By Pat Amobi Chukwuma
Sound can be confusing. Some words are synonymous in pronunciation. One early morning, a certain single young man had a partial stroke. His right side, from head to toe including his right hand, was paralyzed. He managed to grab his cellular phone with his left hand. He made several distress phone calls to his bosom friend, a man of God, for urgent assistance. That was around 5a.m. It was ringing but was not picked by the man of God. The total missed calls were twelve.
It was by 7.15a.m that the man of God called back to ascertain why his best friend was calling. The paralyzed young man picked the call with his trembling left hand. He was in tears as he asked his friend, the man of God, where he was when he was calling for help by 5a.m. The man of God told him that he was doing his daily morning worship which normally lasts for two hours. Then the stroke stricken young man pleaded, “Please hurry, come and rush me to the hospital for I am lying helpless since 5a.m on account of partial stroke.” The man of God hurried and rushed his paralyzed friend to the nearest hospital. On the way, his condition worsened. He entered the state of total stroke with a very high blood pressure. Before they could reach the hospital, he gave up the ghost.
On the next day, the man of God resumed his morning worship with his door tightly locked from inside. He was making strange incantations with noisy acrobatics. The whole building was shaking. The other occupants of the house became uneasy. They knocked hard at the man of God's door and asked him to open it. He started shouting, “Holy Ghost fire! Fire!! Fire!!!
Before the house could go up in flames, the occupants made a distress call to the Police to come to their aid. The DPO dispatched five armed policemen to the place. The man of God's door was forcefully opened by the policemen. Behold the man of God burning red candles and dancing around a heap of money spilled with human blood. It became clear that he was engaged always in money worship rather than morning worship. There and then, the policemen handcuffed him and led him away for interrogation. He confessed later to being a cultist in sheep's clothing. In other words, he is a man of Satan rather than a man of God.
Henceforth we should be careful when someone says that he or she is doing morning (money) worship. Do not be deceived anymore by false prophets and deceitful men of God.
Be careful when anyone greets you in the morning hours. Some greet you 'good morning' whereas others greet you 'good money'. Try to observe the onomatopoeic sound to know the difference. Those who say 'good money' are evil-minded. They can sell or kidnap you, if they have the opportunity. If you give reply to 'good money', then you are already monetized. So if someone greets you in the morning hours and you are not sure if he said 'good morning' or 'good money' just wave at him or her; make the Sign of the Cross and go on your way. His iniquity goes with him or her.
Saint Paul in his first letter to Timothy vehemently states, “Indeed the love of money is the root of all evil. Because of this greed, some have wandered away from the faith, bringing on themselves afflictions of every kind” (1 Tim 6:10). This is a real food for thought for you and me. Are we involved in morning worship or money worship? Is money the god we worship? Money is good because it is the means of exchange and means of livelihood. Money and monkey come from the same ancestor. If you remove the letter 'k' from monkey it becomes money. Thus you can make quick money by grabbing a monkey and removing the k from its body.
Money is a tainted thing which should be used and not loved. Do you use money or love money? Some persons in our society today pursue money to the extent that they can do anything. Some go into prostitution for the sake of money. Armed robbers maim or kill their victims to amass money. Today, kidnapping for ransom is a thriving evil business. The famous kidnapper Evans is in police net. He became a millionaire by kidnapping for ransom which runs into millions of dollars. Even some children kidnap their parents for ransom.
About two months ago in the western part of Nigeria, a boy strangled his mother to death and raped her corpse severally in order to become rich as instructed by a devilish native doctor. Recently in Delta state, a final year beautiful female student was lured away by three men who wanted to become rich. They plucked out her eyes and cut off her breasts while she was still alive. She gave up the ghost when they cut off her heart. A certain evil native doctor instructed them to get those fresh human parts for money concoction. But luck ran against them when they were taking those fresh human parts in a bag to the satanic native doctor. They and their master were apprehended and are now behind bars. They will face the wrath of the Law when convicted.
