God does not require financial down-payments in order to prosper his people.
Several years ago, I drew up a project to donate fully-furnished Christian video-shops to churches. A pilot of the project was established at Pentecostal Assembly in Yaba, Lagos. But I also entered into discussions with other churches. My discussions with one of them in Ajah, Lekki-Peninsula, Lagos were held with the wife of the pastor; a Cameroonian by birth. At one point during our discussions, she decided to introduce me to her husband (now of blessed memory), who was inspecting some renovations being made to their church-buildings.
It was quickly apparent that the pastor had been kept abreast of our discussions by his wife. She simply introduced me as the gentleman she was trying to convince to plant a Christian video-shop in their bookshop and her husband immediately took up the gauntlet. The pastor expressed confidence that I would soon “come on board.” Then for some strange reason, he decided to let me in on a secret.
He confided in me about a stratagem that came to him some years back while he was still in the United States. “You tell people if they give ten naira, God will multiply it to one thousand.” He assured me that it works on people like magic. Since he started using that technique, they just keep bringing money to his church.
I was flabbergasted. I could not believe that a man I was meeting for the very first time would be telling me this. On reflection, I concluded that he revealed this trade-secret to me as incentive for me to plant the video-shop in his church by recognising that he had a time-tested money-making formula which would somehow also be to my benefit.
The pastor pointed out to me that that was how he was able to finance the major renovations then being made to his church-buildings. The renovations were nothing short of impressive. But while I could not contest the efficacy of this “technique” for extracting money from his church-members, he failed to tell me whether his members succeeded on their part in using this “technique” to extract money from God.
Sowing and Reaping
Yetunde Runsewe filled in the gap for me concerning the pastor’s wonderful money-doubling techniques. She was in his church when, at the beginning of a service, a woman came forward to testify that she had given an offering of 1,000 naira the previous Sunday. She then announced to the appreciation of all that within seven days, God had multiplied it by giving her 100,000 naira in return. Not a bad investment for such a short period.
However, it turned out that her benefactor was a boyfriend who was a civil-servant in Abuja. Yetunde said she was just beginning to wonder how a civil-servant could afford that kind of gift, when it turned out from the woman’s effusive thanksgiving that this famous “boyfriend” also happened to be a married man.
This is where the story took a turn for the ludicrous. According to Yetunde, the pastor did not miss a beat as a result of this indelicate disclosure. He simply went on to ask her: “Do you want to marry him?” Instead of answering the question, the woman reportedly giggled bashfully. But the pastor would not be denied: “Do you want to marry him?” he insisted. “Yes,” replied the woman, finally coming clean with her intention to try and break up the man’s marriage. “What else do you want?” asked the “Man of God.” Now fully emboldened, the woman replied: “I want him to buy me a BMW seven series.”
Then Yetunde came up with the clincher. The pastor asked everybody in the church to get up, stretch forth their hands towards “this precious woman of God” and pray that the good Lord would give her the desires of her heart. Yetunde ended the story by saying that incident marked her last visit to that church.
Voice of Strangers
The next time you hear this kind of prophecy in church; remember you have been warned: “There is somebody here who has a great need in his life. The Lord says if you would just sow a seed of ten thousand naira, he will give you double the amount in return.” “There are some people here who are heavily in debt. The Lord says if you would just give this church five thousand naira of what you have left, he will cancel all your debts.”
God does not require financial down-payments in order to prosper his people. When Simon the sorcerer offered Peter money in order to receive from God, Peter was quick to reprimand him: “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money!” (Acts 8:20).