“Mind your business! Mind your business… I borrowed money, mind your business! To do MMM… mind your business…”
Maybe you are thinking what is this prose in the previous paragraph. Well it is a lyric from a rather funky song that is being distributed by MMM participants. My amazement had no limit when I saw this video clip on YouTube. Four young Nigerians, three boys and one girl, singing as if they were leading a church choir with the same passion, zeal, energy and enthusiasm. It all looks like a praise and worship session until you listen more attentively to the words of the song. You will feel like you’ve just been hit by a 16-wheel truck. At least to any human being that is still rational, those who have not lost their ability to think and reason will know that our country is fast heading to a monumental catastrophe, with this kind of attitude.
CALLING GOOD EVIL AND EVIL GOOD
For obviously Christian youth to be coming to sing on worldwide public platforms about Ponzi and pyramid schemes, unashamedly that is a huge shame. Worse still, these young people are not simply singing about what is well established worldwide to be an act of fraud, stealing and theft. What they are doing is actually a multiple of acts of ignorance.
“Goodness is something chosen. When a man cannot choose he ceases to be a man.” ― Anthony Burgess
1. They are glorifying vices instead of virtues.
2. In Christianity and in any religion whatsoever, theft, deception, and fraud are sins. So they are glorifying sins too.
3. These people are not only proclaiming to the world that they are thieves and fraudsters, they are actually celebrating these vices.
4. Another thing they are doing is they are rejecting the voice of reasons by saying “mind your business.”
5. They are shutting up the mouth of the elders, people who know better than them, which is a direct violation of the sixth commandment. Honor your father and mother, that it may be well with you and you may live long.
6. They are praising the vice of bad debt, not borrowing for business, industry or commerce.
7. They are borrowing money to put in a fraudulent scheme, putting their benefactors in danger of never ever getting their money back.
8. The conscience of these young people is totally sealed, demonstrated by their actions.
9. These young people lack the ability to distinguish between good and bad. That is a national crisis.
10. From the way they think, it is obvious they are talented. Unfortunately, their talent is being used to glorify the virtues of darkness.
I am concerned, worried and alarmed by the apparent decline in virtues that I observe, not just in the Nigerian nation, but in our youth these days. In most countries of the world, the youth are looked at as the future of their nations. The youth are often referred to as the future leaders. Can you begin to imagine what it means for a nation when the future leaders and the supposed future of the nation cannot differentiate between good and bad? This is an extremely alarming situation, which should capture the attention of every well-meaning Nigerian.
“To see evil and call it good, mocks God. Worse, it makes goodness meaningless. A word without meaning is an abomination, for when the word passes beyond understanding the very thing the word stands for passes out of the world and cannot be recalled.” ― Stephen R. Lawhead
WHY WE ALL MUST BE CONCERNED
My shock is not only in relations to these four young people. It is a tendency, one which was repeated by another young man, Precious Ubogu, who came out to repeat the same words that everybody who is talking about MMM should shut up their mouths. The same tendency was manifested by another misguided enthusiast by the name of Musa Usman. To make things worse, some of these blinded youth actually call themselves pastors. A few of them actually wrote me to express their disagreement with my stance. They believe MMM and other “get rich quick” schemes they are involved with are the way to go in this economic recession Nigeria is currently facing.
In Ecclesiastes 10: 16-17, we see a very profound statement from King Solomon. “Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning! Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness!”
According to this Scripture above, woes, curses and tragedies are a portion of any nation whose kings and princes eat in the wrong manner. As we have already mentioned above, the youth of any land are the future leaders of that country. So if our future leaders, our princes, are so misguided as to taking evil to be good, the future of that nation is doomed. Hence I believe it is my obligation and the duty of every well-meaning Nigerian to raise his or her voice against the lack of virtues and the spread of vices in our society.