In our Nation today, money politics seems to get the upper hand. Some politicians induce the electorate into voting them into office by lavishing money on them. This is known as vote buying. Automatically those who sell their votes are known as vote sellers. Both vote buyers and vote sellers are enemies of Democracy. It becomes obvious that they practice 'Moneycracy' and not Democracy. Those involved in all forms of electoral malpractices are involved in 'Democrazy'. 'Moneycracy' and 'Democrazy' are twin sisters who are liable to die young. The politicians who embezzle public fund while in office or afterwards are thieves and not democrats. A thief thinks only of his pocket. On the other hand, a democrat thinks of the people. A thief ascends to office through the power of money while a democrat ascends to office through the ballot. A thief worships money while a democrat worships God. For the former, the fear of money is the beginning of wisdom. But for the latter, the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.
It is unfortunate that the virus of money worship has entered the sanctuary of God. Hence things have fallen apart and the centre can no longer hold. Some priests, pastors and men of God today practice Simony. Simony is the act of purchasing the power of God with money. In the Acts of the Apostles we read how Simon the magician saw that the Spirit was given through the laying of the Apostles' hand. Consequently he offered them money saying, “Give me also this power, so that anyone upon whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit” (Acts 8:19). Instantly Peter rebuked him, “May you and your money perish for thinking that the Gift of God could be bought with money!” (Acts 8:20). The magicians in the Sanctuary of God today should read the handwriting on the wall and desist from deceiving gullible people.
Yes, donations are welcome in the Church. However it should be freely done and not coerced. The act of forcefully getting money from others is known as extortion. It is a form of theft. The 7th Commandment of God forbids stealing in any guise. We condemn some policemen who extort money from motorists. I prefer policemen who ask, “Anything for your boys? Give us pure water.” One policeman said to me some time ago when I was travelling to Enugu, “Father, give us offertory.” I asked him what he meant by offertory. He replied, “As they give una money for church, give us also.” We laughed it off. On another occasion a policeman checked my papers and everything was up to date. Finding no means of extorting money from me, he asked me, “Man of God, why is your trouser colour different from your clerical gown?” I cast a suspicious look at him and sped off. From the rear mirror I saw him scratching his head for failing to extort money from me.
As priests or men of God, we should ask people for donations for building of church projects. But it should be done with caution. No one should be forced to make a donation. If it is forced, then it is no more donation but extortion. Donation must not be made publicly. It can also be done privately or anonymously. The will of the donor ought to be respected. As we build projects we should also build the people who will make use of those projects. Some parishes build Chapel of Adoration without any adorer. If you build a church without people it becomes an ordinary building. Jesus Christ during his earthly ministry came across two-brother fishermen, James and John. He called them to follow him and promised to make them fishers of men. As we build physical projects, let's also build spiritual projects, which is the conversion of souls for the Kingdom of God. As priests, pastors or men of God, God will not ask us how many projects we built during our ministries. His demand from us will be how many souls we saved.
In the Catholic Church, priests are forbidden from practicing partisan politics. The Church as an institution is apolitical. However, as political animals we can talk about politics and educate the people on the right ways of practicing politics. No priest is allowed to belong to a political party. Nonetheless as citizens, priests have the right to vote for the right candidates of their choice in the ballot polls. Public endorsement of any candidate by a priest is strictly forbidden. The lay faithful members of the Church are free to play partisan politics and to belong to the party of their choice. They can endorse as well. Priests as prophets should condemn equivocally the bad policies of any government in power or the evils inherent in the society.
Lastly, it is Baptism that makes one a Christian. All priests and all Christians play the prophetic role of Jesus Christ in one way or the other. Prophecy is a message that comes through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Hence it is not a personal opinion. The prophetic message ought to be for the glory of God and for the salvation of mankind. No prophecy stems from money inducement. In other words, prophecy is not for sale. To prophesy in favour of the highest bidder is an anomaly and ungodly. To prophesy against the lowest donor is also ungodly. A false prophecy is not from God. The devil is the father of falsehood.
The worship of money is idolatry.