Wednesday, May 19, 2010

In the recent Sibu by-election, it was reported that four Methodist churches in the final hours of the by-election campaign received a RM1.75million grant from the Federal government. The four lucky churches chosen to receive the grant were En Tao Methodist Church (RM500,000), Tien Tao Methodist Church (RM500,000), Sing Ang Tong Methodist Church (RM400,000) and Hwai Tong Methodist Church (RM350,000). The grant was for upgrading and extension of the church buildings.

Almost all churches in Malaysia are self funding and not surprisingly virtually all are cash strapped. Some churches have to collect donations from its followers and well-wishers for years before the church can even put up a building or even an extension. Thus, had the Methodist churches in Sibu in ordinary circumstances received this Federal grant for upgrading and renovation work, that grant must be received with gratitude and thanks. To get such a grant out of blue, has to be heaven sent and the Federal government must be praised for the noble act and magnanimity.

But, in Sibu, the Federal grant was given in the final hours of the by-election campaign and selectively only to Methodist churches in a predominantly Methodist town and in a town where a by-election was to take place. Surely, this sudden magnanimity must have been made with a purpose and that is to win over the hearts of the Christian voters. What other way is there to construe that grant. To the Federal government it may be a special grant but to many it is nothing but an instant gratification or even worst an executive bribery. Still I do not blame the Federal government for the grant, after all the end justifies the means and during by-elections it is common for the voters to be overwhelmed by sudden and excess generosity.

I believe that the Methodist churches ought to have realized the actual purpose for this sudden generosity. The Methodist churches ought to have politely rejected the grant. The Church preaches to its followers to uphold high moral values and standards in all things. The Church takes the moral high ground and extols the followers to walk in Christ ways. Therefore, the Church too must be subjected to the same high standard.

Unfortunately, the recipient churches, who preach about maintaining and preserving the high moral and ethical standards, it would seem the churches capitulated and momentarily cast aside its principles. It is said money talks and everyone and everything has a price. Well, in the case of the Methodist churches it only took RM1.75 million.

I believe that the most decent thing for the Methodist churches which received this sudden grant to do is to return the money back to the donor. Show them what is called from a Christian and what Christian living is. Painful it may be to return the money, but have faith and walk the faith. God will provide. If the good Lord can provide the little birds with its daily feed, why would the Lord not help the church in its intentions? The RM1.75 million grant surely was not God send or was the answers to the churches prayer.

No comments:

Post a Comment