By Bill Kapinga
During this sacred week as we commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, I am reminded of how some men of God……..nay men of gold are subtly using the world of God to rob the poor.
Not so long ago, I escorted a brother in-law for miracle healing in one of the townships in the outskirts of Kitwe. As we waited to be ushered into what I’d call a mansion by local standards, I took time to walk around and drink in the goings-on with keen interest. The yard was teeming with people of different shades and hues. Although a couple of them were in their Sunday best, most them were in threadbare clothes and soiled flip flops or shoes with gaping holes in them. I couldn’t help noticing that there was a sleek Land cruiser GX and two posh saloon cars parked in the drive way – proud possessions of the man of God.
My attention was momentarily drawn to a lady perched on a rock. The child cried irritably as the mother frantically tried soothing it. My heart sank as I studied the child further – it had sad eyes, unkempt hair and cracked lips. I wondered when the child last had a decent meal.
Shortly, a taxi pulled up at the gate. A young lady was helped from the car by two elderly ladies. She looked sallow and drawn. The ushers quickly ordered some congregants to create space for her. She coughed and quivered spasmodically as her minders led her to a bench.
“This is a simple case,” one of the ushers declared, excitedly. “Yesterday we had worse cases than this one; the man of God is going to heal her.”
I could see that I had found myself in the midst of a sea of people bearing different heavy loads on their shoulders – from women hoping to conceive, youths looking for employment, patients battling with life debilitating ailments, impoverished folks seeking financial breakthroughs to students wishing to pass their final exams! And they were all hoping for miracles!
Suddenly the double doors leading to the lounge swung open! People could be seen hastily taking-off their shoes and jostling for vantage positions on the verandah. We were about to be ushered into a holy place, and none of us should dare set foot there with shoes on!
“Let’s have order, please!” A chubby man roared as he gestured his podgy hands. Like the rest of the ushers, he was equally bare footed and was clad in an overflowing white robe. “There’s no need to panic; the man of God is going to have chance to see each one of you. We’ll let you in going by the numbers we gave you earlier on.”
One by one we trudged along and joined the roll of people already kneeling down on the marble tiled floor. Shortly, the long awaited man of God stepped into the room.
“I greet you all in the name of our Lord!” his velvet voice boomed over our heads.
“Amen” we responded in unison.
He read a scripture from a Bible on the pulpit and then asked us to put our hands forward and repeat a prayer after him. Once we were done, he went around the room spontaneously laying hands on us as he uttered a prayer.
“I’ll now leave you with the ushers who will give you further instructions,” the man of God announced, and retreated to a room.
The chubby man wasted no time in jumping to the pulpit. He looked so proud standing there.
“You may now start submitting your offerings,” he now had a demeanor of a debt collector. “After dropping your offerings in the basket, you’ll be permitted see the man of God and he shall pray for your specific needs.”
He also took time to remind us to put the correct amounts in the envelopes. He further explained that there wasn’t any charge attached to the “miracles” that people were going to experience, but it was simply a contribution towards purchase of the anointing oil as it was very expensive to procure it. Apparently, congregants were expected to apply the said oil every morning to shield them from evil spirits of disease, poverty and failure to have children, among other things.
Asking people, with poverty palpable in their eyes, to part away with K150 to receive a miracle is absolutely ludicrous! Now suppose 60 of such poor folks each contribute that kind of money, how much would the man of gold mint at the end of the day? A whooping K9000 per day! This is actually more than what most highly paid consultants or lawyers would be paid per day. No wonder such men of gold can surely afford life of opulence while their followers continue wallowing in abject poverty.
Why should our pastors have a flair for latest SUVs, designer suits and stately mansions when Jesus has called us to be humble and kind?
Bill M. Kapinga