WHY MUST PREACHERS COLLECT 'BROWN ENVELOPE'?
There is a practice among some preachers today which is contrary to the will of God. And that is the collection of honorarium by guest ministers. It is an open secret that when ministers are invited to preach in churches other than theirs, they collect honorarium at the end of the message. These ministers are worse than policemen at chop points as they often harass their host ministers until they are 'settled'. I call them 'brown envelope' preachers because after preaching a message, they wait to be paid and when they are not paid, they start asking: 'Where is my envelope?'
To say that these ministers are a disgrace to the Lord Jesus Christ is to put it mildly. There is no biblical provision for the collection of honorarium by ministers. In fact, in Matthew 10: 8, the Lord admonishes ministers: 'Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give'. From this verse of the scripture, it is obvious that collection of honorarium by ministers is an act of disobedience to the commandment of the Lord and it is tantamount to commercialising the gospel which is antithetical to the great commission the Lord Jesus Christ has given to us. Rather than win souls for Christ, these ministers are winning naira for their pockets.
What reward do they expect from God after collecting money for the service they render to God? Little wonder then that most of them are in ministry for donkey years struggling, without anything to show for it. They claim they are working for God, yet they are as poor as the proverbial church rat. If indeed you are working for God, you cannot afford to depend on church members for your upkeep, pestering their lives with demand for one thing or the other. In 1 Thessalonians 5:24, the Bible says: 'Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it'.
The meaning of the above verse is that the Lord who has called you into ministry (if only He actually called you), will supply all your needs at the right time (Philippians 4:19) and will deal with whatever problems staring you in the face. If God calls you into ministry, you are to depend on Him absolutely for the supply of all your needs and those of your family. Since church members did not call into ministry, stop collecting honorarium for preaching in any church.
There are serious dangers inherent in commercialising the gospel. According to the late Kenneth Hagin in his book, He Gave Gifts Unto Men, there was a prophet in the United States of America who started well in ministry, but he allowed the love of money to destroy him. He was warned against it but he did not take heed to the warning and he died prematurely. It is dangerous to commercialise the anointing of God upon your life as a minister.
The essence of the anointing is for the church of God to be edified.
A pastor with a popular church in Lagos visited me sometime ago and told how a guest minister created a scene in his church at Ejigbo, a Lagos suburb. According to him, the minister was invited to help raise fund and at the end of the day when he was given N10, 000 for his efforts, he rejected it, saying that he raised N300, 000 and that he was entitled to N30, 000. What kind of reward can such a minister receive from God when he has already been paid for the service he claimed he had rendered to God?
This is one of the reasons most of them are very poor.
I daresay that these ministers are either not called by God or they are no longer in the faith. How else will one explain a situation where a minister of God will be perpetrating evil and nothing is restraining him/her from doing it? Investigation revealed that some people go to Bible colleges on account of joblessness and on graduation, set up churches where they deceive gullible worshippers. Attending a Bible college does not mean that God has called one into ministry.
And being called into ministry does not also mean setting up a church. If your tummy calls you into ministry, obviously you cannot but commit such atrocities. If you are not called to set up a church and you do so, you will be leading a congregation of the 'dead'. You are not likely to succeed.
Tread the path of obedience to the word of God this year if you don't want to incur the wrath of God.
Pastor Wilfred O. Jibril