Permit me to use the opportunity of the Mbaka-Obi issue to address a matter that is prevalent in today’s Christianity. As a rule, I stand with the Church of Jesus always, and see myself a part of it. However, when I write posts defending certain actions taken by our brothers in the faith, it is not an attempt to save face, but because after much thought and comparing with the Scriptures I know, I came to the conclusions I actually pen down. Today, I am going to side ‘against’ the Church in this article.
Why will I do that? When the Church looks at what Jesus said, and purposely pretend that they did not see it, then they must be called to order. I am addressing this issue of doing good deeds in public, notably this issue of making public pledges and vows in the Church.
I grew up to meet this phenomenon right from my home Church, and its principle is majorly based on appealing to the ‘flesh’ or ego of men. For example, a man may naturally not give beyond #20,000 if he were to give secretly. However, when you make the donation public, the man is compelled, by reason of his ego, to give an amount that is quite high. It is not just a Catholic Church issue, it is everywhere. Pentecostals are the worst of it. Worst, because, they even use spiritual jargons and make it appear as if the Holy Spirit asked them to do it. It is not uncommon to be in an average Pentecostal Church for a service and hear, “there is a special anointing in this Church today, and the Spirit of the Lord wants to bless 10 persons that will give a seed of #1million each in a special way.” Of course, the amount goes on and on until it gets to the level of “bring whatever you have.”
In fact, one pastor, in trying to raise offering compelled all the members of the Church who have up to #200,000 in their accounts to stand, and then insisted that if they do not give at least #20,000, something bad will happen to their savings. That of course, compelled many gullible men and women to come out and give.
Now, it is not for you to get angry. This is a discussion, and we will follow it civilly. Every true Christian, whether Catholic, Protestant, Charismatic or Evangelical, asks one simple question, “what did Christ say about this?” Or “what did the disciples of Christ say about this?” Now, if the answer to that question cannot be found, then it will be difficult to judge the conducts of another. However, it is quite absurd and an insult to the person of our Lord Jesus, that He will give the verdict of a matter, then you disregard His verdict and do what you like. That is quite unbecoming and irresponsible!
So, what did Jesus say about doing good deeds in public?
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6 vs. 1-4 (NIV).
The verdict of our Lord is clear. Your giving should be done in secret. Now, there are times when circumstances may force you into an open giving, like when a beggar asks you for alms on the road. Or in the Church when an offering bag is being passed around, or when you are gathering together some food items and other materials for the poor. However, as long as it depends on you, nobody should know that you are even giving, not to talk of how much you are giving.
I do not know where we learnt this practice of asking people to stand up in Church and tell us how much they will give. It is not right! It is not in line with kingdom principles. There is no reward from God for it. Your pastor/priest may promise you heaven and earth, but Jesus clearly said, there will be no reward for you from heaven.
Worst of all are these religious leaders who always film themselves giving bags of rice and beans and money to the poor. They are not followers of Jesus, but promoters of themselves. They are politicians, not pastors. Yes, they make you feel like wow, this man is doing great things, but God clearly says, NO REWARDS.
Well, those men never wanted rewards from God anyway. All those people who stood up to make donations in public at Fr. Mbaka’s programme, and all such who do that in many other settings, do not seek any blessings from God. They only desire men’s applause and the recognition of the priest/pastor. It is all a political display, and the Almighty does not play politics (in that sense) with men. He regards only sincere men who are willing to give to others and let it pass, with nobody seeing or applauding them. This is the spirit of the New Testament.
1. Do not be deceived by all these people who do good deeds to the poor and bring camera to display it so that you can see that they care for the poor, they have got their reward on the earth, they do not crave for heavenly honours.
2. Those who crave for heavenly honours are willing to do things and go unnoticed by men. In fact, you can even accuse them of stinginess and not doing anything to help poor people, but the Almighty God before whom they stands knows what they are doing or not doing for the poor, and He will reward them accordingly.
3. You, the reader must ask God to give you all the Grace to know how to do good deeds to others in a quiet manner without making much ado about it. Whether you are a pastor, politician, public personality, etc. It is the surest way to have the respect and honour of the Almighty.