If I had opportunity to pick the best social media post for the half year ending June 2022 I would pick Reverend Charles Ozazuwa’s video clip from The Messenger TV (by the way all persons putting out something to the public in written or video format should indicate name and source unless a post is not expected to be quoted or referenced). Pastor Ozazuwa said two things are required for success in the material sphere: ownership of a product or ownership of a service. He insists fasting and prayer are not the keys. No matter how many days one fasts, if you have nothing to exchange for the cash in the hand of a buyer, success will remain in the air – unattainable. The average pastor who makes money during fasting and prayer sessions will object to Pst Ozazuwa’s position. But in my opinion his claim cannot be faulted. Having a product or service to sell is simple reality in the world of business. Nothing comes out of nothing for the days of manna are gone for all time. Every business thrives on income of which excess of it over cost leads to profit. And income is based on sale of product or service.
It should be of interest to learn that some economic historians trace capitalism to the beliefs and practices of a Reformation group in the 16th century. The group, the Calvinists, were followers of John Calvin one of the notable persons in the Reformation.
One of the key issues in Calvinism rested on the idea of a select, favoured group of people bound for heaven. People were to determine if they were favoured if they succeeded in their life’s engagements such as business and the professions. If a business grows and makes profit the owner was regarded as favoured and the probability of going to heaven increased.
The Calvinist philosophy added things to the mix – frugality and modesty. Adherents were discouraged from conspicuous consumption. What, then, should people with surplus cash do? The Calvinist philosophy encouraged them to plough back the profit. This increased capital accumulation and led to phenomenal business growth.
In the opinion of sociologist and philosopher Max Weber, the Calvinist philosophy sowed the seed for the development of capitalism which manifested in Northern and later Western Europe. In fact it was the basis of the famed Industrial Revolution which changed world history.
History also shows that where Roman Catholicism dominated, growth was slower because their philosophy focused on issues of faith and redemption. The comparative economic situations in the two religious orientations encouraged the thinking that Calvinist practice led to the birth of capitalism as an economic system (see Max Weber’s book titled, “The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism”).
What is the import of this brief review of history? It is not about argument as to what takes people to a beautiful life after life whether for Christians or Moslems (both religions believe in Heaven and Hell). It id not about the power of prayer to do the impossible as in unexpected windfall (in fact some people argue that miracle is no more the reward of a prior investment of one type or another). It is about what we should do while on earth as living human beings. Human beings should be realistic and wise. Someone can even argue that to beg at least the beggar should go with a container. Nothing can be created out of nothing (ex nihilo, nihil fit). No one plants cocoyam and expects to reap cassava. Why should anyone close his/her shop and spend all day in the church to pray for breakthrough? Suppose a manufacturer arrives with products and requires open stores to drop them? Suppose someone who knows a friend sells particular products wants to buy large quantity of the products at a specific time? Call the shop owner when no one is expected to keep the phone open in the church? Breakthrough meets people at the station not inside a space where the person cannot be found.
If someone wants a haircut or make-up or tooth extraction or legal service at a specific time can the person postpone and wait for the service provider indefinitely? Does the story of the invalid man at the pool of Bethesda mean something? He received healing because he was by the side of the pool. A Christian should not doubt the probability of astounding miracles as in unexpected money from an unexpected source. But even a contract means the awardee has been identified with competence in a specific/related area of contracting which is a service. Someone mentioned to me that fasting and prayer may in fact have negative fallouts – it may make people lazy and discourage creativity.
Meanwhile people fast and pray for other reasons. But it can argued that because God is omnipresent and omnipotent, the location of persons is of little importance. People can fast and pray in their shops and offices. Anyone who says fasting is effective only inside the church has the same mentality as an unschooled policeman who believes the power of the police is limited to the station.
Pastor Ozazuwa drew inspiration from 2 Kings 4. The widow had a ready product – olive oil. Prophet Elisha multiplied it by spiritual action. The outcome generated all the money the woman needed to free her two sons who had been bonded for a loan her husband obtained. Again nothing comes out of nothing.
This idea can be stretched to include the few cases of full time housewives still around. So much capacity deposited in a woman but the husband insists he is so rich his wife should not engage in any income generating activity. There is no wisdom in that. Often when such men pass on and the man’s family becomes unreasonable, the widow finds herself lost. But if she had been engaging her education or skills, she would have moved on with greater ease.
In conclusion, children of God should engage themselves in legitimate income generating activities. Fasting and prayer should complement, not replace investments. Men and women of God should not take their members away from their business premises for church activities during the work day (8am-5pm). After all, where will the money to sow seed and pay tithes and make substantial offering come from when all of the work day is spent in the church?
I rest my case.