THE issue of sacrifices in church has remained a contentious issue in modern day worship and recently, the United Family International Church came under criticism for calling for a crossover sacrifice of $77, $770, $7700 or $77 000 according to one’s ability.
People should know that it has to be noted that neither the Prophet of God, Emmanuel Makandiwa or UFIC invented the principle of sacrificing. This is a principle that is as old as the earth itself. It is a principle originating from God Himself and practised by the patriarchs of the Biblical times from Abel to Noah to Abraham to Isaac, Jacob through to the New Testament church.
Any person that believes in the Bible should never find it difficult to understand. Jesus Himself was God the Father’s sacrifice. God sacrificed one Christ in order to harvest many Christians.
I don’t want to believe that anybody who calls themselves a Christian can question the principle. In the book of Mark 12 from verse 41, our Lord Jesus Himself sat ‘over against the treasury’ (the offering basket) during the time of giving to see how the congregation gave so that He could use that as a lesson on how to give well.
If the issue of making financial sacrifices was wrong, Jesus would have said so to His disciples and gone on to stop the poor widow who gave two mites (other versions say a penny), something He goes on to describe as ‘all that she had to live on,’ (meaning she had nothing left to live on. And Jesus allowed that?)
Jesus Himself allowed the church to ‘take money from the poor’ as some would say today. Maybe some would disagree with the issue of stating particular figures, but since when has God become dumb?
He is the same God that demands 10 percent of our every income. The same God that demanded a son from Abraham, the same God that demanded every spoil taken from the capture of Jericho.
What would the critics of offerings say of the Apostle Peter who killed Ananias and his wife Sapphira because they kept back part of their money from the sacrifice? It makes very interesting reading to note that they had sold land and given part of the proceeds to the church, which would have been tens of thousands of United States dollars by today’s standards (probably more than $77,000) but for the portion that they held back, Peter curses both of them to death and God allows it to happen (lest we say Peter was used of the devil to do so. God Himself allowed a whole couple to die for holding back part of their money!)
The church has, since time immemorial, had a ‘Look Inside Policy’ where it has always been funded by its membership and that pleases God, who undertakes to reward such funders.
It has to be made very clear that the UFIC is not the only church that takes offerings and sacrifices and the fact that it is now Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa involved should not make it any more sinister than it is.
Every church should accept offerings and sacrifices, just like football clubs and political parties accept donations (or subscriptions or membership fees or whatever vocabulary they choose to use) from their membership for their running costs.
It would be very unfair to criticise the eight-year-old church that has achieved what most century plus old churches have failed to achieve in transforming communities, a clear sign that the man and woman of God believe in financial prudence and uphold it in the strictest terms.
The projects that the church has undertaken in various communities in the few years of its existence should be the envy of many-a-critic. To the critics that may not be born again, just a reminder that most of them are taking herds of cattle (and even more scary sacrifices) to some strange places in the deep of the night, in the name of sacrificing for prosperity (or kutanda mamhepo) because that is what they have chosen to believe. Just because they do it in the blackest of times and no one is there to see does not mean we all agree with their practice.
Even if we were to criticise them, they would never stop; the same way we will not stop accepting sacrifices and offerings because we have been criticised.
In fact, we await a few good Samaritans who are willing to sacrifice $7 million for the cause of the expansion of the Kingdom in 2017.