That Scripture above speaks about kings and princes eating in the morning. That means they eat at a time when they are not supposed to. Morning is not a time for feasting; morning is a time for labor. When the MMM proponents want to feast where they have not labored, they have already lost. They have lost because the word of God and His standards can never be compromised without consequences. When the Bible says woes, curses and catastrophes are the portion of those who engage themselves in such practices, it is, my friends, an unavoidable finale.
WILL WE HAVE A FUTURE OR NOT AS A NATION?
What schemes like MMM and others are doing is to invite people to neglect hard work and dignity of labor while expecting them to harvest where they have not sowed. Princes eat in the morning because they are expecting to get something for nothing. These youths eat in the morning because they just want to lie in their beds, not working, not doing anything, yet reaping off their friends, relatives and colleagues through their 360 percent a year returns. This is the reason why they have already lost. They will reap sooner or later sorrows and losses. “Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning!”
“I don’t want to live in the kind of world where we don’t look out for each other. Not just the people that are close to us, but anybody who needs a helping hand. I can’t change the way anybody else thinks, or what they choose to do, but I can do my bit.” ― Charles de Lint
The only way for Nigeria to avoid the impending collision with these consequences of lack of virtues is to begin to raise an alarm right now. We need to begin to give our young people a clear message in differentiating what is wrong and what is bad. If we as a nation are to avoid the woes, curses and tragedies spoken about in Ecclesiastes, we must take charge of giving sound orientation to our youths and future leaders. All informed Nigerians should join the campaign to sanitize the national psyche of our youth.
A CHALLENGE NOT JUST FOR THE GOVERNMENT
This is a task that must not be left only for the government to pursue. They are clearly overwhelmed with other national duties. It is time for every Nigerian to begin to call a spade a spade. Our churches have largely failed in the sense that most of them too cannot differentiate what is wrong from what is good. In our churches we have reduced righteousness only to the common known sins of smoking, drinking and sex. Other virtues are almost buried, detailed and thorough analysis has not been given to qualities that are responsible for national growth and development. Virtues like trust, faithfulness, integrity, hard work, diligence, excellence, attention to details, perseverance, truth, responsibility, delayed gratification, contentment, etc. are usually disregarded.
“The greatest temptations are not those that solicit our consent to obvious sin, but those that offer us great evils masking as the greatest goods.” ― Thomas Merton
It is this disregard that will make such young men as mentioned above to think that they are not doing anything wrong when they promote Ponzi schemes and pyramids. In their mind, as long as they are not smoking, drinking or having illicit sex, they are Christians and they are fine, not knowing that being a Christian is much deeper than their surface knowledge.
The Bible says my people perish for lack of knowledge. A careful read of that Scripture in Hosea 4:6 will reveal to us that it is not just ignorance or lack of knowledge that causes destruction. The real reason for the destruction that comes upon people is not just because they don’t know, but because they refuse to acknowledge their ignorance. This is the problem that I see in a lot of our young people today. They don’t know, yet they refuse to admit their ignorance. Hence, destruction is practically inevitable, unless we do something quick and fast.
“My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children.” – Hosea 4:6
PONZI SCHEMES ONLY REVEAL WHO WE ARE
As evil as Ponzi schemes and pyramids are, it would be wrong to put all the blames on them for our national decay and corruption. They only reveal who we are. What MMM have revealed about the Nigerian population is that we are a nation void of the true understanding of good and evil. We have been deprived of true virtues and handed religion. We have become a nation famous for our religiosity without virtues.
Is religion really possible without virtues? I think this is the description of paganism. Religious but devoid of character and virtues. We must retrace our steps. This task has to be undertaken not just by the government, but by the religious leaders and the elite Nigerians. Schemes like MMM have only come to uncover our nakedness. We have been naked for a long time before they came. It is high time for us to use this opportunity to revisit our virtues as a nation.
Our pulpit must stop talking about miracles and breakthroughs because the message our youth are hearing is that through miracles and breakthroughs, you can get something out of nothing. What they are hearing is that it is possible to reap where you have not sowed. The national psyche of Nigerians today is more like “if it is good for me now, it doesn’t matter what happens later.”
