Monday, May 8, 2017 5:54 pm
By Hope Eghagha
I have always held religious leaders in high esteem. And I believe all of us do; that is, those of us who still have a modicum of God in our subconscious or conscious minds. These are men (and women these days) who think, dream, eat, fast, preach, and live God Almighty all the time. They speak the truth no matter whose ox is gored. They are always polite and humble. You can leave your life in their hands and go to sleep. They can lay down their lives for the flock, in practical re-demonstration of the Master’s example. They commune with God while we the ordinary followers revel in ‘wanton acts of lasciviousness and search for the root of all evil.’ They do not have time for the frivolities of this life, whether sacred or profane. Their word should be law. Their lifestyle is always exemplary. That is what the good book prescribes. Indeed, in all religions men of the sanctuary are expected to live the ideal life. And as we know they all do. That is why we love them. That is the reason we can pay tithes of N40 million from questionable sources in order to take their ministry to the next level.
These men are neither ‘vainglorious’ nor are they given to ‘excess wine, always grave, preaching the truth of God’s word to the disciples, rightly dividing the word’. They do not believe in cruising around in limousines. In fact, if they had their way they would drive their cars themselves, doing away with anything that resembles luxury. They would always tell you that our Lord was born in a manger and that that is a strong sign that from the low depths of life, one could rise to the top and still remain in the hearts of men for over 2,000 years after living for only 33 and a half years!Of late some religious leaders and their aides have received an unfair amount of bashing from a section of the general public. It is worse on social media. That is a platform where anybody can be somebody, where somebody can be nobody, where age is not respected, where you can insult your grandfather’s age mate and sleep peacefully without being afraid of repercussions. The little misdemeanors of a few pastors have opened the floodgate of reprobate views on this holy and noble profession. How could anyone open their mouth and revile men (and women) of the sanctuary? We are indeed at the at end of the world where all things, including murdering one’s child in front of a camera and broadcasting it to the whole world before committing suicide, can take place.
To be a man of God is no easy task. It means a life of sacrifice. It means a life of living in faith, of living in hope, of shunning the glamour of material things, of keeping one’s eyes away from the beautiful, seductive women who often shake their bosom in ecstasy to win the attraction of a handsome pastor. It means refusing to buy a jet plane in spite of abundant resources and traveling like the Master did. It means tolerating one’s spouse forever, in obedience to divine injunction that divorce is forbidden and marriage is forever. It means opening a school where sons and daughters of the poor are educated along with the sons and daughters of the rich; a school where school fees are not so high and the average believer can afford himself the benefit of education. It means sacrificing all the monies made in the name of God for the benefit of mankind here in the world!
As men of God, and as we have seen the men of God practise in the world, they never wear the best or expensive clothes. Indeed, they abhor designer clothes. Their wives are a study in politeness and modesty. They are not given to filthy lucre or mammon of unrighteousness. They never say things like ‘my God is not a poor God’ or ‘Sundays are the market days of pastors’ or ‘wave the offering you want to make before you place it in the box.’ They always stress the Widow’s mite, the smallest amount which a follower gave in her days, for which she is remembered over 2000 years later, for her faith, for her strength, her capacity to give all in the name of God. The Perfect Master singled her out for an example unto us ‘upon whom the ends of the world are come’.
As men of God, servants of the Most High, they derive their security from God. They do not keep armed security men around themselves. God’s power is enough to keep a thousand robbers or assassins away. What about eating foods of exotic quality? These men always eat kpomo, iced fish, and lots of carbohydrates to give them strength and energy to prance about the altar while doing the work of The Lord. If they are given a room in Sheraton they won’t be able to sleep because their calling is not one of living in extreme luxury.
So if men of God so highly esteemed have spent all their lives serving God and humanity, why should it be any big deal if they collect millions from poor souls and feed fat on their followers in contradiction with what the Perfect Master commanded? Out of sheer jealousy, people just run their mouths against the anointed of the Lord. A man of God gives a brand new car to his female admirer who inspires him in the dark or the other room so that he can perform worthy deeds in the open and the whole world goes up in flames condemning and cursing and throwing the first stone! Or another wealthy man of God charges very high fees so he can teach God and teach Philosophy in his university and we call him all kinds of names! I am indeed confused about the level of malice against hard work, sacrifice and longsuffering! Critics and foul-mouthed people should remember the poignant admonition of the inimitable, irrepressible and articulate Psalmist: ‘Touch Not my Anointed and Do my Servant No Harm!
Credit: The Guardian