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Opinions of Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Columnist: Rev. Mrs Vida Acquah (Blessed Lady)

Financial covenant with God

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This treatise is basically an introspection of the house of God. The author paints a picture of two groups of shepherd leaders: i. The holy spirit certified ministers and authentic people ii. The imposters who are in the pulpits or church leadership positions.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is holistic – it can be compromised when aspects are taken out of context to justify some preacher’s self-made theories on giving and prosperity. He draws from the experiences of Isaac and Abraham as opposed to that of David, the shepherd boy who gained celebrity status which led him to forget his past, leading to very dire consequences for him and his family. What effects do these incessant demands for offerings to support the work of God have on the congregation and how do the preachers who request for these offerings present themselves?

An emotionally charged chapter - the seed of sacrifice - “exposes the harm being done by “con men behind the pulpits today”, such that the author charges: “Dear readers, follow Jesus. Build a relationship with Christ first.” If it is easy as a working of our faith to trust God for our salvation and for healing –why can’t we trust the same God with our finances to reap the harvest promised?

The writer believes rightly that Jesus Christ is the ultimate and only sacrifice after whom no other sacrifice is needed. Pure-hearted giving, private prayer and proper fasting to him are the three projects heaven responds to.

Our minds are drawn to the private prayer, a great sacrifice God made to redeem mankind from the bondage of sin. He compares the animal used to atone for the sin of our first parents - Adam and Eve - with the painful sacrifice of God's dear son to atone for the sin of humanity. Certainly the effect and results were different. How about our giving? How costly?

Apart from our giving being payback time for God's giving, it is also a seed that bears fruit for the giver, and most importantly a covenant seed that transcends generations. Examples of Noah, Abraham, Cain and Abel have been given, but today it is about you and the import of your giving to God. Many of us pray for answers but the author cites the example of King Solomon who prayed and also gave SOS.

The author compares the offering of Abraham and Sarah who gave a meal (a fattened calf) and got their heart’s desire (Isaac) as well as Gods? programme for Sodom and Gomorrah revealed to Abraham and that of Solomon who offered a 1000 burnt offerings and got wisdom, riches and influence. The lesson? It is not always how much you give but the heart with which you give and what you choose your offering from.

Conclusion? (Admonition) This is the purity with which a young minister of the gospel sees the church of today. His message is doctrinally sound. My prayer is that as we mature in the things of God, we will not begin to think that the instruction in 1 Timothy 5:18, “Do not muzzle the ox that treads the corn and the labourer is worthy of his reward”, means misapply God’s resources.

Thus, when church funds are used to pay our children’s fees, build houses for ourselves and finance situations we cannot openly declare to our congregation who are the source of the funding and are seen as “giving to God”, we will not see it as a privilege but we will see it as misapplying God’s resources – the tithe that is holy to God!

No wonder many congregations are not blessed because God does not bless the offering for his people to prosper. To remind yourself, it would be good to have this book beside you for your personal edification and as a bedtime pill. Note: The word of wisdom quotes from Rt Rev. Dr Anyani-Boadum – a sign of a minister under spiritual authority and covering.

As the author enumerates and defines the various offerings allowed in the Old Testament one thing stands out to me. In the New Testament church all these are not requirements – see what Christ has done! Could we afford them? The hymn writer sings in the Methodist Hymn Book (MHB)182, “Were the whole realm of nature mine that were an offering far too small. Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul my life my all.

How could we give out the Christ of the church who sacrificed himself for us and who taught us: “There is more happiness in giving than receiving”? The author is a reverend minister, medical doctor (practising) and biomedical scientist.

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