In the past few weeks, we’ve been watching a battle between a few leaders of large protestant denominations here in Brazil. The reason for this battle? Sadly, scandals involving money.
We have seen several scandals related to churches leaders in Brazil in the past years. A week or so ago, a TV news program reported that one of these leaders allegedly bought a gigantic farm, worth several million dollars, with money from the church. They also claimed that several temples of that denomination are behind in rent and the vast majority of the members are poor, in need of financial support.
A few days later, the leader of another denomination (who himself faced several similar accusations in the past) attacked this one, then another leader jumped into the battle too.
I usually avoid commenting on this sort of scandal. First and foremost, because I know that there are many honest people in those churches, who get a bad fame because of their leaders’ behavior. I also believe that there are many pastors there who truly love their flocks and would do anything for them. But they get treated as if they approved the way their leader handles the finances of the church.
But last Sunday, the preacher in my church quoted a few verses from the Bible where the apostle Paul explains about handling the offerings that the people give to God, and I’d like to share them with you:
What is more, he was chosen by the churches to accompany us as we carry the offering, which we administer in order to honor the Lord himself and to show our eagerness to help. We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal gift. For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man. (2 Corinthians 8:19-21)
Let’s check a few important points that Paul makes:
- The offerings belong to God, and the leaders only administer it. What a responsibility!
- Paul says that the leaders honors God in the way they administer the offerings. So leaders who are bad administrators not only end up showing that they don’t care enough about the people to help them, they also dishonor God. This is a serious issue!
- Paul wants to avoid any criticism. He doesn’t want to allow anyone to say anything negative about the way the offerings are being handled by them.
- Paul says that he is “taking pains to do what is right”, so it is not an easy task at all, not even for him! However, he knows the importance of what he is doing and that God will hold him accountable for it.
- Paul says that they are doing what is right not only in the eyes of the Lord, but also in the eyes of man. Note that he didn’t say in the eyes of the members of the church or in the eyes of christians, but in the eyes of man, in general. He means everyone! His administration of God’s offerings has to be impecable even for non-christians. In fact, it is a testimony to them.
Instead of criticizing or trying to create a polemic discussion, I just want to ask you to pray. This is the most important thing we can do. So now, dear reader, please join me in prayer for the leaders of the churches in Brazil:
- That God may open their eyes and they can see what they are doing wrong;
- That God may open their hearts, so they can love the people and care for them first and foremost, before they care for themselves;
- That they can overcome the temptation that money and power brings;
- That they can preach the true Gospel, according to God’s will, not their own will;
- That they can repent of their wrongdoings, get over them and become examples to everyone.
Feel free to share thoughts and/or your prayer in the comments section. Thank you!