FROM THE PREACHER'S LENSES
|Wednesday, October 26, 2022|
n the book of St Matt. 9 vs 34-36 we read that "The Lord had been preaching the gospel all through the towns and villages and He noted that the people were suffering and He had compassion for them. Jesus was full of pity for them. He referred to them as like sheep without a Shepherd. (NLT),
37 Then saith He unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few;
38 Pray ye therefore, the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth laborers into His harvest.
So the topic for my sermon today is "Prayer for Faithful Laborers in God's Yard"
Let us pray.
Prayer for Faithful Laborers in God's Yard.
The state of Israel was constituted by 12 families. Till the time of our Lord, a whole family out of the 12, the family of Levi was dedicated to be the shepherds for the other 11 families.
One of the children of Levi is named Aaron. God chose Aaron and Aaron's children to be Pastors and the brothers of Aaron with their children to be assistant Pastors.
They were supposed to provide spiritual guide for the other 11 families. They were the custodians of the rules for worship. They were to protect the rest of the families from spiritual harm in the same way a shepherd will protect his sheep.
With this large number of Pastors and assistant Pastors, What must have informed the Lord's request for a prayer for laborers into his harvest? What were the Levites?
Other than the Levite Pastors, were the Pharisees and the Scribes; self-appointed Pastors. So how could laborers have been few?
The implication of the Lord's prayer is that the Priests and their assistants were not doing the job, which they were commissioned to do, otherwise the people would not have been suffering.
This certainly is an indictment on those shepherds. Jesus found them wanting in their assigned duties, so He asked the disciples to pray for other shepherds.
Could these Levite Pastors, who were supposed to help smoothen the journey of the people to heaven have been the people's problem?
This might be
The Priests ate all the meat of sacrifices of the people; the assistant Priests i.e other Levites took all their tithes of farm produce and animals in what is popularly joked with as "The Priests get fatter while the Church gets leaner" but cared less about the needs of the people.
Jesus was deeply disturbed by the indifference of the Priests, to the need of the people. They would protect "the law" to the neglect of mercy and human need. (Mk 3:5).
He called them hypocrites, snakes! sons of vipers and He pronounced woe on them (Matt. 23 vs 25,33)
I see this scenario playing itself today in Nigeria.
We have uncountable number of Churches and Mosques. All streets and corners are full of Churches with uncountable numbers of Pastors. Any Muslim does not believe he has completed his house until he has erected a Mosque inside.
Yet there is so much suffering in the land.
Is it that the Pastors and Imams these days, in Nigeria do not know that they are charged with the responsibility to shape the country and make it habitable?
Except for the Church in America, blacks however old will have continued to stand up for the white inside the bus, however young the white is.
Were Christ to be physically present in Nigeria today, He certainly will indict us Nigerian Pastors and Imams for folding our arms, seeing the suffering of the people.
We have failed God in the discharge of our duties.
We seem to value our religious obligations than to team up with ourselves to wage war on the suffering of the people. Yet these sufferings is making them to backslide and they may end up in hell.
Those who govern us are corrupt, greedy, selfish, they lack commitment and pride for the nation. We, the governed are ungodly and unrighteous in all our endeavors. All resulting in the poverty, which majority of citizens are experiencing.
Unfortunately, Pastors and Imams are not doing much to address these plaques. Only a few utilize the power of the pulpit to shape the country.
In fact, what concerns many Pastors and Imams is how to be known by those in power.
Those who are destroying our economy on daily basis have found asylum in certain Churches and Mosques and the Priests of those religious houses look elsewhere because of their donations and gifts. In fact it is as if their sermons encourage their stealing because all they hear is that it is their right to be rich.
Religious houses harbor the wicked men of Custom and Policemen and all others in Uniform, other Revenue Officers and corrupt Civil Servants and rather than warn them of the consequences of their evil, we preach prosperity to them; we tell them it is well with them when in reality they are on their way to hell.
Priests do not confront those in the congregations who are making wealth through dishonest means in order that they do not lose them and their donation to other congregations.
With the present level of suffering in Nigeria, I would expect that the umbrella of Churches' and Mosques' organizations will seek the face of God to finding out the root cause of the problem and tackle it squarely. Unfortunately, that is not their concern. Their priority is to build House of Worships, which will out-class all others.
