Rich Pastor, Poor Pastor?
I've heard of young pastor. I've heard of lady pastor. Heck, I've even heard of gay pastor. But rich pastor??? Now, that is something to think about.
Recently, in the US, a church bought its pastor a $3.6 million mansion. Of course, the mansion belongs to the church, not the pastor, but being pastor of a big church, like being CEO of a company, one is accorded many perks including an opulent house, fancy cars, an expense account. Strange isn't it? In the olden days, pastors and church-workers lead a simple lifestyle. The church provides them with food, accommodation, transport and a meager salary. They are content with their simple lives as they serve God to build treasures in heaven. That's why we have the idiom "poor as a church mouse" - because church mice are traditionally poor.
Nowadays, however, church mice are not poor anymore. As the church-going population grows, more and more people give a portion of their income as offering to the church. Seeing that they have a captive market, the church mice also learned to write 'church' books, record 'church' music, make 'church' TV programs. That would generate more money, attract more people to their church, and even more people will offer money to the church and so on. The rewards just keep compounding! These days, the church mice can afford the best cheese, the best cars and the biggest mansions. They say it is God's blessing, but really, it is just simple economics.
The question is, "Is there anything wrong with pastors being rich?" Since they say that they believe everything in the Bible, let's see what the Bible says. In Matthew chapter 19:
16Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?"
17"Why do you ask me about what is good?" Jesus replied. "There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments."
18"Which ones?" the man inquired.
Jesus replied, " 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, 19honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as yourself."
20"All these I have kept," the young man said. "What do I still lack?"
21Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
22When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
So that is what Jesus said. Jesus, mind you. The Son of God, not some lesser prophet from the Old Testament! The lumbering camel will have an easier time passing through the eye of a needle that the rich pastor entering Heaven.
Anyway, their wealth is their private property. It really isn't any of my business. In fact, I'd recommend that young people seeking a career path should seriously consider going into ministry. Remember, in church, you have a captive audience who'll buy anything you sell. And, they'll feel guilty if they didn't give you 10% of their income each month! Theoretically, it doesn't even matter whether you believe in Christ or not. You just have to say the right words, do the right actions, fake it long enough and not get caught. Then you can enjoy all the financial rewards from the church.
My point, though, is that Christians are guilty of picking and choosing which Bible verses to follow and which to ignore. Done this way, you can simply justify anything, including killing another human being. Your religion then becomes, not what God says, but what you say.