“Let me explain something to you.” She continued.
“When we come into Christ, we enter into a different kingdom. The bible says that God has translated us from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of his dear son, in another passage he says that Christ has blotted out the handwriting of the ordinances which were written against us and made a show of them openly, triumphing over them on the cross. Again, any man that is in Christ Jesus is a new creator, old things are passed away and behold all things have become new. I can go on and on quoting scriptures for you; there are a lot of them my dear sisters. No matter what your past was like, in Christ, you have a new life. It is very important that we stick to God’s word and not give in to the wisdom of men.”
What began as a simple question and answer session was turning into a time of mind blowing revelations. Fatima’s visit to the church had left her with numerous questions; so we decided to go to Aunty Peace for clarification. She took her time to explain things to us, trying her best not to throw stones or sound judgmental. I noticed it and I admired her wisdom and discretion.
“Ma, but he said it was God that instructed him to raise the money for our deliverance” Fatima asked again
“My dear, I really don’t know, but all I know is that the mind of God is very plain and simple to know. God has shown us his ways in the bible -it is the revealed will of God and if anyone says anything contrary, we must refute it and stick to what is written down in God’s word. If you stick with the word, you can never get it wrong.”
“You see, giving to God is a healthy Christian habit, not a means of deliverance. If you see all your possessions with the eyes of a steward, you will have no troubles releasing them when there is a need. God doesn’t threaten us to give to the church, it is our responsibility just the same way a son or daughter sweeps the house and washes plates without any coercing, because he is a member of the family. He doesn’t expect to be specially rewarded because he worked at home; he has only done what he is supposed to do. When we give to God, it shouldn’t be motivated by how much he will give to us in return but out of love for the King and his kingdom. It is the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross that frees us from sin and the devil not the money we sow as seed.”
“Another thing is that if you understand who you are in Christ, no ancestral curse will hold you back in life. Jesus has put an end to them all, you are no longer in the kingdom of darkness where ancestral curses keep people down, you have been set free and you are now seated with Christ. He is your ancestor, His blessings are now yours. Your lineage is the lineage of Christ so you are living in ancestral blessings.”
Mrs. Peace went on and on explaining these truths to us as we asked many questions and got clarifications, we left happy and armed with God’s truth.
The first voice I heard was unmistakable; it was Pastor Emekas’
“Sir, my point is that we need to focus more on the bible; that is how to feed the flock God has given us. If we concentrate on feeding them with God’s word, we won’t have struggles in giving, love, commitment, and other areas. Look at the petty quarrels we are having to settle everyday; it’s because the people are not grounded in the word. Come to think of it, the number of people who come for bible study is less than one-tenth of the entire congregation and if you notice, this number is even dropping. It’s mainly the church workers that come these days. The people have no hunger for the word; some of them don’t even bother to study it in their homes. We need to…”
“What you are saying is that I should stop raising special offerings and seed of faith? How then do we settle our expenses? You are talking as if you don’t know how these things are run, you and I know how much is sunk into this ministry to have a befitting service every Sunday: rent, fueling the generator and all, not to talk of the lots of money we need for the building project. Even the transportation and quality refreshments initiative that we began recently to attract more people and keep them from going to other churches, these things cost money. You amaze me Pastor Emeka! Pastor Jerry’s voice followed.
“Sir, I know all these. This is the work of God not that of any man. I believe if we trust God he will abundantly supply all our needs without us having to task the congregation every Sunday. It is not quality refreshment that keeps a congregation, it is the word, if we don’t feed them with the sincere milk of God’s word, no amount of refreshment will keep them. Remember Jesus said that no one can come to him expect the father draws him. I am really sorry to be sounding this way Sir, but with due respect I think we have missed it somewhere. For instance, deliverance from curses is not carried out with money but by the word of God, that is the truth. If they understand their place in Christ, the chains will fall off; we don’t need to make it a means of raising funds. Also, the gospel is not all about getting people excited and leaving them with no personal encounter with Christ. If you look closely into the congregation, you will see how shallow we are, we lack depth of earth and only cling to the words that promise us material things to meet our needs. We are now using God as a means to our selfish ends, we don’t care about souls or impacting other lives, we live as we choose yet come to church on Sundays to get our needs met, we care very little about obeying God and following his…”
“It’s enough Pastor Emeka! I knew it! I knew that one day; you would turn against me. I have tried from the beginning to make sure you were comfortable, I have constantly raised your pay, given you a befitting home and made sure you had all you needed. But this is all I get. You come here to tell me that I have deviated from God’s word. I can see you, follower of God’s word! You haven’t come across the scripture that says a worker is worthy of his wages. I suffered to build this congregation up to this point, I have sacrificed a lot to keep it going, yet doubling in my salary is now a deviation. Go outside and see what other Pastors are doing, churches are building mansions for their Pastors and buying brand new cars for them. When last did I change my car let alone renovate my house? When last did the church sponsor me on a trip abroad for vacation? Yet I work even harder than others and all I get from you is this crap. I am disappointed at you Pastor Emeka.
“Sir, you are taking it too far, please don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying you shouldn’t get a good pay, all I am saying is that we shouldn’t twist God’s word to meet our needs. You have been an exceptional leader all these years, you have been a huge blessing to my life and that of many others and I believe in this ministry. We both know all that we have been through to get this far, you can’t possibly think that I will turn my back on you now. I have never stopped supporting and praying for you but I also owe you a duty to tell you the truth in love and that is exactly what I am doing” Pastor Emeka explained.
“Are you done?” I could hear the anger in Pastor Jerry’s voice.
“Yes Sir but I have a request to make. While my wife and I thought and prayed about the church, we came up with a way to help out. We decided to relinquish 50% of my salary so that we can cater for the pressing needs and not have to raise money weekly for the church”
“Hahahahaha” Pastor Jerry’s thunderous laughter echoed through the toilet walls where I was standing. “You are impossible! You know, you always want to put yourself in the good light and paint every other person as the devil”
“Sir, you are really misunderstanding me, this is just between you, my wife and I. I am not trying to paint any picture. I only asked for a cut in my salary after much deliberation, I felt it would help the ministry, at least for now until we find other ways to meet our needs. I love the church, I love the work of God and I don’t want us to derail. Please understand me.”
“Well, it’s ok. But I hope you are not trying to ask me to do the same?”
“No Sir, it’s my personal decision. I just want us to stop raising funds every other Sunday. Let part of my salary stand in it’s place as much as it can. I don’t even want anyone to hear about it.”
“Well, I must commend you Pastor Emeka, we seriously need funds in this ministry.” Pastor Jerry replied
Their voices grew faint as the door opened; I could barely pick anymore words. I fought hard to hold my breath as they walked past the church restroom from the main office.They were saying other things as the left.
I had gone to use the toilet when I overheard the discussion between Pastor Emeka and Pastor Jerry. I wanted to leave but I couldn’t resist the temptation to stay back. Though I didn’t plan to eavesdrop, their voices were loud enough for any passersby to hear so I leaned against the door and heard every word they spoke.
While they left, I just stood there still shocked at the things I heard.
“Oh Lord, help us!” I cried.