If truth be told, our churches have largely contributed to this. Our messages of instant gratification have led to a whole generation of people who only want to see instant results, immediate relief and a painless profit. This is not the natural course of nature. For our youth to change, our messages must change. For our nation to change, our pulpit must change. We must begin to deliver relevant messages which are capable of building a healthy nation and future. Instead of messages that are only promising blessings, miracles, breakthroughs and wonders. We must replace these messages with preaching on virtues such as hard work, creativity, dedication, commitment, perseverance, diligence, responsibility, etc.
We must stop glorifying people who became wealthy from unexplainable sources. The brother who became a millionaire because he simply sowed a seed, either to the pastor or to the church should no longer be those who are testifying in our churches. We should be giving the microphone to the hard workers who have, through a lifetime of perseverance, diligence and dignity of labor, attained true success. Until we do this, our churches and nation will keep on celebrating symbols of instant success like the “yahoo yahoo” boys, the scammers, the 419’s and MMMs.
Unfortunately, as of today, these are the only type of success stories our messages are capable of producing. If we are to produce quality youth and future leaders, we must begin to invite to our pulpits people who attained their success and wealth through biblical principles of hard work, faithfulness and diligence. We have to downplay the roles of sowing and reaping for prosperity. It is time to begin to emphasize principles of wealth creation and production of goods and services.
Instead of teaching in our churches every Sunday, “give and it shall be given to you”, our messages must change to teaching principles like: planning, critical thinking, analysis, strategy, visibility plans, system building, market and customer analysis, process of production of goods and services, etc. This is how noble people are produced, not by what is being propagated by our pulpits today.
With the messages we have today in our churches and society at large, it is no wonder that these young people now act as if God is a rewarder of laziness and mediocrity. Please! Please!! Please!!! I want to use this avenue to appeal to my fellow pastors in ministry. Let’s stop preaching the pseudo gospel, and begin to preach the real gospel of the kingdom.
Our youth must know that Christianity is not magic. We must tell them that because somebody is making pronunciations doesn’t mean that those pronunciations are godly. We must let them know that they don’t need a pastor’s blessing to make it in life. We must let our young people know that the shout of “I receive it!” alone is not enough to be blessed for that week. We must open their eyes to realize that the shout of “Amen!” no matter how loud, doesn’t make God to fulfill all their wishes. Our nation needs to be delivered from religious superstitions, and real Christianity must be introduced afresh.
A CULTURE OF GREED
Unfortunately, a lot of Nigerians seem to think that the difficult economic situation in the nation is enough an excuse for the involvement in shady and deceptive schemes. It is alarming to even tolerate this kind of mindset in any society. What these type of people are saying is that they can do anything to gain or profit. This mindset is evil and dangerous. We must begin to let our people know that economic difficulties and recession in the land is not a justification for evil and corrupt practices.
“He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.” ― Socrates
To think that any kind of riches brings satisfaction and happiness is a total lie. “Food gained by fraud tastes sweet, but one ends up with a mouth full of gravel.” – Proverbs 20:17. The truth be told, it is not economic recession that is driving people to pyramids and Ponzi schemes and other fraudulent practices. It is greed!! It is greed that makes someone to want something so bad that they are willing to violate the rights and trust of others to get it.
It is greed that makes us to close our eyes at the consequences of our actions, thinking only of the gains and profits. Some Nigerians who participate in MMM are actually rejoicing and telling stories of how they brought in hundred or two hundred people and how much they were able to make. Meanwhile they laugh and joke that others lost but they won. In the real sense they didn’t win, and neither did they gain. What they have done is they have just stolen from the people they brought into the company. They have just robbed their friends, relatives and colleagues through deception and violation of trust.
Some of them are thinking they are smart. No you are not smart, you are simply evil. This is the definition of being callous: feeling or showing no sympathy for others. When I suggest to these so-called “smart” guys from MMM who have made “X” amount of money from the scheme to go and return the money to the people they brought into the system, they refuse and say no I am the one who got lucky, they are just not lucky. This goes a long way to underline how much we have lost a sense of compassion, sympathy, empathy and humanity.
