“I can’t hear you loud and clear: Hello somebody!!!”
“Are you happy today?”
“Okay, if you’re truly happy let me hear you shout a roof-blowing ‘Halleluiah!’”
“Wonderful! As you have done that, your life will never remain the same in Jesus Name!”
“I can’t hear you.”
“You know what? I’ve noticed that whenever I say that prayer it’s only those people in the middle and back rows that usually respond the way I expect. Those of you in the front row don’t ever answer, and I know the reason. You are the ‘big’ men and women in the society so you will rather prefer your life to remain the way it is right now. You’re already living a life of affluence; so why shouldn’t it remain the same?”
“For those of you in the middle and back rows, I repeat: your life will never remain the same again!!!”
“Gloooory be to God.”
“First, I have to thank all the visitors in our midst; I thank all of you who are worshipping in our church for the first time today. I say a very good ‘Welcome’ to you all.”
“Thank you, Pastor.”
“Since you are joining us for the first time, I’m not sure if you would continue to worship with us here in future. Some of you have travelled down here from far distances. You might have been invited here by your friends, colleagues, family members, wives, husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends, or even concubines. Who knows?”
“Oh yes! As a Man of God, I see different things everyday so I know what I’m saying. I can bet that some of you are here with another man’s wife, or another man’s husband. But it doesn’t matter who brought you here to this crusade, anyway. All I’m saying to you all is: ‘Welcome to the house of the Lord.”
“Thank you, Sir!
“Praise ye the Lord”
“Today, my sermon is going to be quite hilarious. In it, I will be touching on various aspects of life. As I proceed, just pick yours and devour it. To some of you, my message would be sweet. To others, it would be bitter and difficult to swallow. But I pray that wisdom will interpret whatever I say to you… Hello somebody!”
“Hope we are not fighting yet.”
“No, Pastor. Fire on, Sir.”
“Good. Let somebody open the Holy Bible to the book of Isaiah, Chapter 3. I will like us to read verse 12. Are you there already?”
“Okay. Let’s read together: One, two, three, go!”
- “As for My people, children are their oppressors, And women rule over them. O My people! Those who lead you cause you to err, And destroy the way of your paths.”
“Praise ye the Lord”
“I want you to underline the sentence that starts with ‘O My people…’ I have already done so in my bible here. That’s the portion I want to use for the next few minutes of my sermon. Have you done that?”
“Correct. I want you to think deeply. Who are the people leading you today? Your president is leading you. Your governors are leading you. Your senators and honourables are leading you. Your pastors, prophets, GOs, bishops, priests, bosses, husbands and …well, wives… are all leading you. But what does the bible tell us here? It says they ‘cause you to err and destroy the way of your paths.’ Praise God somebody.”
“To err means to ‘make mistake’ or to ‘go wrong.’ As a Man of God myself, I want to point your attention to some ways through which my other colleagues make you go wrong. But before I do that, let me quickly say that the word ‘lead’ in this bible passage can be extended to some other sets of people. I mean those who praise you: Those who say ‘baba ke’ or ‘mama ke’ to you as a big man or woman. They lead you astray with their flattering mouths. They are the sycophants of this world!
“If you have a Yoruba bible there, open to that same book of Isaiah 3:12 and read. It says:
- “Niti awon eniyan mi awon omode ni aninilara won, awon obirin si njoba won, A! enia mi, awon tin ye o si mu o sina, nwon sin pa ipa-ona re run.”
“The catch phrase here is, awon tin ye o si – those who are praising you – the toadies around you! Those are the ones leading you astray. They include your spiritual leaders, your relatives, your subordinates, your friends, and other people who may be receiving one favour or the other from you. They may never be honest with you.
“In fact, I have a declaration to make right now.”
“What’s that, Sir?”
“As from now on, I don’t want anyone of you to call me ‘Pastor’ again. I am stripping myself of the title.”
“But why, Sir?”
“It’s because of what some other pastors do, of course! Your pastors and prophets lead you astray. They see the truth, but keep quiet. They fail to guide you aright. But when you die as a sinner, they praise you to high heavens at your burial service. They say you have gone home to rest in the bosom of the Lord. Who told them that?
“They know all the funeral songs in the Hymn books off head. They know how to bury sinners like you. I don’t; so I shouldn’t bear the title ‘pastor’ again!
“When your sinful body is taken to the fresh grave just dug for you, they know exactly what to preach – they shower you with unmerited accolades! As your body is lowered down there, they deceitfully proclaim, ‘Eeru fun eeru, erupe fun erupe, eruku fun eruku – dust for dust, ashes for ashes…’ They say all those when they know for sure that there aren’t ashes or dusts anywhere close by. Solid rocks, soil and ogulutu (hard sand) have been excavated for your new bedroom – your grave.
“But whatever the pastor may be saying at your graveyard, your wife; children; family members; subordinates; and colleagues know better. They know all your atrocities. They know you were not as good as the pastor paints. When it therefore comes to the time for them to throw the ritual ‘ashes for ashes and dusts for dusts’ on you, they look around for the biggest stones and ogulutu and hit them hard on your wicked face inside that hole – ‘gbooaaahh.’ Who are you to complain of maltreatment? It’s payback time; you are receiving baptism of stones from your enemies. ”
“Pastor, make you tell them ooo…make them hear well, well.”
“I say don’t call me ‘pastor’ anymore. I don’t like what pastors and prophets do.
“You keep having bad dreams and your pastor prays for you. The dreams then stop coming. You feel relieved – no more bad dreams, no more nightmares. You become relaxed. Ah, you have entered a serious bondage through your pastor’s prayers!”
“You are asking me ‘How?’ Read your bible very well. Dreaming is one of the most lucrative businesses anyone can have. Have you forgotten that it was through the ‘dream business’ that Joseph became the strong man of Egypt? And how would you be able to pray like a true Christian if you are too relaxed?
“When your pastor ‘kills’ your dream talent for you, he actually leads you astray. He helps you to open doors for the devil to deal with you seriously. No more dreams; no more nightmares; no more active prayer life, so the witches and wizards can easily penetrate your life. You are in a hot soup.”
“I repeat; I’m not a ‘pastor’ anymore! Don’t you go to the pastor when you want to get married? He prays for you over the new relationship. He assures you that the lady is good for you. She enters your house and truly remains a great wife. You then become too relaxed. You trust her with your body, soul and spirit.
“But one day, she deals with you horribly and you become aghast! You begin to ask yourself: ‘What came over me that made me marry this Jezebel? Why did I relax so much? How come my prophet didn’t say she’s a devil?’
“Keep quiet my friend. Aren’t you lucky to have a viper for a wife? Doesn’t your bible tell you that Delilah was so nice to Samson? Do you think she would have been able to subdue Samson if she had been hostile? Of course, you know that Samson wouldn’t have relaxed that much if Delilah had been a witch.
“I congratulate you and other men whose wives are witches. Those are the kinds of women that you need in your houses. They keep you awake at night. They force you to pray like real men.
“If your wife is too nice, your prayer life would be too weak. She would mislead you easily, and you won’t know when she would strike you big time!”
“Yes ooo! And talking about women, I think you must just be good to your woman while you’re still alive. Won’t you ask me why?”
“You see, it is better to enjoy your money with your wife than for her to enjoy everything alone after your death. Look at it this way: You refused to take care of her so she weeps profusely like any other widow at your death. The following week, she walks to your employer to collect your ‘death benefits.’ She becomes an instant multi-millionaire as maggots begin to feed on your decaying body in the grave. Such is life.
“Am I upsetting someone?”
“No, pastor! Go on, we are following you, Sir!”
“Please stop calling me a ‘pastor?’ Is it not your pastors and prophets that preach as if life must be a bed of roses for every Christian? Don’t they talk as if you don’t have to do any work to become a billionaire? Don’t they preach prosperity to you every day? When certain things don’t go your way, you begin to blame God as if you must be immune from the vicissitudes of life. Can you see how those who lead you are misleading you? Here is what a certain man said:
‘From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one.
Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned;
three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep;
in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers,
in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles,
in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea,
in perils among false brethren;
in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often,
in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness —
besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.
Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?
If I must boast, I will boast in the things which concern my infirmity.’
“Hope you know the person that uttered those words. That was Apostle Paul – a whole Apostle for that matter! Check 2nd Corinthians 11: 24 – 30 in your bible. Can any pastor or prophet be holier than Paul? My dear people, beware of false prophets.
“Is someone still listening?”
“Yes, we are! Keep preaching, Sir.”
“Okay. For those of you who deceive your leaders; I pity you.”
“No, Sir! It is the leaders that actually deceive the followers.”
“E joo, I know what I’m saying! Many of you deceive your pastors. In fact, you mislead them.”
“Thank you for asking. Why would you pack N10 and N5 notes inside an envelope, seal it up, and dance to the church altar like kokoro when a call is made for tithes? Everyone thinks you are the largest ‘tither.’ Your pastor also begins to salivate over the bulky envelope in your hand. He singles you out for a special prayer. But you are a deceiver; you’ve misled him. That envelope contains only N1,000!”
“I de talk lie?”
“No, Sir; na true talk ooo.”
“Our rich men and women should be very careful. I’m addressing those of you occupying the front rows of this assembly. You are the powerful people in the society, but remember that multitudes of people are out there suffering. Don’t live your life as if you will never die. Death will surely say ‘stop’ to everyone one day.
“I can see how silent you have all become. Rich men don’t ever want to die. But it is my duty to tell you the truth. Some of you are so stingy and callous that you even extend your bad attitudes to your wives and children at home.
“It reminds me of a certain rich man. The man was so terrible that he would never allow anyone to touch his belongings; most especially his cars. If anyone should wander off to where he packed his cars, you would hear him shout, ‘Ma doti moto ye o – don’t stain that car ooo.’
“But when he died, his children packed his ‘dead body’ inside the booth of his best limousine and dumped him in the mortuary. They took the car to the market to buy pepper, tomatoes, wine, meat, and other things for his burial party. They conveyed everything home in his limo! Yes, his beloved limo.
“The ‘boys’ got drunk during their father’s burial party, they slept off inside the limousine; excreted, and vomited inside there. The following morning, they washed off the car close to the man’s grave in front of his house. The dirty water, the guys excreta and vomits all flowed across their father’s grave. But he was dead; he couldn’t protest!”
“Hmm, pastor this is serious ooo.”
“I’ve told you; I’m no longer a pastor.”
“So what should we call you, Sir?
“Call me ‘The Catechist’”
“Yes o. I catechize… see my bible!”