YOU’RE just chilling when you see a person driving down the street in a sleek luxury car, you hear they’re living in their Trassaco villa this weekend, and they are always sporting the trendiest designer clothes and shoes. Undoubtedly, you want to know who they are and what they did to acquire such wealth. “Oh, she’s a businesswoman,” and that is enough of an explanation for the show of wealth, usually.
This isn’t the case when it comes to men and women of God. Can you imagine seeing all of that and someone saying “oh, he’s a pastor of so-and-so church” as the explanation for the wealth? That wouldn’t go down so well. There will be a plethora of follow-up questions about what it is the church does and doesn’t do and why and how this head pastor is chopping all the money.
For some reason, we attribute being a pastor to living an austere life. Because if your lifestyle isn’t austere, you can’t possibly be true to the word of God. However, if there’s going to be prayer for financial prosperity there’ll be a hoard of people ready to receive God’s blessings. Only the congregation should benefit from financial prosperity, the leaders must remain eternally “humble”.
A friend mentioned that she didn’t always feel comfortable tithing because she wanted to be sure that every pesewa she tithed was going to the right place. She wasn’t sure where it went and who to ask about it. Thankfully, at the church she referred to, there was a financial report that lets the congregation know where the money goes, if there’s a surplus and what it’s being spent on. Not in gruesome detail, but a report akin to one you would find in any well-run business. Now, I’m not saying a church is a business, but it does need money to continue to run.
This notion works well when we have to give money to almost anything else. We’ll occasionally give money to a beggar on the streets, we’ll leave the jaara with the kelewele seller, but in church? Walahi talahi we must see it all. We will itch and make a fuss because our money must not be used to pay a church leader. We forget the church leaders also have families and themselves to take care of. We will praise and worship and dance and sing, but the moment somebody takes a mic to talk about an offering all of a sudden there’s just an uneasy air. Our gripe isn’t usually with the giving of money, somehow it’s with the giving of money at church.
You would think that would be the easiest place to give it up.
I can’t even deny that there are times when I need to tithe and I’m not the most thrilled about it. It almost hurts to feel like that money is just leaving with nothing tangible to get back. I know, I know, heavenly blessings and it’s going to God and all, but it doesn’t make it any easier to just let go of the money. I do it anyway. In the same way you may not always want to go to work but you do because you know you’ll get paid, I give it up because I know it’s going to be beneficial.
Sometimes we wonder why the churches we’re in aren’t flourishing or are unable to upgrade the facilities they have, but won’t be the first to give in to making that change.
It’s okay for a regular business man to be wealthy, it’s even okay for a person to win the lottery and come across a huge sum of money suddenly, but for people who lead a congregation and do God’s work, they cannot have nice things or live in nice places. It’s one thing to have leadership who misuses the funds, but another thing entirely to be giving to the church in the knowledge that it’s going to the right place and being used in the proper way.
In churches where there is good leadership and a correct usage of funds, maybe we ought to re-evaluate our attitude towards giving. If we seek to be wealthy in all aspects of life, would it not hold that the people who help guide us would be wealthy as well? Even a little?
Let me know what you think!
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