IT IS said that women, money and fame are the three major things Satan often uses to entice men of God to fall from grace. There may be several other factors, but the three which are also referred to as the 3Fs for Females, Finance and Fame are the commonest.
Most men of God are tempted in these three areas by Satan to get them off their divine assignments and duties. Sampson and Solomon fell because of women. The enemy used foreign women to influence their sense of judgment against the will of God. You may read Judges Chapter 16 and 1 Kings Chapter 11: 1- 8 for yourself.
However, Judas Iscariot, the prophet Balaam (Numbers 22) and Gehazi, the prophet Elisha's servant (2 Kings 5) were trapped with the love for money. Eventually they paid dearly for not only loving money but also being greedy.
True prophets of God do not receive cash payment or donations as a condition for healing as the prophet Elisha did. Elisha refused Naaman's free gifts of ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold and ten changes of clothing as payment for healing him of leprosy. Remember Jesus Christ warned against this very thing in Matthew 10: 8.
But false prophets heal for money because they are greedy and money-conscious. They love money to the core. The would-be prophet Gehazi was one of them. He said to himself: “See, my master has spared this Naaman the Syrian, in not accepting from his hand what he brought”. Gehazi followed Naaman and succeeded in collecting the gifts. But he was not spared as Naaman's leper clang to him.
In spite of these challenges, pastors will always interact with women and require money to work with, in their day-to-day pastoral work. Every pastor needs huge sums of money and the involvement of women in building God's church. Women are needed in almost all departments of the church; you can talk about the choir, evangelism team, intercessory and protocol (ushering) departments.
A pastor will also pray for sick women, counsel some of them, hold meetings with some of them and invite others for private conversations. The prophet Elijah interacted with the Zarephath woman, a poor widow and ate her food during a period of famine. Can you imagine that it was the prophet Elijah himself who had predicted the drought resulting in the famine. Kindly read 1 Kings 17: 8 -15.
Elijah's successor, the prophet Elisha, also interacted with the Shunammite woman, who was barren. He spoke with her, ate her food and slept in her house.
“One day he (Elisha) came there, and he turned into the chamber and rested there. And he said to Gehazi his servant, “Call this Shunammite.” When he had called her, SHE STOOD BEFORE HIM…,” (2 Kings 4: 11- 16).
What would you have done if you saw your pastor begging for food from a poor widow during a famine season? What would you also have done if you saw your pastor sleeping in the house of a couple at the invitation of the woman? God knows how you would have reacted to these situations.
Remember that our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, also interacted with many women; some of them were even adulterous. He met with Mary and Martha (John 11: 1), Joana and several other women in His ministry. Peter prayed for Dorcas.
There are many Christians who cannot stand the sight of their pastors talking to the opposite sex. A pastor interacting with the opposite sex cannot be ruled out in ministry. I am not talking about a pastor having unchristian relationships with women – sexual relationships – in the church or outside it. That will be sinful.
But there are believers who spread malicious gossips about their pastors for interacting with female members of the church. They gossip about him which damages his image and eventually collapses the church. This seemed to be a challenge the apostle Paul faced in the Corinthian church. It appears some of the members gossiped or criticised the situation where women and men travelled together to places to do ministry. So Paul had to write to educate them.
“Don't we have the right to BRING A CHRISTIAN WIFE with us as the other apostles and the Lord's brothers do, and as Peter does” (1 Corinthians 9: 5)?
What does the above scripture mean? Paul says that women including those who were married were actively involved in ministry. In other words, men and women travelled together with the apostles to preach the gospel of grace for the salvation of souls.
This teaches us to be careful about what we say when we see pastors interacting with women. Take note that there are genuine men of God who fear God and will not indulge sin.
FROM James Quansah, Kumasi