That is why I believe that these people who think they have made money through MMM and such schemes have actually lost something far more valuable than money. They have lost themselves and their humanity.
“If we win by losing ourselves, by losing what we were fighting for, then we never really win.” ― Meg Collett
They are possessed by greed. The danger of greed is it steals your joy, because no matter how much you get, you always want more. Your joy is temporal. That joy is quickly replaced by dissatisfaction. Greed deprives you of real joy. Sooner or later, you lose taste of what joy is, and you will never be able to enjoy anything in life. No amount of money or pleasure will henceforth be able to give you joy, due to lack of inner satisfaction, which is the essence of greed.
Greed causes you to lose something even much more valuable than joy. Greed deprives you of life itself. Life is only meaningful when there is joy and satisfaction in it. Greed deprives you of both, because if you are never satisfied and you don’t have joy, you cease to find meaning in life. At the end of the day, you will eventually lose those finances that were gained in a dishonest way. Greed will lead you to spiritual bankruptcy.
Apart from losing joy and the essence of life, you also lose relationships. We Nigerians know stories told by our parents and relatives that you should never have anything to do with so and so families or nearby villages. Why is that? That is because somebody, sometime had violated trust. Villages have gone to war against villages because of violated trust. Family feuds have continued for generations because of the act of deception of one man.
When you lure somebody to MMM and they lose their money, you have lost them. You have lost their trust, you have lost the relationship with them. What you have gained is a feud for generations to come. Because of you, some children will not go to school next year. Some families will not build their houses. Some couples will not wed. On the other hand, you have made some people to sell their houses, their lands, their cars, and some have just lost their inheritances.
What do you think my friend? Do you think all those people are praying for you for depriving them of their money? Well I don’t think so. Some of them may actually be raining down curses on your head. So at the end of the day, you have not gained, you have only lost. Despite the money you thought you made, your loss is much greater.
“What you gain here, you lose on the other side.” – Dejan Stojanovic
So to those people in MMM who are telling people who know better that they should “mind your business”, I pray that you will read this article. The issue is not if MMM is coming back in January or not. Even if it comes back in January, it will still collapse eventually, whether you like it or not. This is because it is built on something unsustainable; it is built on deception.
“The works of his hands are faithful and just all his precepts are trustworthy. They are established for ever and ever, enacted in faithfulness and uprightness.” – Psalms 111:7-8
What this scripture teaches us is that the things that are built to last are only sustainable when they are built on faithfulness, truth and justice. It is only when things are done right that they last. Faithfulness and uprightness are the pillars and foundation for any sustainable enterprise. When any of these qualities are missing in any enterprise, they are doomed to stillbirth. MMM is built on the direct opposite of these virtues. It is built on greed and deception, so it is already collapsed in the spirit realm. It is only a matter of time for the woes, curses and the tragedies to hit the participants.
Just as I was about to finish writing this article, I looked into my inbox and saw a letter from an apostle in Zimbabwe. I will paste it here as a confirmation from what I have written above without changing anything in his writing.
“Pastor, thank you for blowing the trumpet against MMM. I’m from Zimbabwe and was part of MMM. I researched about it first and became suspicious of the organization having heard of people who had lost their money in South Africa and other European countries. What changed my mind was the good report from some pastors who were seemingly benefiting from the scheme. These people have made inroads and penetrated the church using pastors. They give incentives for recruiting new people which obviously is attractive to pastors who command large followings. They are also invited to make presentations in churches. Right now the pastors and churches are bleeding after the lost their hard earned money. Some had even borrowed money to invest in the scheme. Pastors are now ashamed, churches have lost members and others accusing each other for introducing them to the scheme. I myself have lost my money. MMM is evil. Don’t stop prophesying against it. Some will hear what the Spirit is saying to the church and be saved from MMM. CRY ALOUD AND SPARE NOT. Thank you!” – Apostle Enoch Tofa
Let him who has ear hear before it is too late.