I THANK God for the superiority of the Holy Bible. It is the book of books. The Bible is a mirror, and as we look into it, we see who we were yesterday, who we are today and who we shall be tomorrow. The Holy Bible is powerful than any scanner man has ever manufactured. It is able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart of men and women. By it we receive truthful information about ourselves and others.
Christians, who seek to do the will of God, may be disturbed by the infiltration of many charlatans in the Body of Christ today, but they will not throw away their confidence in Christ. Their faith will not be shaken because they know that evil men parading as servants of Christ Jesus and ministers of God, deceiving and exploiting unsuspecting people are mentioned in Scripture.
Evil men hiding under Christianity to perform their irreligious activities just to dent the Church and acquire material wealth and riches were known to the early Apostles of Christ. Key on their agenda has always been money. The Apostle Paul wrote of them when he revealed to the Corinthian church that there are two key groups of men of God in the world. He wrote:
“For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ” (2 Corinthians 2: 17, ESV). Let us also read what the New Living Translation (NLT) puts it: “You see, we are not like those hucksters – and there are many of them – who preach just to make money. We preach God’s message with sincerity and Christ’s authority. And we know that the God who sent us is watching us.”
From this verse of Scripture, we see two main groups of ministers who preach in the name of the Lord, but with different motives. The first group preaches just to make money for themselves. And the Bible says they are many. I believe these ministers are filled with the lying spirit or the spirit of error which controls them to distort the truth of God’s Word thereby succeeding in deceiving people to pay money for consultations, prayers, healing and concoctions in the form of oils and water.
Paul, again, spoke about these deceitful ministers in his letter to Titus, a minister of the Gospel in a community called Crete. He wrote of them, saying “For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by TEACHING FOR SHAMEFUL GAIN (money) what they ought not to teach” (Titus 1: 10- 12, ESV, emphasis mine).
Now, from 2 Corinthians 2: 17, Paul also spoke about the second group of ministers, and he was one of them. He described them as sincere men prepared and sent by God. These ministers go about their duties with the understanding that God is always watching them so they are careful to walk worthily of their holy and heavenly calling.
Thus they are committed to preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, knowing that they shall be accountable to God about their preaching, teachings and counseling on the Day of Judgment (James 3: 1). Unlike the fraudulent preachers, ministers like Paul believe in heaven, eternal salvation and damnation.
Of course, genuine men of God also receive offerings or donations from their congregants, but they do not trick them or use the money to buy big cars and build mansions for themselves and go about boasting. I do not say here that it is sinful to possess good cars and houses. God is good and blesses His children with good and perfect gifts. And we know that the gospel does not advocate living a life of penury.
However, the truth remains that Christ-centred and gospel-focused Pastors do not live a life of flamboyance; they may be materially blessed but do not flaunt their wealth as some of the world’s celebrities do. They allow themselves to be used as channels of blessing to those in need. This is why they are givers.
Often they are modest in their outward appearances but powerful spiritually as they are possessed of the great God of the Bible. Genuine servants of Christ do not boast of their material riches. They have seen and known someone who is matchlessly greater than everyone and everything else– God, and they understand and glory in knowing this God who practices steadfast love, justice and righteousness in the earth (Jeremiah 9: 24).
Sincere men of God who minister in the sight of God know that they are stewards of God’s resources. Therefore, they wisely use the church money to provide for their needs and the needs of the Church members especially, the poor, orphans, widows, the aged and the community in which they operate. This they do to glorify the name of the Lord who called them.
The Apostle Peter’s words of exhortation to Pastors in his day are relevant to all ministers of the gospel today. He charged them, saying: “Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; NOT FOR SHAMEFUL GAIN, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock” (1 Peter 5: 2- 3, ESV).
FROM James Quansah, Kumasi