For a Piece of Bread
Monday, September 11, 2017
To show partiality is not good,
but for a piece of bread a man will do wrong.
To show partiality is not good. That almost sounds trite. Of course, partiality is not good. Whether it’s a judge in a court or a referee on the field, a government bureau or a business, a prison or a church pew (see James 2:1); whether it’s based on money, beauty, or age, friendship, kinship, or even a kindness done in the past—partiality is not good. We know it in our bones.
But bias is built into the system. Just think of the vast body of laws against “discrimination,” all meant to stop partiality! But they can’t. “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Right? “Money talks.” “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.”
The world is bent toward bias—or as Solomon says, for a piece of bread, a man will do wrong! A piece of bread is a pathetic bribe, but that’s how ready we are to play favorites. We can lay aside everything we claim to believe for the most trivial of reasons—we will do wrong for a piece of bread. Solomon’s son Rehoboam craved the approval of his peers, so he treated his people with contempt (2 Chron. 10). Even Peter fell into the trap. The Lord had shown him in a vision that God shows no partiality (Acts 10:34) and he went to the home of a Gentile without objection (Acts 10:29). But later, under adult peer pressure, he drew back and separated himself. For that hypocrisy, Paul says, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned (Gal. 2:11-12).
Pastor James reminds us that we behave the same way (James 2:1-4). A poor man visits the church; a rich man visits. The rich gets royal treatment, the poor gets a cold shoulder. It’s true, isn’t it? We won’t move from our clique to welcome a stranger; we will ignore failings in a friend that we condemn in someone else; we will renege on promises or sacrifice conviction to please someone who matters more.
Welcome to Christ Church this Lord’s Day. Be honest—how does partiality rear its ugly head in your life? Be brutally honest. Where’s the piece of bread? Blessed are they who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times! (Ps. 106:3)
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