T.B. Joshua, perhaps Nigeria’s most unconventional cleric, posted a heart-warming story on his official Facebook Page about an elderly lady who came to his church with an unusual gift.
A retired teacher named Caroline Orugude had come to The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations (SCOAN) in Lagos, Nigeria to share a curious testimony.
After retiring from her job in June, 2012, Caroline was forced to wait almost two years for the gratuity that she was supposed to receive. “There was nothing much we could do except pray because the pension system is so unreliable,” she narrated to the congregation.
After visiting various churches for prayer without any visible change, she was introduced to Emmanuel TV, the popular Christian television station broadcasting the activities at The SCOAN, and began praying along with T.B. Joshua.
Within two weeks, she received a call from the treasury, asking her to go to Abuja to collect her pension money. “I decided that when I got the money, I would come to The SCOAN to appreciate the Lord,” she joyfully said. “I am here with the small sum of 500,000 naira, to give to the man of God and The SCOAN, as my tithe.”
It was an unexpected declaration but the response of Joshua was equally surprising as he insisted he could not collect the gift.
“Yes, it is written in the Bible that we should pay tithe but how can we collect tithe from widows and the aged who are supposed to be under our care,” he questioned the congregation.
“Remember, she has stopped working. She needs our care for the rest of her life. These are the women we should be feeding and taking care of. She is our mother; she is my mother too.”
The cleric, who is well known for his philanthropic gestures, then announced that instead of taking Mrs. Orugude’s tithe, he would support her with an additional 500,000 naira.
“When God calls a man or woman, what they will eat, what they will use and everything they need for their journey will be provided abundantly by God,” T.B. Joshua then explained, noting the attributes of genuine ministers of God.
“When a minister begins to depend on tithes, you know he is not a minister of God,” he added. “This is a message to ministers of God all over the world. When we collect tithes, we should know those whom we collect them from. Don’t force anybody – it is between them and God. Let us worship the Giver of money, not money,” he concluded.
The post on Joshua’s Facebook page, followed by 1.5 million people, ended with a poignant question. “Where are your elderly? Care for them and you shall reach old age.”
A video recently surfaced of Joshua refusing a $1,000 offering from a Swiss lady who received healing during his crusade in Colombia. Several weeks ago, he spoke scathingly of ‘money-hungry’ pastors, insisting that ministers of God should not force members to give offerings or tithes as it was a thing of the heart.
Ihechukwu Njoku – freelance Nigerian journalist currently in Lagos, Nigeria