Sadly, those in government who they accuse of stealing State fund is the same they invite to launch the building fund.
What a height of hypocrisy. Which is important, fancy house of worship or the souls of men who gather to worship?
I thought the umbrella of Church and Islamic organizations will recognize that poverty can make people to backslide, thereby lose heaven. I thought they will have known that ungodliness has caused our general difficulty. It is quite unfortunate that rather than encouraging pulpits to emphasize godliness, she gets it all wrong, busy pursuing subjects that do not portray us as someone serious in the battle against corruption. We contest issues that portray us as people who also want to have our own share of the national cake.
Other than these, many clerics seek attention of those in power. Clerics have overwhelmed those in power with all kinds of request for help. Can't they think? Don't they know better? Are those in power not on salaries? Does it not amount to selfishness, greed, unfairness and corruption when they seek undue financial favor from those in government?
What is the implication of their demands from those in power other than telling them to steal from the commonwealth for them?
Are they putting other citizens and in fact their congregations into consideration? Because what they are simply telling those in power is that they should take the shares of others and give it to them.
So when the Religious Leaders are so corrupt, when we are not prepared to discipline ourselves to godliness and we sell our congregations for our comfort, those who we are supposed to lead to heaven, what gut do we have to address the government on the issue of corruption? And this is why our onetime President could without fear boldly say "CAN my foot" He knows that we may behave worse, should we be opportune to be in their position.
Who says that acquiring fleets of aircrafts by Religious leaders, interprets to a successive ministry? Who says that having riders at front and at back interprets to a successive ministry? Only heavens will tell.
Nigeria as of today is seen as a highly religious nation in crises of moral decadence. The damages done by the Prosperity Churches to our moral fabrics are not small. People attend houses of worship not for the purpose of genuine worship but for what they hope to gain; So these prosperity Churches seem to be presiding over candidates of hell and the Shepherds are looking elsewhere as long as tithes and other gifts pour in for them and they are comfortable.
Many Shepherds no doubt preach salvation, they lead people to the Cross but do nothing on the environment such that it can sustain their spiritual growth. Some even think it is not their business.
Such Priests should go and study their Bible and learn from the Prophets how they shaped their world at their different times; name them; Samuel, Nathan, Gad Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Jeremiah, John the Baptist. They did the job, which they were called. They put their lives at risk most of the time so that their world can be free of oppression from the wicked rulers. They were inspired to know that if the people suffer hardship, they will dip their hands into sin and miss heaven.
In Christ's famous sermon on the mount, in vs 13 & 14, Chapter 5 of St. Matt. Jesus called us, His followers; salt and light of the world. Salt has two primary functions among others. It sweetens and flavors our food. It is also a preservative. It preserves items from decay including the human body.
So how has Nigeria become so inhabitable? How has Nigeria decayed so much? Where are those who Christ placed in the position to prevent all these?
The situation is just like a farmer who plants a farm, if he wants good harvest, he must tend the farm i.e. must weed the farm from time to time in order to provide the crops, an enabling environment to thrive.
Same thing with the Fulani cattle rearers, they always carry a staff and a rod. The staff is to give direction to the cattle and sheep, while the rod is to wade off or combat anything that may want to attack their cattle and sheep.
How to stem poverty should be the concern of anyone who calls Himself a shepherd because poverty can make anybody to backslide, to dip his hands in sins, which ordinarily he/she would not have done and lose the goal of heaven.
To smooth the journey of the faithful to heaven is the responsibility of us Pastors and Imams.
The salvation brought by Jesus is total. It is for the soul, body and spirit. Just as He cared for the soul, He knows that the body must be nourished to help the soul and spirit to grow. And that is why the true followers of Christ continue to do what He started, liberating people from all kinds of oppression.
We are all guilty of our poverty. Those who rule us mismanage our wealth; We citizens are ungodly.
The word of God is our weapon. If all Pastors and Imams utilize well, the power of the pulpit in all sincerity and not for our personal gain but encourage citizens to be godly in all our ways, we shall in a short time have a country we can be proud of.
The time is up for Nigerian Priests on both sides of the isles to deny ourselves of what may bring personal comfort to us and connive against all things that may serve as obstacles, which may prevent the congregation from entering heaven.
Let us pray. Father, I pray that these words will prosper all those concerned and do what is right in Jesus name.