In an election season, politicians are known to make the wildest kinds of allegations as long as it wins them a few more votes. And so one can be forgiven for not putting too much stock on Governor Rotimi Amaechi’s claim that President Jonathan gave some pastors N6 billion to campaign for his reelection.
However, given the state of the Nigerian church: the everyday signs of derailment that we see in the body, it is wise to not dismiss the allegations off-hand. I suppose it is in that wisdom that Pastor Adeboye has reportedly asked any pastor involved in the #BillionsForBlessings scandal to return the loot before the wrath of God is poured out on them.
The sad dance of shame which has risen to a frenzied climax as the presidential election draws near has drawn many admonitions for the church from this blog: drawing lessons and principles from the bible. This new scandal in a series involving senior members of the clergy is another opportunity to examine our conduct as Christians in the light of Scripture.
The problem of the church turning a blind eye to questionable gifts did not start with this election, or even with the Sherston staffer that gave his pastor millions stolen from his employer. The same spirit of greed has blinded God’s people from bible days.
Remember Gehazi? Well, here’s a quick reminder.
2 Kings 5:15-16, 20-27 NLT
Then Naaman and his entire party went back to find the man of God. They stood before him, and Naaman said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. So please accept a gift from your servant.” But Elisha replied, “As surely as the lord lives, whom I serve, I will not accept any gifts.” And though Naaman urged him to take the gift, Elisha refused. But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha, the man of God, said to himself, “My master should not have let this Aramean get away without accepting any of his gifts. As surely as the lord lives, I will chase after him and get something from him.” So Gehazi set off after Naaman. When Naaman saw Gehazi running after him, he climbed down from his chariot and went to meet him. “Is everything all right?” Naaman asked. “Yes,” Gehazi said, “but my master has sent me to tell you that two young prophets from the hill country of Ephraim have just arrived. He would like 75 pounds of silver and two sets of clothing to give to them.” “By all means, take twice as much silver,” Naaman insisted. He gave him two sets of clothing, tied up the money in two bags, and sent two of his servants to carry the gifts for Gehazi. But when they arrived at the citadel, Gehazi took the gifts from the servants and sent the men back. Then he went and hid the gifts inside the house. When he went in to his master, Elisha asked him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?” “I haven’t been anywhere,” he replied. But Elisha asked him, “Don’t you realize that I was there in spirit when Naaman stepped down from his chariot to meet you? Is this the time to receive money and clothing, olive groves and vineyards, sheep and cattle, and male and female servants? Because you have done this, you and your descendants will suffer from Naaman’s leprosy forever.” When Gehazi left the room, he was covered with leprosy; his skin was white as snow.
There is a grim warning here that amplifies the words of Pastor Adeboye. Importantly, the tragedy of this account was not merely that Gehazi suffered a personal loss, it was that Israel suffered a greater loss in that, while Elijah passed on his anointing to Elisha, the latter took his to the grave. Nothing testifies to this so eloquently than the fact that even Elisha’s dry bones raised the dead.
2 Kings 13:21 NLT
Once when some Israelites were burying a man, they spied a band of these raiders. So they hastily threw the corpse into the tomb of Elisha and fled. But as soon as the body touched Elisha’s bones, the dead man revived and jumped to his feet!
Believers lie to themselves these days that no matter the source of the money, once it is offered to God, it is sanctified. Nothing is further from the truth. God is not a money launderer. If a gift is tainted, it is never acceptable to God. In fact this was such a big deal in bible times that God always demanded blemish free offerings. Even Jesus had to be a blemish free lamb to be acceptable to God as an offering.
So if indeed the President gave some pastors N6 billion, no one needs a prophet to know that it is tainted money. If the president has that sort of money, it definitely didn’t come from his acumen.
Thankfully, Gehazi is not the sole example the bible leaves us when it comes to the matter of gifts. Abraham the father of faith did not become wealthy by collecting gifts from tainted sources. When the king of Sodom offered to pay him his legitimate wages for fighting a war on his behalf, Abraham turned it down.
Genesis 14:21-23 NLT
The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give back my people who were captured. But you may keep for yourself all the goods you have recovered.” Abram replied to the king of Sodom, “I solemnly swear to the lord , God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, that I will not take so much as a single thread or sandal thong from what belongs to you. Otherwise you might say, ‘I am the one who made Abram rich.’
I would love for Governor Rotimi Amaechi’s allegation to be one of those wild things politicians come up with in times like this. I would however not hold my breathe in anxiety. Whatever the case may be, the warning is stark… Remember Gehazi!