Dear ‘Man of God’…

20130301-010751.jpg

Does it ever cross your mind that you just may be missing the mark by many miles on your reduction of the gospel of Jesus Christ to a scheme which simply allows you to get all you can and can all you get?

You are quick to claim the blessings of Abraham and justify ‘your wealth’ by reminding us of how Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Job were all the wealthiest in their time. Well, permit me to repay the kindness by reminding you that none of those folks got their wealth by putting out a box for folks to put in tithes and offering. They all got wealthy by the blessing of the Lord that was upon the work of their hands. That’s not to say that there weren’t people in the bible who earned their living from the tithes and offerings of the people of God, but I don’t recall any one of them being described as rich, but again, my knowledge and memory of the scripture isn’t all that.

I find it curious though that every time that you try to find a character in the bible to compare your riches with, you choose a business person in the Old Testament. Is it that difficult to find a full time man of God (apostle, prophet, evangelist) in the New or even Old Testament that you can use to illustrate this your own brand of prosperity gospel?

Apparently, someone like Apostle Paul will be utterly inappropriate for you in this regard; he says very ‘inappropriate’ things like:

It seems to me that God has put us who bear his Message on stage in a theater in which no one wants to buy a ticket. We’re something everyone stands around and stares at, like an accident in the street. We’re the Messiah’s misfits. You might be sure of yourselves, but we live in the midst of frailties and uncertainties. You might be well-thought-of by others, but we’re mostly kicked around. Much of the time we don’t have enough to eat, we wear patched and threadbare clothes, we get doors slammed in our faces, and we pick up odd jobs anywhere we can to eke out a living. When they call us names, we say, “God bless you.” When they spread rumors about us, we put in a good word for them. We’re treated like garbage, potato peelings from the culture’s kitchen. And it’s not getting any better. (1 Corinthians 4:9-13 MSG)

To be sure, Apostle Paul wasn’t necessarily the exclusive example of a minister of the Gospel; even though it is a most noble thing to do, not everyone must preach the gospel at their own expense. We know for instance that Apostle Peter depended on the church for his family upkeep (1 Cor 9:5), he and his wife (read mummy) were however not the ‘A’ and ‘B’ signatories to the Jerusalem Pentecost Assembly (a.k.a. global miracle centre ) account. In fact the only way we know that he had a wife was because Jesus once healed his mother in-law; I am yet to find a verse where her name is even recorded much less her ‘portfolio’ described.

So Sir, I believe that you are well within your divinely granted rights to live off the altar: the labourer is indeed worthy of his wages, nevertheless, he runs the very grievous risk of becoming a hireling once he starts supposing that gain is godliness (1 Tim 6:5). Now this is one grave error which I pray that you do not fall into but which your words sometimes suggest you are already wallowing in. Do we not often hear you point out your splendid car, magnificent auditorium, palatial mansions, globe trotting adventures as cogent proof of your ministry? Does this not contrast as night does with day with the disposition of such as the Apostle Paul who rather than point to a yacht, mansion or fields as proof of his ministry said …

Even if others think I am not an apostle, I certainly am to you. You yourselves are proof that I am the Lord’s apostle. (1 Corinthians 9:2 NLT)

Truly the life of a man does not consist in the abundance of things he possesses. In fact Jesus warns that those who hold on to great possessions run the dire risk of watching a camel pass through the eye of a needle as they struggle in futility to enter into his kingdom.

One more thing before I close this letter Sir, I know that it is not my business what you do with the monies once I put them in the basket and to be honest, I do not want to pry into such ‘celestial’ matters. However, I would like you to reflect a while on that story of the Samaritan about which I suppose you might have preached several sermons.

Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road. “By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side. “Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’ “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked. (Luke 10:30-36 NLT)

Do you not consider it callous sir, that this Jewish fellow who was attacked by armed robbers could get no help from the Priest and Levite who earned their living from the tithes, first fruits and myriad offerings that he brought to the temple? It took a despised Samaritan. Do you not see the parallels in our day sir? Is there not a great cry among the tithe-firstfruits-and-myriad-offerings paying members of your congregation about your refusal to lift a finger when they fall on hard times? The priest and Levite in that story crossed to the other side of the street, alas! you speed past in your Lincoln Navigator or far above in you know what.

In closing my letter to you, let me borrow from the words in the closing chapters of Gods letter to us all…

“I know you inside and out, and find little to my liking. You’re not cold, you’re not hot—far better to be either cold or hot! You’re stale. You’re stagnant. You make me want to vomit. You brag, ‘I’m rich, I’ve got it made, I need nothing from anyone,’ oblivious that in fact you’re a pitiful, blind beggar, threadbare and homeless. (Revelation 3:15-17 MSG)

Sir, think about that last word. Homeless! It’s obviously not talking about here on this terrestrial ball.

Love

Your brother.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s