Pastoring, the most lucrative hobby of our times!

By Thandekile Moyo

I have had a lot of hobbies in my life. Some, like writing have stuck with me throughout my life. Some were fleeting and others I slump in and out of at will.

I like reading, especially novels, but of late I have developed an interest in reading for knowledge.

I love swimming, I was in my junior school swimming team but there must have been some corruption involved or desperation of some sort on the coach’s side because I cannot dive.

I would just hop into the pool and chase others who would have dived in as elegantly and as swiftly as you can imagine.

It, therefore, has always been a mystery to me how I landed up in the team.

I was also in the school choir, which may come as a shock to those who have heard me sing because my voice not only leaves a lot to be desired, it is horrible!

That was another suspicious appointment, which leaves me questioning the judgment of my choir master, Dennis Sinyolo who is, up to today, my favourite teacher of all time.

A hobby is defined as an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure. I believe the luckiest people in life are those whose hobbies go on to become their jobs, their income earners and their way of life.

These are our painters, actors, us writers and golfers, among others.

I have recently come to the conclusion that just like tennis, public speaking and darts, pastoring for most people is just a hobby, a game and a job/business.

The most successful get rich quick scheme of our time is ministering as we see most people who join the profession rising “overnight” from rags to riches.

Christianity is defined as the religion based on the person and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, or its beliefs and practices.

A Christian is therefore, a person who has received Christian baptism or is a believer in Jesus Christ and his teachings.

I read on the Christian Bible reference site that the values taught in the Bible are often the opposite of worldly values: kindness and respect for all people instead of power; humility instead of status; honesty and generosity instead of wealth; self-control instead of self-indulgence; forgiveness instead of revenge.

There are Ten Commandments, which are the fundamental laws of Christians – which tell them how they should live.

They were given to Christians by their God and they are: “You shall have no other Gods but me.

You shall not make for yourself any idol, nor bow down to it or worship it.

“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God. You shall remember and keep the Sabbath day holy. Respect your father and mother. You must not commit murder. You must not commit adultery.

“You must not steal. You must not give false evidence against your neighbour. You must not be envious of your neighbour’s goods.

“You shall not be envious of his house nor his wife, nor anything that belongs to your neighbour.”

A true Christian abides by these laws religiously and they become his way of life.

Pastors all over seem to be exempted from following these commandments. Their ‘disciples’ will either totally disbelieve the accusations or justify their church leaders’ behaviours.

It is quite amusing and really sad, the rate at which most pastors fornicate and commit adultery.

The sex scandals among church leaders are just as juicy as they are shocking. The hypocrisy of how someone can stand on the pulpit one Sunday after another castigating people and making people feel guilty for things he also practices behind closed doors upsets me.

In Zimbabwe, we have the “highly esteemed” Gumbura in jail for rape and various sex crimes.

This is a man who was, and could still be, respected and worshipped by many. Confessions and revelations show that he was a sex crazed predator who pried on helpless and not so helpless women in his church.

Without a doubt, this man of God was phony.

These God-fearing women would line up, in their numbers, day after day to be “raped” by this sex addict. This pastor totally shattered the adultery commandment.

The alleged numerous affairs of the married prophet, Walter Magaya of the PHD ministries, have flooded our airwaves over the past few months but his followers steadfastly stand by him.

This sympathizing of the church with their mischievous leaders shows me clearly that to be a pastor, you do not necessarily have to be a “Christian”.

This is the reason why in Southern Africa and most Black Christian communities worldwide, the churches sprouting all over are headed by the most dubious of characters.

All of a sudden, so many find themselves with the “calling” to lead people to the kingdom of God.

All one needs to pull off this scam is a charming character, a sneaky and calculating nature, good public speaking skills, and a smooth tongue.

In this era of economic challenges, these crooks feed gullible individuals the prosperity gospel, which basically tells them the more you give to the pastor, the more you will receive.

The Bible says “you reap what you sow” and these charlatans interpret it to my poor brothers and sisters to mean that the solution to their financial problems will come quickly if they sow a seed in the church.

They are told that if you give a US$100, for example, that money will be given back to you tenfold by a happy God.

I have seen unhappily married women “seed” their cars to pastors and pray God blesses them with showers of love from the husband.

It breaks my heart to see my poor relatives faithfully give the little that they are given, to some cunning little pastor who makes them believe if they give him part of the money, God will send them more.

I cannot comprehend why it makes sense to people, to walk long distances to church and empty their pockets into the coffers of a pastor who drives the latest cars and lives in the plushest suburbs, only for them to go back to their ‘humble’ homes, claiming to have joy and hope in their hearts!

I cannot help but marvel at the genius of getting someone to happily give you all they have and keep coming to give you more, week after week, year in and year out!

Churches have become pyramid schemes in disguise. A pyramid scheme is a business mode that recruits members and promises them that if they convince more people to give money to the scheme, they will get paid their money, multiplied.

For example, if you put US$100 into a pyramid scheme and get four others to do the same you are supposed to get US$400 in return.

There is no supplying of investments or selling of products or services, your money just grows. No taxes are paid.  Most members are unable to profit; as such, pyramid schemes are unsustainable and often illegal.

Just like in pyramid schemes, pastors promise people a return on money that is not invested anywhere and are not capitalising any business.

They make people believe that their money will miraculously grow and as others give up and leave, new recruits are conned into the scheme so it goes on for years.

Only the lazy, the greedy, the intellectually challenged, the gullible, the naïve and the desperate can fall prey to pyramid schemes and con pastors. Unfortunately the majority of people are in that bracket.

A lazy person would rather seed to a pastor than buy tomatoes for resale; a greedy one is enticed by the promise of huge payouts; the intellectually challenged has no mental capacity not to believe the promise; the gullible will believe anything; the naïve trust everybody and the desperate, well, are desperate.

Until we teach our children to think critically, to work hard for their money, to live within their means and to have a firm position on matters of belief, religion and culture, we shall forever breed generations that are open to infiltration, colonisation and slavery.

These three are the bane of our development as the black race.

March 2017
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