In my recent article about the lessons that we can learn from Ben Carson, I referred to a claim by a Zimbabwean prophet that candidates using anointed pens would pass examinations regardless of whether they studied or not.
Anointed means of getting what people crave are becoming very popular these days. People get the impression that, so long as some prophet decrees it, their status will change almost instantly. Anybody that rises up today and calls himself/herself prophet this or prophet that will immediately get a large following.
The herbalists are not left behind in this bandwagon. Going through the classified advertisement pages in our newspapers, it is amazing that herbalists claim to have potions for promotions, love, employment, and the list is endless. Some of them even challenge the readers that payment will only be made after the results have been achieved.
The notion that one’s lot will improve simply by visiting a prophet or a herbalist, and without putting in any effort, is killing this nation. If a prophet says, “By this time next year, you will be a millionaire,” many would rejoice and ululate without even pausing to ask what it is they would need to do to become prosperous.
Prosperity does not come by decree. Prosperity comes by effort, as far as I can glean from the Bible. God does not and will not reward laziness. He wants people to work, using their hands and their intellect in order to get what they need. Three years ago I published an article in which I stated that although God intervenes in emergencies, His main plan is that people will put to use what he has endowed them with, to create wealth for themselves. He showered manna on the Israelites as they sojourned through the desert, but that was only a means to an end.
They (the Israelites) had been told they would go to a land flowing with milk and honey. God’s intention was that they would use their effort, albeit under God’s own guidance and with His provision, to conquer the land (remember that the land was not vacant but had occupants, who had to be fought) and later to till it in order for them to have food. Yes, they were going to have “milk and honey” but they were going to have them after putting in their effort. Consequently, on the day they entered the Promised Land, manna ceased. Some among them would, no doubt, have preferred the continuation of the handout that had been manna to working with their own hands. God does not want His people to perpetually live on handouts.
Many of the great teachers that arose among the Israelites urged the people to work hard and to be resourceful, a far cry from today’s lure towards prophetic decrees or herbalist’s concoctions. King Solomon, for example, says in the book of Proverbs, “Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.” The King/Philosopher goes on to extol what he calls a woman of virtue in Proverbs 31, saying that such a woman ”selects wool and flax and works with eager hands…..she considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.” Two virtues are packaged in this passage, namely hard work and investing wisely. Working hard (and I would hasten to add working smart) and investing wisely will eventually yield prosperity.
Another teacher, the New Testament Apostle Paul is blunt about people who do not work. He says in 2 Thessalonians 3:10, “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” That is the simple truth that should be known to everybody. It does not matter how many prophets or how many herbalists one will visit, but if they do not put in their effort, they will be without food and without wealth.
Courting cheap prosperity is tantamount to circumventing God’s ordained order for prospering His people. There are no shortcuts. People flock to prophets and some patronise herbalists because they want to court cheap prosperity. There is a more recent and more sinister way of courting cheap prosperity. Malawians call it Cashgate. None of these methods will develop this nation. Only hard work will.
Let us search within ourselves and discover which methodology we will pursue to contribute effectively to the development of our nation. I would strongly urge that we adopt the work ethic of yester-year in order to move forward.