By Gbenga Osinaike
Suddenly the money factor has crept into every facet of the Church. It is all talk about money. Offering baskets go round the Church for four to five times in some assemblies. In some others the pastor relentlessly prosecutes funds raising agenda. He is not tired of inundating the congregation with an endless list of needs for the church.
The consequence is that the congregation is gradually growing weary and tired of money induced services. Many Christians now gladly stay back home on a Sunday, hiding under the canopy of “no Church offering.” They can’t stand the shame of not putting something in the offering basket and would rather stay away. Some who go to Church, simply device the ‘toilet option.’ Whenever the offering basket is being passed around they slip out under the pretext of going to the toilet only to resurface after the offering must have been collected.
Some are adamant. They would wait behind in the Church and drop empty envelopes in the offering baskets. There are reports that ushers battle with many empty envelopes in the offering baskets of Churches these days. Those who don’t have the liver to drop empty envelopes simply have a chain of ten naira notes with them. They don’t mind dancing to the altar to drop ten naira five different times.
That is why you will probably see a big Church but with small Sunday collection. The simple lesson from this is that the people are seeing through the lies of some Church leaders. Some are seeing through the hypocrisy of some while many who really want to give simply don’t have.
Today, money has become a big issue in the Church. The Church needs money to run. Without money many things will be left undone. The Church will perhaps be frustrated. A preacher once said anointing without money leads to annoyance.
It is easy to jump at such statement and celebrate it the way we celebrate the simple Bible verse that money “answereth all things.”
Whoever says money is evil certainly needs to have a rethink. It is like saying water is evil. It is like saying food is evil. The truth that we have to come to terms with is that money is a necessary tool for daily operations and it is not evil and will never be evil.
But what has become evil is the heart of men and the lust of men after money. The approach to money in many assemblies is not only disheartening but has made unbelieving folks deride the gospel. It is easy to read greed into many of the fund raising programs in Churches.
Why do we now have professional fund raisers? Why do pastors organise programmes solely to raise funds? Why are Churches only concerned about the figures and not the faith of the people after every Sunday service? Why are pastors promoted on the basis of the money they make? Why do we classify some areas as big areas of the Church while some as poor areas of the Church?
These questions can go on and on. We are certainly in a quagmire. The Church is indeed in the grip of some charlatans. Why will a pastor sell anointing oil to his congregation, organise the sale of wrist bands in the name of caring for the spiritual growth of his members but in actual fact only interested in raising funds.
Why do we take the place of God in the lives of our congregation and place curse on those who don’t pay their tithe and offering? Are we God who gave the instruction? Why is my non-commitment to offering and giving a problem to the pastor but he never cares if I am a pen robber or armed robber?
There is no doubt that many Church leaders are sincere in their funds raising drive. They want to meet the needs of the Church members. They want to meet the needs for evangelism. They want to satisfy some interest and also want to meet up with social demands.
The question is; At whose expense are we doing all these? If it is just to worship God and do His will to what extent do we need money? Should money be the motivating factor in what we do? Why do we always think in terms of money each time God’s work is mentioned?
Sometimes writing on a subject like this can make one unduly emotional. But the truth is that we have turned money to an idol. It has become the element that is controlling and determining our decisions rather the Holy Spirit.
Can the gift of God be bought with money? Simon the sorcerer having been converted saw the incredible work that Peter was doing. He offered money and requested that such power be given to him. His demand had great consequence. He saw the other side of Peter. God saved him he would have died.
Now what are we doing in the Church today? A man of God prepares some cash and goes to another man of God and sows into his life not because he wants to be a blessing to the man of God but because he wants his anointing. Is that not a replica of what Simon did?
It is now customary to pay people for worshiping God? It is understandable if someone is a professional musician. But why do we have cases of Churches who deliberately organise singers and instrumentalists that are paid for worshiping God every Sunday. Pastors do that because they feel such service will attract crowd and by extension increase the rating of the Church. Mammon is simply at play.
The question I ask people is: What instrument did Paul and Silas use in the prison yard when they were praying and singing hymns and there was earthquake in the prison yard? Don’t we think we are going too far by imposing methods and methodologies on our worship system? It is good to use instruments to praise God. The Bible recommends it. But it is ungodly to look for these things by all means.
Our faculty has been brainwashed to look at everything we do in terms of naira and kobo. Yet God is never limited by money. We spend money here on earth. It is a tool. It is an instrument that will want to control us. But as believers and children of the most High, we are expected to be the one in charge. Our actions especially when it concerns the salvation of souls should not be determined in terms of money.
Why for instance do Churches determine their evangelical drive in terms of return? There are ministries that are reluctant to invest in the youth or children Church because they know they are not tithe payers. They won’t invest in prison ministry because nothing comes from there. What drives our evangelism is whether we can get returns from the people that are saved. Are we not in trouble?
There is no doubt that we need to rethink our money philosophy. It is good to raise funds. But as much as possible the pastor should not sound beggarly. In the first place the work he is doing is not his work. It is God’s work. So why kill ourselves over the way it is done if not that we have some ulterior motives.
The first place to start is to check the rate at which we collect Sunday offering. Why must offering bag go round several times? Why can’t Church take offering once? If people are well taught about giving they don’t have to be prodded several times and cajoled before they give to promote the cause of Christ. Let all the envelopes be put in the offering basket once. We don’t have to make a ceremony of giving.
It sends a wrong signal to new worshipers who come to Church in search of peace and salvation. Pastors should as much as possible stop this tradition of organising programmes because they want to raise funds. Why for instance will a Church hold a crusade, spend millions and only to come and complain because only a few people were saved? Can we equate souls with money? When the Bible says the whole world put together is not worth the soul of man.
As much as possible, the Church should not be beggarly. The time should come and now is the time that people will beg to give to God’s work rather than the Church begging people to give towards God’s work.
Gbenga Osinaike: 234-80-3333-6243
Scriptures for thought
Matthew 6:24 No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
Luke 12:15 And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
Luke 16:14 The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed him.
1 Timothy 3:6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil.
1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
1 Peter 5:2 Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly