who gives it; they think success will come at every turn.” – Proverbs 17:18 NIV
In an interesting parable, Jesus actually seems to be encouraging this type of behavior. Or does He?
In the Parable of the Unjust Steward, Jesus tells a story of a rich man who had a manager that was responsible for managing his goods/business. This manager (or steward in the Biblical language) was doing a poor job, and as you read into the story you might speculate that he was dealing with his boss dishonestly. When the rich man had discovered that the manager had “wasted his goods”, he decided to fire the manager but not before getting a final accounting of his business. So, knowing that he was getting fired, the shrewd manager called to the debtors of his boss and settled their debts for less than they owed, in order to get a favor in return later. In other words, he gave them bribes so that they would be beholden to help him after he was fired – quid pro quo. This man saw the bribe as a charm that would secure his next job.
Jesus complimented the manager: “And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light”. But was this a compliment? Actually, no – this was a condemnation. Jesus then explained that for the unrighteous, it is wise for them to make friends with others who are unrighteous, since they will be spending eternity with them anyway. After all, birds of a feather flock together.
If you are not committed to the Lord, who in this parable is the rich man, then you may as well be committed to the riches of this world and bribe your way to the top. But at the end of the day the Lord will only receive the children of light. You cannot serve two masters, you cannot love God and money.
Did you notice today’s quote was a Bible Sequence?