Should Miracles Have a Price Tag?
First of all I would like to make it clear before I continue this post that I maintain my full rights to delete derogatory comments, insults, slanderous posts and any submission which lacks fruitful and mature engagement. If you disagree with this post, please be a person of sound mind and disagree with maturity. Glad we are on the same page 😘.
I first came across the ICGC Special Offering which had an Offering Type during last year’s GreaterWorks. I didn’t pay much attention to it because I knew I didn’t have that kind of money, but I still sowed a seed within my capacity. I saw it again yesterday after Bishop Tudor Bismarck ended his sermon at Christ Temple. I looked through and decided to sow later within my capacity. I however gasped at the $5,000 Millionaire Status. Like wow! Someone is going to sow a seed for $5,000! Rich people dey! I wasn’t carrying enough on me but I still placed a seed offering in an envelope which I put in the offering basket. A few people seated around me got up when the Millionaire Status was called out, the numbers increased as he went through the list to the last Seed of Perfection.
Little did I know that the Special Offering had caused a ruckus on social media and up until this morning, there’s rising indignation about the impact of putting a price on a miracle and why miracles shouldn’t have a price tag. I read through many statuses and comments arising from them. The social media playground is split between strong believers who are explaining the why, the believers who understand the why but still feel that it shouldn’t be so, the unbelievers who are insulting all pastors, unbelievers who have raised quite some excellent points to buttress why they don’t agree with this action and lastly the silent readers.
Where do I stand in all this? Maybe I should start from my personal experience with sowing seeds and tithing in God’s house and the miracles I have received and fruits harvested. Let me also remind my reader here that my measure of faith is different from yours and faith works for those who believe.
I never took tithing seriously till I changed churches and started attending ICGC. By then i was earning about GHC1600 a month as a team assistant so I would tithe my 10% faithfully. There were times I also exceeded this 10% because I was expectant of so many things in my life. I would sow a seed when I was praying for a promotion at work and even do so when I was praying for the right man. My promotion wasn’t coming but I knew that sowing a seed wasn’t going to be a magical appearance the minute I sowed a seed. Seeds take time to germinate. During my early times at that job, I was deeply frustrated by my former boss who didn’t pay attention to my request for professional development and training. Here I was a graduate, working as a team assistant but not getting responsibilities or opportunities to develop myself. And if your manager doesn’t approve for you to go on training what can you do? HR will tell you to get approval first even if you state it on your appraisal. With such a situation, I turned to prayer a lot and sowed seeds of faith in church, praying for a miracle and a turnaround in my situation. What did I do after I prayed? I started paying attention to the tasks being done by my other team members who were expats. I started asking questions and offering my help on some of their reports and documentation. It got to a point that some of them started teaching me how to create health & safety reports and incident reports. As I involved myself more and more, people started associating me with health & safety in the company but I was still a team assistant. One afternoon, as I sat at my desk which faced a wall ( zero interaction with anyone, why won’t I be frustrated ?) the former country and general manager of the company came by my desk and asked how work was and if I was getting any training. You can guess where this is going, right? I said I had requested but it was yet to be approved.He was surprised. Long story short, he approved my training request immediately and I got sent to my first health & safety training in Dubai. How is this not a miracle? What did I do to get this unmerited grace and favour? Did I drag the country manager to come to my desk? Did I force him to talk to me? Grace had already enforced the way of things on my behalf and I used faith, confidence and strong self-esteem to have a conversation with him. I didn't dawdle with the truth.
I didn’t remain in that role for long and promotions came my way. Twice. These were my miracles and my faithful tithing and seed sowing opened doors for me I never thought possible. This and many other reasons are why I sow seeds. I have a willing heart and I never feel compelled / forced to sow a seed ( 2 Corinthians 4:7) even if a man of God asks a congregation.
So should miracles have a price tag? It's not a yes or no answer for me but how the asking of Christians to give is presented which becomes an issue for some and myself. Is it possible to ask Christians to give without the promise of a 24 hour miracle but to give and live in expectancy of God’s blessings? I feel as though the offering type as listed in the photo is offering miracles for sale. Miracles are on sale and the one with the money is the only one who will receive such miracles. Your money for your miracle kind of thing. It may not be the objective of my church but to many it looks like a coercion and not an offering to be made. Even to some ICGC members. This for me doesn’t help new believers or poor people who give in the house of God or who don’t even have a widow’s mite to give. It can have an effect on their faith and sow seeds of doubt in them. “Am I unable to become a millionaire because I couldn’t sow a $5,000 seed?” would be their thoughts.
