Charles Fordjour – Ghana
A Ghanaian proverb says “If a child has a wound on his leg, and you treat it with warm water, it is painful; but, when you leave the child because of the pain, the leg gets bad”.
As KODA in his music said, ‘’Today, the sheep is being slain by the shepherd’’. The shepherd instead of feeding the sheep, has rather turned around, killing them for food. Jesus said He knows His sheep and that as a result of being the shepherd, He laid down His life for the sheep. David defended his father’s sheep on the desert by killing lions and bears. It is rather unfortunate that the reverse is the case in this era, as some men of God have taken the advantage of members’ ignorance and are kill them spiritually.
When one is not well to do in the society, vital positions in the church are not given to such people. Did God choose the rich people for His ministry when He was here on earth? Being rich is not evil, but the problem occurs when we make it the standard for electing leaders into positions in the church. During the days of apostles, leaders were selected based on the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives and honourable behaviour. What happened to the gospel preached by the apostles?
In churches, some men of God have ill relationships with the poor. When a rich person falls sick and calls for the pastor, the pastor leaves whatever he is doing and visits. Upon arrival, he prays for him and of course visits regularly until he gets better. When a poor person falls sick, he also calls this same man of God. To that, the pastor answers, ‘’I will come later to see how you are doing’’. Two days later, the man of God still doesn’t pay him the visit. The poor man calls again, but the man of God intentionally refuses to answer.
Some men of God only pay rich people visits because when they are about to leave, they are given envelopes. This is not the case with poor people, because the men of God know that they will rather ask for money to eat food from them. What astonishes me the most is the fact that some pastors give out Bibles to the poor without even caring if they have eaten food that will give them the energy to read the Bible.
“What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be warmed and filled’, but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also, faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead’’. (James 2:14-17)
It is vital that we think of both the spiritual and physical wellbeing of people. Should you give a poor man a Bible to read and he has no energy, how can he do that? Jesus, after seeing the crowd, he had compassion on them, for they wandered as people without a leader; he fed them.
A man of God sees a crowd today, and the only thing he thinks of is how to squeeze money out of them. Strange times we are in, things have really changed for the worst. The amount you give determines the miracle you receive. Was that what Christ Jesus left us with? Some men of God have become tricksters, looking for means to extort money from their followers and when you are not able to give, you are not on the special list of prayers.
When huge funds are raised, rich people who donate are prayed for with seriousness and when the poor come out with their little, the kind of prayer that is offered is like throwing stone to hit the thigh of an elephant; it carries no weight. Jesus at the temple appreciated the widow’s money the most. We have rather made everything to be money; when you give little (without considering the heart that gave out), some men of God think you are stingy. And when they have that perception about you, they react by being stingy in their prayers and affection.
When the rich has a funeral, this same pastor who had no time to attend the poor’s funeral will definitely make out time to be present in the present from the beginning to the end. What happened that changed bereavement with people in pain? The trend now is ‘weep with the rich, but leave the poor to weep alone’.
Men of God should give equal treatment to the rich and the poor; God is no respecter of persons. The person you give the necessary attention today might not have things going on well later, while the poor man you discarded might be doing well. Treat everyone in the same way as God is the changer of times and seasons.
Photographer: Victor Ettekamba, Nigeria
Excerpt from #1 Youth Shades, September 2016