The Rt. Revd. Olumuyiwa Ajayi, Bishop of the Anglican diocese of Pankshin has stated that giving is a universal privilege. He made this statement during the third session of the first synod which took place at the Anglican Chapel of Redemption, St. Benedict’s Seminary, Pankshin. The Bishop added that in the synod text, Luke 6:38, Jesus did not specify what people should give because giving is a universal privilege that could be in form of time, talents (Gifts) and treasure (Material possessions).
According to the Cleric, Christians have been commanded to give generously and sacrificially. He gave examples of people in the Bible who had given generously; some inspite of their “extreme poverty” like the Macedonian Brethren, while others gave sacrificially like King David who refused to give to God that which cost him nothing. The Bishop further said that God also gave sacrificially when He gave His only begotten Son to the world.
On giving to the needy, Bishop Ajayi quoted the Scripture that states that one should not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honoured by men; but rather giving to the needy should be done in secret, so that God who sees and knows all things will reward the giver. He explained that for every investment there is always a return or profit adding that these returns are for every giver. However, he said that the returns will be based on the measure or quantity that has been sown. Therefore, the Bishop added that whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly and whosoever sows generously will also reap generously (2 Cor. 9:6).
The Bishop of Pankshin diocese highlighted some of the results of giving. He said that it brings blessings from God to the giver, brings praise to God via the receiver and it leads to equality in the house of God, where those with plenty will supply what others need, so that in turn others will supply what they need. The Cleric also observed that there are many Christians who want to reap where they have not sown adding that they take delight in quoting the Scripture wherein it is written that God shall supply all their needs according to His riches in glory. He said that such people forget that the Church at Philippi were extremely generous givers and in return Paul prophesied on their lives.
He further mentioned other categories of people; those who ignorantly curse themselves saying they do not have and that they are poor, some others who procrastinate and act shrewdly, and those who will only give to those who are able to give back in return when they are in need. To these categories of people, he responded from the Bible that such people should not withhold their hand, for they do not know the works of God the maker of all things and neither do they know which seed will bring forth increase. Also, to those who give only to those who are able to return the favour, the Bishop warned that this attitude was condemned by Jesus and therefore should not be emulated by Christians.
Finally, Rt. Rev. Ajayi called on all and sundry to resolve to be generous givers of their time, talents, treasures and all of the God given endowments to the cause of the Kingdom of God, knowing fully well that a day is coming when they will give account of their stewardship to God. The Bishop ended his address on the synod theme, ‘Give and it will be given to you”, by enlightening the people that no one is poor, and that everyone has something to give. He buttressed this point with a quote from Archbishop Emmanuel Egbunu which says, “Poverty is not in the pocket, but in the heart.”
By Ngozi Maduoma