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Any Future For Pastors?

By John Kamunyanje Shaba, Malawi

I was in Ndirande this other day, having my car checked by those uncertified professionals in everything mechanical, when a friend came along. As we ware chatting along the road a shabby looking, talkative man came along and began to beg from him, then me and then a man standing about three metres away from where we were.

To say the truth I was put off by that unbecoming behaviour. But just then, I was also touched by the popularity of the beggar. Everybody seemed to know the person and I was tempted to join in his profession.

My friend told me the man was not popular because of begging, but he is a former football star. He mentioned his name and I was at a loss for words calling to memory the man's fame during his hay days.

A man standing close by commented that Malawian entertainers end like pastors. To authenticate his point, he cited a number of our past heroes both fallen and living. He mentioned the likes of King Marshall Jetu, General Size Chigoya, Harry Waya and others who according him, lived and died bellow the glory of their hay days.

The point was also taken that pastors are equally abandoned and die in pitiful state after retirement. He had points to back up his statement. Was he right or not? Why are many churches, some of the world's oldest institutions, having no retirement packages for their devoted workers?

I mean in many churches there is no package for retired pastors. This explains why some pastors won't retire but would rather die still clinging to the pulpit.

What is it that prevents church leaders from setting aside something for their ageing men of God? We have people that have contributed a lot to our churches' development. Some have died in the process while others have lost their loved ones.

Their only reward was to have a church named after them. Why should they die like paupers while their big religious men have their future, and their children's future well taken care of?

In some instances, even serving pastors are starving while their bwanas are enjoying the same ministry. Worst instances are when a pet of a missionary, I mean a dog or a cat of a missionary is put on a salary plus a medical scheme. The pastors are told that their reward is in heaven.

Who doesn't want a reward in heaven? One pastor once told me that his boy cried when he suggested that he too should become a pastor. This may explain the reason why all are now becoming prophets. With a prophetic voice it's much easier to squeeze out some money from gullible followers who have no time to check whether the prophecy is from God or not.

A certain lady bumped into me while looking for a $50 note. When I asked her why? She said her prophet had told her that he has her word from the Lord but will not release it to her till she pays the $50. She saw nothing wrong with this and was busy looking for money because she didn't want to miss her word from the Lord.

Let's honour the pastors among us and help them see the future.