Have you ever wondered how wealthy the church really is? Have you ever wondered how much treasures can be found in the church? Today, we read about top richest pastors, and their many exploits, including their immense amassement of wealth and affluent lifestyles. Of course their wealth cannot be valued outside the financial contributions of their members. And this include those who give cheerfully and those that were coerced into giving their meager resources.
What are the treasures of the church?
Lawrence was a deacon serving in Rome in the third century when a wave of persecution broke out. When Pope Sixtus and others were killed Lawrence knew it was only a matter of time before they came for him. As keeper of the Church’s goods, he had already been responsible for giving alms to the poor. Now he started giving them even more.
Soon Lawrence was called before Roman officials who demanded he hand over the church’s treasure. He replied that indeed the church was rich and asked for three days to get everything in order.
The days passed and the Roman officials arrived not to a church filled with silver and gold but one filled with the poor, blind, lame and leprous. “Here are the treasures of the church” declared Lawrence. The official were furious and in the year 258 had Lawrence executed.2
Are the treasures of the church truly the indigent, the poor, and the sick? Are the treasures of the church not the silver and gold, state-of-the-art facilities, beautiful edifices and mansions, real estates, shares and stocks, schools, hospitals, and other numerous investments of the church? No doubt, the articles of silver and gold that Saint Lawrence gave to the poor and needy was more important to the church officials who had him executed for ‘mismanaging the treasures of the church.’
In his book, ‘The Vatican Billions’, writer and philosopher Avro Manhattan gives us a glimpse of the true financial worth of the catholic church. He wrote, “The Catholic church is the biggest financial power, wealth accumulator and property owner in existence. She is a greater possessor of material riches than any other single institution, corporation, bank, giant trust, government or state of the whole globe.”1
About the affluence of the Pope, he said, “The pope, as the visible ruler of this immense amassment of wealth, is consequently the richest individual of the twentieth century. No one can realistically assess how much he is worth in terms of billions of dollars.” 1
It is amazing how so much wealth is in the church, and yet the gap of inequality continues to widen among members of church. The Scriptures tells of the history of the early church in its infancy, when all the believers were together and had everything in common. “Selling their possessions and goods,they shared with anyone who was in need.Selling their possessions and goods,they shared with anyone who was in need. Acts 2: 45. What has happened to the devotion, piety, and love that characterized the early church? Why is the accumulation of wealth more important to the salvation of souls?
Gone are the days when the passion of the Church is the welfare of members and the indigent people. When the desire to build lives through discipleship ranks topmost in the mission of the church. Now, it looks very different. Many leaders would prefer to suck members dry and leave them in abject poverty just because they want to build edifices or compete favourably with other churches. Agreed, it is good to build comfortable places of worship, but it is far more rewarding to build lives and lead them heavenwards.
Avro Manhattan further noted that, “Jesus was the poorest of the poor. Roman Catholicism, which claims to be His church, is the richest of the rich, the wealthiest institution on earth. How come, that such an institution, ruling in the name of this same itinerant preacher, whose want was such that he had not even a pillow upon which to rest his head, is now so top-heavy with riches that she can rival – indeed, that she can put to shame – the combined might of the most redoubtable financial trusts, of the most potent industrial super-giants, and of the most prosperous global corporation of the world?”1
I do know that few of our churches are involved in humanitarian services, and benevolent programs, but I think we are not doing enough. Whilst we build church edifices, and establish several businesses for the church, we need to devote our resources to bridging the gap of inequalities amongst members of the church by creating more welfare programs for the poor in our midst.
Lawrence was right about the treasures of the church was he not? The people are the treasures of the church! A wealthy church is such that is devoted to building lives in accordance with the mandate of the head of the church, Jesus Christ.
You are winning! Yes, we are winning!
Read more: 1 The Vartican Billions by Avro Mahantan
2. Internet source