SUNDAY, JANUARY 30, 2011
THE CONCEPT OF MONEY I
God is the source of all the silver and gold in the world. “The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts”: Haggai 2:8. It is in the mind of God that we should have abundant finances to accomplish His will and plans in our life. “But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is He that giveth thee power to get wealth that He may establish His covenant which he swore unto thy Father, as it is this day”: Deut. 8 v18.
Your Heavenly Father is the giver of wealth. He enjoys giving to His children. “…no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly” Psalm 84V11. More so “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” James 1 v 17.
God provides for our family and needs. And in turn, He says, one who cannot take care of his family is worse than an infidel. “But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those at his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel”. I Tim. 5 v 8.
God wants us to bless His name, His work and people around us with what He has bestowed on us.
But man’s greatest enemy is greed. The things we have been blessed with are now converted to personal use. Often we do not remember the author and giver of all wealth. We hardly can give a second thought to those around us who may not have been blessed equally from God.
St. Paul in writing to Timothy warns: “for the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people eager for money, have wondered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs”: I Tim. 6 v 10.
This love of money cuts across the secular and the religious and has contributed to the volume of corruption in the present society. That of the church seem to be more pitiable, the church that should be the conscience of the nation is now trapped in the toga of love of money. I think it is a great tragedy the Psalmist says: “when the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do? Ps.11 v 3. No church can claim to be a saint here, orthodox, Pentecostal, name them.
His Grace, Most Rev. Emmanuel Egbunu recently in speaking to the Bishops of the Anglican Church in their retreat at Ibru Centre on the theme: FINANCIAL INTEGRITY, x-rayed the guilt of the church among being that the church receives sometimes from some members without finding out sources of their wealth. To the effect that, sometimes, when somebody makes a bogus donation to the church and tongues begin to wag in the negative, I think an issue has been raised.
Yes, no church is under trial but it is time for us to think again on the resources God has bestowed on us and our members.
Worried still, a knight of the church Sir C. I. Eziuzo, of the Anglican Diocese of Nnewi in his book: The Guideline for General Administration of the Anglican Church pages 87-88, painfully observes:
Events in our churches across the nation show that some of our church leaders are no longer exemplifying godliness and financial probity in their public and private conducts as expected of them.
Unwholesome celebration and display of wealth and personal possessions have become the order of the day. This can be seen by the way and manner the church workers especially the clergymen compete in display of expensive cars and ownership of multiplicity of personal vehicles. The women folk, the Clergy wives vogue for expensive clothes is unprecedented in the history of the church. This trend must be checked if the leadership is to retain her credibility before the member of the church.
The maintenance cost of these vehicles indirectly falls back to the church and affects the churches’ budgets negatively, despite the fact that it is not the responsibility of the church to bear the cost of maintaining such fleet of cars, since the expenditure are of personal nature.
Some church leaders are becoming more materialistic than the members of congregation who they are supposed to direct a right in line with the biblical injunctions. To achieve their material tendencies, they now engage in one form of corrupt practice and another. It is no longer strange these days to hear of clergymen embezzling church fund, running into thousands of naira because of this rat race to get rich at all cost.
In another development, many self styled preachers of the gospel today also indulge in prosperity preaching which to a reasonable extent has added commercial under tone to the preaching of the word. It is true God is the source of all our silver and Gold, but a gospel predicted on what we can get from gullible members is not a true gospel and should be watched. Love of money can drive someone to making claims and even indulging in syncreticism if only he can get money to attend to his needs.
Remember “what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and loose his soul”: Mark. 8:36. As a Christian man and woman, what is the source of your wealth? How beneficial is it to God, and people around you?
To be continued.
Ven. Ernest Onuoha
Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre,