The Praise and Worship session just ended.
The congregation sat down.
The Assistant Pastor went on the stage and picked the microphone:
“It’s Testimony Time!” he thundered.
A round of applause filled the hall.
Assistant Pastor quietened down the congregation.
“6 people are going to give their testimonies this morning, Church. I have listened to them and I am awed by the Hand of God on Pastor. Let’s listen to the 1st testimony from Brother John!”
John walked up to the stage and took the microphone.
“Praise the Lord! I used to suffer from migraines. It was a constant problem for 5 years. I have been to many hospitals for help, all to no avail. The migraine didn’t stop or reduce. I have been to many Churches, I have been prayed for, hands have been laid on me, the migraine still remained…
But when I came in contact with this ministry and the Pastor prayed for me, the migraine disappeared! There is power in this ministry!”
The congregation gave another round of applause.
The Assistant Pastor called Sister Kate to the microphone for the 2nd testimony.
She came up with a baby in her hands.
“Praise the Lord! I was diagnosed with ovarian cyst 7 years ago. The doctor said I would not be able to have children. My husband and I have tried all we could medically: IVF and all that, I couldn’t get pregnant. We have been to Churches both within and outside the Country for prayers, We were not successful. But someone recommended this Church for us, said the Pastor here is a very powerful man of God. We came here a year ago to meet him. He laid his hand on my tummy and prayed for me and my husband.
I got pregnant 2 weeks later. This is my baby, he was born 3 months ago. Indeed, there is a very powerful Man of God in this house!”
Another round of applause rent the air.
The testimonies continued….
This scenario plays out in almost every Church in Nigeria.
People come to testify to the exploits of the very powerful Man of God in the House, the Pastor or General Overseer of the Ministry.
So he becomes a cult figure. People revere him and give him all the honour and glory his office deserves as the Oga at the Top.
But who indeed performs all these miracles?
Who indeed should the honour and glory be ascribed to?
Psalm 115:1 says, “Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory…”
Another version says, “Lord, you should receive the honor, not us. THE HONOR BELONGS TO YOU…”
But forever reason, it seems we have rewritten the scriptures to allow our “Very Powerful Men of God” to take the glory these days.
And our “Testimony Time” in our Churches seem to be an avenue to boost the ego of the Very Powerful Man of God.
It seems it’s an avenue to try convince skeptics the ministry is indeed founded on Christ.
I have asked several pastors this questions: “When anyone wants to give a testimony in your church, what is the process?”
“We will ask him to write it down for us to see if indeed it is a testimony to the power and glory of God (or whatever the protocol is in the church)”, they respond.
I would go further: “If for example, he says he had been suffering from an illness and he had been to several hospitals for medication and several men of God for prayers but the illness never left, but the moment you prayed for him, he got healed: would you allow such to be given as a testimony in your church?”
“Yes, of course! That is what we encourage- people coming to testify to God’s healing power!”
Then I’d ask: “What if he says he had been suffering from an illness and he had been to several hospitals for medication and several men of God for prayers -including YOU- but the illness never left, but the moment he went to the church down the street and the pastor of that church prayed for him, he got healed: would you allow that testimony in your church?”
The response is always same: NO!
I ask why?
The reply is rather amusing, if not tragic: “people would think the pastor of the other church is more powerful than I am!”
I’d then ask, “seriously, what power do YOU have?
They never respond to that!
All pastors would tell you they allow testimonies in their churches to show people the power of God and to glorify His Name. But when the testimony portrays them as “weak” and another pastor as “strong”, they never allow such to be shared on their pulpits.
So, who really are these testimonies glorifying?
I have had cause to talk to Church folks and pastors on this, I came to the conclusion that the Church folks don’t know any better.
When Pastors build their Churches on their personality, with time they become a cult figure. The Church members become HIS followers, not the Followers of Jesus. If anyone dares criticizes the Pastor, they go after him. They have become Voltron, Defender of the Pastor.
And unfortunately, our pastors know this, but they seem to enjoy it so they will not caution the flock.
In the Book of Isaiah, God said: “I am the LORD, that is my name: MY GLORY WILL I NOT GIVE TO ANOTHER…”
Imagine you are an author.
You write a book.
You get a publisher to publish it.
Then book then wins the National Book Award.
The organizers of the award invites the publisher to come collect the award. He goes there and takes all the merit, all the glory, all the honour.
How would you feel?
You would probably think, “Hey! The book is MINE! I WROTE IT! I should be the one collecting that award, not the publisher! He is just a vessel to carry the book to the people!”
Imagine the donkey that carried Jesus thinking, “Woah! These folks LOVE me! See how they are cheering me, laying their best clothes for me to walk on! See how they are shouting “Hosanna!” I am a BIG BOY! I never knew I was THIS popular! I am a Very Powerful Donkey of God!”
It’s not about you, dumb ass! It’s about the Person you carry, don’t ever get it twisted!
Our Pastors are like that donkey: you are simply in the limelight because of what you carry. When Jesus got off the donkey, it went back into oblivion.
Pastor, if Jesus gets off YOUR back you WILL go into oblivion!
It’s always about Him: ALL the glory MUST go to Him: No man on this planet should ascribe any glory to himself or allow people ascribe any to him.
There was a time the masses started hailing the disciples and glorifying them because of the miracles they were performing.
They STOPPED them! They told them, “we are ordinary men like you! (Acts 14: 8-15).
If/when people begin to give the glory to you, it is YOUR responsibility to stop them and teach them the right way: it is NOT about you, it is about HIM!
Psalm 115:1; “Not unto US, o Lord, not unto US, but unto YOUR NAME give glory…”
Isaiah 42:8; “I am the Lord, that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another…”
Let us be guided.