It’s not something you’ve never heard about before. It’s not something new. It’s on our streets every day, our churches and even on our doorsteps. You know them naa, the ones that have degrees in hustling, the ones that have turned ‘all things are possible’ into reality. You don’t even want to try them cos they’ll school you in the hustling game and yes, they’ve found their game in the churches. It’s really painful that something that means so much to us has turned into a simple avenue for wealth creation. I mean, you don’t need a certain level of education, intelligence or training to become a gospel hustler. All you need is to be smart. In fact, the smarter you are, the more successful you’ll be at it. It comes in all levels and all classes of human existence. We have the hustlers at the grassroots level and we have the big time hustlers that take their hustle to the high and mighty in the society. It’s not even age or gender selective either. They’ve got all the words they need to pry your money out of your hands.
Let me introduce you to this new business. It’s called Gospel Hustling. While we’re thinking about avenues for wealth creation, these hustlers have discovered the safest and easiest way to wealth. All this business requires are; minimal capital, a little bit of flair for guile and persuasion, some marketing ability, some good suits (for those whose hustle are at the higher level) and a couple of easy-to-fool people. All they need is to come up with some buzz words and tang lines and you willingly give them all your hard earned money.
I met one of the gospel hustlers not too long ago. I was on a bus when this young lady, well dressed and well spoken, walked up to the bus and greeted us “good morning.” She said she was sent by the Management of the bus company and she would like to say a word of prayer for the travelers before they embarked on the journey. She gave a short message about salvation (it sounded like she was repeating something she had heard her pastor say often enough) in a surprisingly well modulated voice. Everybody responded positively. I was pretty impressed cos that was my first time of listening to a young lady like that preach on a bus (except me of course) and she was doing it quite well. As soon as she echoed amen then the hustle began. She passed a piece of paper to selected persons in the bus, myself inclusive. As she did so, she said to us that it was just for recharge cards of N100 or N200, nothing less than that. I didn’t understand what she meant. I thought she was probably putting up the airtime for sale. Curious, I opened the paper she had passed to me and I saw what was on it….
You can imagine my disgust and distaste at that act. In those few moments, in my mind, it had simply watered down the effect of her message. I returned her paper to her, empty. It wasn’t quite long after that most of us in the bus were asked to move over to another bus due to some issues with logistics. Within a few moments, the same girl arrived with the same message and the same papers. That was when I realized it was truly her hustle.
When will people stop seeing the gospel as a means for creating wealth? Were my eyes bad or did I actually see a portion of the bible that said, “Freely have you received, freely give also?” (Matt 10:8). I cannot remember any of the apostles who was concerned about the tithes and offerings of the members of the church, rather I remember reading about the love and communal way of life of members of the early church. It’s really disheartening and embarrassing to say the least, when I see the greed among people in the church. The church leaders are not even left out as they acquire more properties than their generations can handle with the wealth they obtain from their members. What blame is there for people who now believe that salvation can be bought or those who no longer see any value in the message? What worries me most is the message they are passing to non-Christians and I really wonder how or when it will stop. All I can say for now is, please let us as much as we can give the message, simply and freely. Our rewards are in heaven and in the blessings God channels to us in return.