We should not be happy to always be at the same [revo]; for so long, many of us have remained at the lower [revo]. No! We must stand up, do something and move to the upper [revo].
For [egiizaampo], we must all be like Potiphar. Potiphar was sold as a slave by his own brothers. Just imagine! Potiphar was hated by his own brothers, so he was taken to Egypt to work as a servant in the house of Joseph, who was the king. Joseph was a very powerful king in Egypt. But God was with Potiphar! [They] were many temptations coming on Potiphar, until he was thrown in jail. While in jail, Potiphar [clied] to God. Eh! How many of us [cly] to God when praying? We should be serious every time we talk to God, just like Potiphar did. And God heard Potiphar; God was with Potiphar! God lifted Joseph, [no] Potiphar, God lifted Potiphar in Joseph’s house. Potiphar became the most important man in Joseph’s house, and later became king of Egypt…
A lull of about five minutes took over. Then:
So, brothers and sisters, let us be like Potiphar, who [clied] to God and God heard him. We must take prayer seriously. Most of us are not serious when praying; we think the way we talk with our friends is just how we must speak to God. No! We must [cly] like Potiphar and tell God: “Why me, Rord? Why?” We like taking prayer so [casualtry]. That’s why when giving tithe, we must tell ourselves: “God, today, I’m not going to give the same small amount I always give; I’ll give a big amount because I don’t want to [lemain] at the [row] [revo]. I want you my God to [rift] me to a higher [revo].”
Let’s start giving big offering and tithe, and God will [rift] us from where we are. Alelujah – AMEN!
Taking the stage, the hosting pastor began: “Alelujah… All those who have brought tithe can see the deacon. We’re into [offerling] now, but before we proceed, let us [play], let’s PRAY…
Now, prayer is a very vital cog in a person’s life mechanics. For the very conscious soul, prayer means the very essence of human existence – a vitalising and soothing element that connects humanity to the very source (God), without which life is as useless as when a fruit is plucked off the very tree nourishing it.
Over the years, Zambia has seen a prayer revolution. Unfortunately, while this has inspired a more energised thrust in the spread of the Gospel, society has been traumatised by cardinal sins passionately committed by pretentious preachers, most of them self-made, ranging from tithe crusaders to preachers-cum-businessmen to money changers and gemstone/drug mongers to cultists and sexual ritualists… In fact, churches where such perversions and indulgencies are not witnessed are jeered at and deemed utterly old-fashioned and devoid of the ‘holy spirit’.
With every Jim ‘n’ Jack ordaining themselves, the unrelenting mushrooming of churches wherever space seems to avail itself in-between township houses is serious cause for alarm. Crudely erected structures – topped with banners carrying dramatic church names thought out in ways to outshine one another as if them alone Heavenly Authority approves of – typify the desperately pious Zambian terrain. Once a keyboard, speakers, microphones and amplifiers are hastily acquired, not to talk of the ear-choking repertoire of discordant ‘music’ full of recycled lyrics, the gullible public is all set for ‘salvation’.
Some personalised ministries have carved themselves a reputation for segmenting their congregations according to how much offering and tithe members can give; the more one offers and tithes, the more eminent their status and the higher their rank in the church council. I still consider it a myth that cash dispensers have been domiciled at some churches to streamline maximised offering/tithe collection.
Majority poor have been brain-washed into becoming Zarephathic and Shunemic givers of their very last pennies in vain hope that the riches-based sermons, deliberately themed on colossal tithing, can grant them a miraculous turn-around even when God Himself does not think so.
Like a sacrificial animal being led to the altar, the poor have been transformed into horses from the Proverbial Beggars’ Wishes yoked to meekly render a lop-sided ride of a life-time to their sly handlers. These pulpit spin doctors, for now, continue to richly benefit from the poor’s unquenchable thirst for miracles. They preach messages, including contorted Bible accounts as above, to strike a chord with the desperation eating at the very core of the poor. With inflated egos, they and their spouses, during sermons, conspicuously perch themselves on garlanded throne-like seats for the whole church to behold and hail as royalty.
Some go to the extent of levying tribute for their upkeep, stylistically called Pastor’s Basket. I wonder who needs this basket more, forget the Levites’ own portion. Anyone as observant as I am would have long seen the poor masses every routine Sunday/Saturday return to their poverty-stricken homes after offering their meagre resources, called seed, in dire need of a non-abiding miracle while the pastor’s privileged family will always drive to parking lots of flashy supermarkets before heading home.
Many pastors will argue they have well-paying secular jobs, but inwardly they know it is the poor congregations heavily subsidising them, and Heaven sees them! If they must protest their self-sufficiency, why then not subsidise the poor? Had things been this way, the poor’s problems would have been half-solved and burdens lightened.
Ministers must not sign themselves to a life of austerities, no, but while they lead lavished lives wearing trendiest fashions and driving posh cars, the congregants, from whom offering and tithe are collected each week, must resign themselves to a fate permanently sealed in poverty? Ethically, every church sanctifies a fund for the poor (Mutulo wa Balanda), but the mystery surrounding its disposal remains unfathomable; it just exists on their tongues.
Television news is ever awash with disasters, famine and fallen houses, yet church leaders are totally absent.
Now, the sermon above was being preached on Sunday, 17 August 2014, loud and clear in a well-established Pentecostal church just metres from where I was.
These merchants of the pu;pit, without qualms, keep piercing Christ’s body by their brazen acts.
I deplore the credentials of the hosting pastor and regret that the congregation must overzealously clap and then be told to yield tithe after such a grossly miscued sermon. While it is forgivable and tolerable for preachers to break rules of English all manner they possibly can (because it is not their Mother Tongue), I strongly admonish them thus:
Misrepresenting anything from GENESIS to REVELATION is a far more unforgivable indictment, more so when no correction is rendered and forgiveness sought. A clarion call is hereby echoed to all congregations surrounded by pathological ignorance to tighten their belts.
Tight!!! For God was with Potiphar indeed!
The author, Augustine Mwashingwele, is Zambia Daily Mail staffer email@example.com