Nana Damoah put up an interesting post on the use of tithes and offerings and the possibility of developing our own projects without reliance on foreign aid. It was also finger-rubbing chin interesting that a small town built a magnificent church instead of a public toilet facility. Wherein lies our priorities one may ask.
One of Ghana's illustrious contemporary artists Bright Ackwerh released his latest drawing depicting Dr. Otabil surrounded by cash.
Varying opinions gushed out on his post.
On reaching out to Bright on what inspired this drawing he said, " I was thinking about this trend of religious people taking money from congregations to trade blessings and prayers. We were all shocked when ICGC blessings menu came out and I thought to only record something we all do in a satirical way. It seems Ghana people don't want their faith systems investigated for no reason at all."
I do agree with him on how as believers we are so thin-skinned and sensitive when our faith system is investigated. There's nothing wrong with engaging in discussions around our faith dear believers. If Jesus was able to answer questions from Pharisee's why cant we? What are we afraid of? Are we afraid of being caught out on not being able to answer appropriately to expose our ignorance? Our spirituality emboldens us to enlighten and be a light not to trade insults or derogatory remarks left and right. Right swing, left swing. It's not a boxing match oh.
Rev. Cudjoe said recently at #GW2017 that without money Greater Works wouldn’t even be possible and we all know this. Without money, how will drones be bought to give that outstanding bird’s eye view which you enjoy watching on your smartphone? Without money how will shuttles be hired to pick congregants from their neighbourhoods to the event space? We need money to influence and yet here we are thinking and believing that the Pastors are enriching themselves. Sure there are false prophets and pastors who are enriching themselves out of the widow’s mite whilst the widow goes away with nothing. One rotten apple wants to infect the rest with it’s infectious poison. It shouldn’t be so but that’s what we are seeing today. Are we thinking of how the church is able to cater for the speakers and their protocol? The hotels they have to sleep in, the food they have to eat, vehicles to transport them, airline tickets? Yet we want to come to Greater Works and lift up hands and claim blessings. How will God's Kingdom grow without money?
As a discerning human being, you should be able to know the Word for yourself and pray on your own and for your needs. Too many Christians are taking the easy way out and ask Pastors to pray for them and these ‘preying’ Pastors demand monies from them before seeking God’s face for them. WHO TOLD YOU THAT GOD WILL NOT HEAR YOUR PRAYERS IF YOU PRAY ON YOUR OWN?? That needed to be shouted out 😜. Stop giving power to a man or woman who claims to have the anointing on their lives yet is sucking the life out of you.
When I joined ICGC, I experienced a 110% self-improvement on my life. Did I sow a seed for self-improvement? Nope. I took the wisdom from Dr. Otabil and applied it to my life. I never left a sermon without being enriched and without acting on his words. Of course I also prayed and asked God for discernment and ordering of my steps, shwer! Whatever weaknesses I had, I prayed about. I prayed about my fears and anxieties and got back God's peace in ways I couldn't imagine. There has been tragedies in my life this year which if not for prayer and faith I would be down in a pit of depression. That's a story for another day.
Personally, I don’t like to complicate my spiritual life. I read God’s Word on giving and tithing and ask for spiritual wisdom and understanding on the why and act accordingly based on my faith. Giving my tithes obediently has resulted in me receiving incredible and unimaginable favour in my life which makes me realise the power of God and how He does things which I cannot have a hand in so that I wouldn't boast in my own strength so that I give Him the glory.
Dear world, this is what God’s Word says on giving.
2 Corinthians 9:7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
Deuteronomy 16:17 Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God that he has given you.
There are many many verses on giving and if you believe in what it can do then your faith will move mountains for you. It’s really that simple. Like Bishop Okonkwo said this morning, giving exceeds logic. 2 Corinthians 9:6 Consider this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.
If you have self-esteem issues, timidity challenges, relationship issues and you are praying and sowing a seed for self-improvement don’t just leave it at that. Yes, the favour of God will work in your life to experience peace and confidence boosting but you also have to practically take steps such as reading leadership books, finding a mentor etc to help you overcome these challenges.
If you belong to any church and certain monetary calls are made out, if you think you are well able according to what you have been blessed with then give wai. Don't feel pressured to impress anyone by going to the front to be touched by the prophet. That's not wisdom.
Then Jesus said, "Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear." Mark 4:9