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Opinions of Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Columnist: Yeboah, Asamoa Ernest

Understand! We Can’t Buy God With Money

The astronomical rate at which people are taught by “men of God”/ Pastors these days to give out money so that they (the people) could tap into the favor and blessings of God exponentially is a critical issue that needs to be addressed once and for all and at all levels of society. Indeed not all Men of God are in the habit of doing that; however evidence clearly points to the direction that a good number of men of God are into it.
It is a wonderful thing to give your resources, be it money, time, experience, strength etc. to help the ‘body of Christ’ –the church- expand and grow organically and sometimes artificially in order to reach all nations and make disciples of them as our dear Lord and Master Jesus told us to.
It is also important that the church always has money in its coffers so that the church can be properly administered. Also, on behalf of the congregation the church should be able to engage in helping the needy. This is a good thing and our dear Lord emphasized that.
However the current doctrinal imbalances that have become contagious, infectious, chronic cancerous as well as parasitic to the members of ‘the body of Christ’ is a great source of worry. It does not promote the true purpose of the Church. The church is there to facilitate and aid humanity in finding eternal peace and happiness with the creator to say the least. But when such a great purpose with its numerous responsibilities are overlooked and emphasis placed hugely on making people rich or wealthy instantly or sooner by them (the people) giving money then we all have to weep and lament. It does not mean a believer should not be wealthy and comfortable in Life. He should. The good Lord makes we all understand that ‘…He blesses and adds no sorrows to it’, and he is faithful to His words as we all know.
However, how the message is spewed is the problem. The stress on giving money to the church and receiving in exponential rates, becoming prosperous and rich – with emphasis on money, limits our God to money. It makes everything look like we can get God to do whatever we want for us by giving money. It technically proves that we can “buy God off” which is really shallow.
There are indeed very knowledgeable men in every sense of the word knowledgeable and by all standards also teaching this doctrine or message. Just mention them “seed money”, “tithes”, “offering” etc. we are made to believe that by doing these, God will bless us. Truth be told, who are we to make God bless us by giving money? He blesses those He wants, we can pray for His blessings but we should not think that God is bound to bless us because of the money we are giving to the Church- how much can we give Him?
A critical look at the Holy Scriptures will lay bare the fact that those God blessed exceedingly and abundantly were people whom in God’s own wisdom He chose to bless. Talk of the Patriarchs- Abraham, Isaac; the Judges- Jephthah, Gideon, Samson; the kings- especially David and Solomon. Even in the days of Jesus no one paid money in order to be blessed by Jesus- God in flesh. He helped all people without looking at what He will receive or what He was offered initially. So why are we telling people to give money to receive favor and the blessing of God? He gave freely to all who believed in Him- who can pay Him?
The issues of Tithe, offering and seed money are very unique. For instance, tithe as instituted was a very special means adopted by the Israelites to cater properly for the Levites (priestly clan), who did not do any work except that of God and rendered enormous services to the nation of Israel. Note that they did not own groups of companies, they were not school owners, and they were not selling oil and water to anyone. They had no source of income whatsoever. So it makes very good sense to give a tenth of the harvest to them for their up keep. So the moment we say God will bless us if we give tithes, then we are skewing the purpose of tithe to a wrong end. Does that mean that God will not bless us when we do not pay tithe? No! Abraham who is often cited as the first person to pay tithe, which he gave to Melchizedek was long blessed by God before that incident.
Going to the house of God with our offering to show our gratitude and appreciation for His mighty deeds is awesome. But the question is can our offering thank God enough? It is not so much about how much we offer, but about the heart with which we give. The poor woman Jesus commended in the temple gave little but it was from a good heart and it was done willingly without her expecting anything in return; and that is what God expects from us. Free giving with no form of duress attached to it but is that what we see now? Have you thought about why we have to dance to give our offering? To indirectly force you to give- simple!
Seed sowing is a different level of giving and it takes different forms. It should be a free will giving backed by faith. It is more of the faith behind the seed you are sowing than the money you are giving. It is in His words that ‘with faith, we can move mountains.’ People should be taught to sow not forced to sow, it won’t be a good sowing when one is told something like this ‘… give the Lord One Thousand Cedis tonight so your days on earth will be blessed…’ What?
Due to the emphasis on money, the kingdom of God now has become the possession of the financially sound. Leaders of church Committees, Chairpersons, even the actual church leadership now is for those who have money. Meanwhile Christ himself made use of very poor people because it isn’t about money alone- experience, time, strength etc. Peter hit the nail right on the head when he met the lame begging for money at the temple gate when he said
“…silver and gold I do not possess, but what I do have is what I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk…”
It was not about money at all. He could have given the lame money, likewise Peter could have asked for money from the lame in order to bless him, it was not so because I am sure Peter had known that the favors of God couldn’t be bought.
Another scripture worth mentioning is “… it is easier for a camel to enter the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God…”
It does not imply that the rich will not go to heaven or it is wrong to be rich, it simply acknowledges that money is not the key to the Kingdom. Going to heaven – which is the greatest blessing every believer wants from God is not about money On the contrary, we are selling the kingdom of God and those who can afford are buying it.
People think that they can do anything they want whether good or bad and compensate God later with money. People can loot public funds and hand a little of the booty to the church and the whole congregation will pray to God to bless those people. That is not clean money, but because it is all about money no one cares, especially about the source of the money. Drug dealers, contract killers, corrupt leaders to mention a few are always told “God bless you” when they give money. Do you really think God will bless these people because of the money they are giving?
Truth must just be told. God will not bless you because of your money it is more of the faith behind the action (giving) and the free will to give. Until this is told and taught, people will always be misled that their money can buy them goodies from God and some men of God will always take advantage of that.