Did you hear how much Nigeria's top men of God are worth?
*Outrage!!! God save us*
A blogger for the Forbes website posted it a couple of weeks ago. In that material, the said men of God were said to be worth $ 235 million.
The report, as it was posted, ranked them as follows: Bishop David Oyedepo of the Living Faith World Outreach Ministry, a.k.a Winners Chapel, ($150 million), Chris Oyakhilome of the Believers’ Love World Ministries, a.k.a Christ Embassy, worth $50 million, our own Temitope Joshua of the Synagogue Church Of All Nations, worth $15 million.
The rest are Matthew Ashimolowo of the Kingsway International Christian Centre (KICC), with an estimated wealth of $10 million and the last on list, Chris Okotie of the Household of God Church is said to be worth $10 million. Apparently, this Chris Okotie guy was mad at Forbes for ranking him last. According to him ,he was loaded more than had been quoted in that Forbes report.
I am driving at a subject that is most likely to bust the bubble of many. Yes, this is Ghana. Here, we claim God himself is one of us and I am reminded of the 1st Corinthians 16:22 command not to touch his anointed. But shouldn't we touch them even if they are ripping us off? Maybe we need a revised version of the bible.
In the midst of all these ‘blessings’ bestowed on only five of its pastors, Nigeria has majority of its 150 million people living in abject poverty, according to figures from its Central Bank.
It would really be unfair to conclude that these preachers have milked the sheepfold to get this fat. For example, I am aware that 'men of God' like David Oyedepo started their ministry in the early 80s and could have worked really hard to get this rich.
I was quite impressed when I saw him cooling off in one of his two private jets; he must be a really lucky man, enjoying the fruits of his toil here on earth contrary to what the holy book has predicted.
I am outraged at the rate at which the shepherd is growing fatter while the flock is wallowing in dire hunger and I'd be surprised if God himself is happy with the trend.
Here in Ghana, a lot of our people empty their wallets every day to contribute to the work of God that never is. The men in Nigeria's top 5 rich men of God have branches of their church here in Ghana.
The man who is third on that list, T.B Joshua, has an interestingly close tie with our President; a good reason why I think we should be concerned about their bank accounts.
Thousands of Ghanaians storm these churches in anticipation of a miraculous remedy to the woes they've often inflicted on themselves through their actions and inaction.
Miracles here, miracles there, miracles everywhere. Our obsessions with ridiculous miracles push us to dole out money that we badly need to these men of God. Our coins are a part of these huge empires for these supposed bearers of God's word.
As for our own men of God down here, the least said about them, the better. They inflict on us worrying stories of rape and money extortion (may we not forget the cases of Vaglas Kanco and Daniel Obinim) after they have siphoned resources from the poor in their congregations.
Trouble is, not even they themselves are able to decipher the sub-standard preachers from those who have really been called to the ministry.
What are we supposed to do as unsuspecting believers of the word? If bishops are sleeping with the wives of their colleague pastors, how safe is my own wife as an ordinary church goer?
We need to search for a divine way to handle these preachers we are told not to touch. Maybe a word of prayer is what we need. Shall we pray?