By Samuel O. Doku (Washington, DC). A couple of weeks ago, Senior Pastor Georges Ntemi undergirded his sermon with lessons to be learned from the pejorative treatment of Joseph by his brothers that God eventually overruled and turned into great blessings for Joseph and the house of Jacob. According to Pastor Georges, the jejune condition of the pit that David was thrown in is symbolic of restlessness because God didn’t want Joseph to feel comfortable in the pit.
In his homily on Sunday, he expanded his symbolism on the homily by adding the pit of offence and the pit of failure to form the basis of his preaching. He began his homily by reading Gen. 37: 23-24, “And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, they stripped Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colors that was on him; and they took him and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty; there was no water in it.”
“What you have to remember about this sermon on the pit is that it will give you the tool you can use when you find yourself in a pit. When Joseph went to his brothers, they stripped him of his coat of many colors. The devil wants to take the most beautiful thing you have. But he doesn’t know God has reserved the best for you. Leave everything to the Lord, the author and finisher of our faith,” said the blessed man of God.
In affirmation of things as they are to emphasize the pragmatism of his homily, Pastor Georges told the congregation that because they deal with humans, people will laugh at them when they are in trouble, when they find themselves in difficult situations, and when nothing is going well. In those moments of nadir, Pastor Georges said, “That is not the time for you to mourn; it is the time for you to rise and move toward the Celestial Palace of Christ and place your trust in Him. He will take care of you.”
In addition, the apostle of God said, “In life, you could find yourselves in different pits. If you find yourself in any pit at all, don’t sit in your couch and refuse to do anything about it. You must know that you are in a pit; therefore, you must do something about your situation. Each is accountable to God as to where you are supposed to be. Our destiny is where God wants us to be. The will of God is in the word; therefore, we have to read the Bible.”
The consul of God then outlined two inevitable pits of life: the pit of offence and the pit of failure. On the pit of offence, he asked, “Do you become angry, bitter, frustrated, resentful when you are offended or you sit down and say, ‘Lord you are the source of my strength, so I leave everything in your hands. I am looking up to you to deliver me.’”
He read Luke 17: 1, “Then he said unto his disciples, ‘It is impossible but that offenses will come; but woe unto him, through whom they come.’” The apostle of God surmised that tempting others is not part of the Lord’s culture. “When you are offended, be like Joseph and give it to God. It’s utterly wrong to say, ‘I’m tired of my job or marriage because I feel mistreated. Don’t say I’m tired of coming to Church because I feel mistreated.
“In all things, look up to the Lord. He will lift you up and put you where you are supposed to be. Certainly, you would be misjudged if you are doing it for men. But you are doing for God so look up to Him.”
At that juncture, he reminded the congregation of the torture and suffering Christ went through for the sake of Christians. “Christ was beaten, scourged, mutilated, and suffered but in the end, he looked at those who inflicted the pain, torture, and suffering on Him and said, ‘Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing,’” said Pastor Georges.
From the sufferings of Christ and forgiveness in the New Testament, Pastor Georges returned to the sufferings of Joseph and his forgiveness of his brethren in the Old Testament and said, “Joseph was sold at the price of a prostitute. He went through pain and suffering for thirteen years, after being falsely accused but when he and his brothers reconciled, he said, ‘I’m not bitter.”
Pastor Georges read Gen. 45: 4-5 for affirmation: “And Joseph said to his brethren, ‘Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, ‘I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into slavery. Now therefore be not be grieved, and angry with yourselves that ye sold me hither: for God sent me before you to preserve life.’”
The blessed man of God also noted that the pit of offence is a bait the devil puts before the children of God to goad them into anger and bitterness because he the devil knows simple things can upset them. To help avoid the devil’s bait, Pastor Georges read 2 Tim. 2: 24-26 as his frame of reference:
“And the servant of the Lord must not strive but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient; in meekness instructing those who oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are captive by him of his will.”
The pastor encouraged those with the knowledge to “teach everybody so that resentment and bitterness will be out of their hearts for them to know the truth. “Those who oppose the truth,” he said, “are agents of the devil. They spread division, discord, antagonism, rumor, and they gossip to create tension wherever they go.
“So, are you going to spread rumor and division or be quiet? Those who spread division are doing the will of their father, the devil. Think about that! Remember that the truth will dignify you. Don’t allow the devil to drag you into the pit of offence. It could implicate your posterity. Don’t deliberately cave in to the devil, and say I will sow the seeds of peace and truth tomorrow, for your tomorrow may never come,” stated the apostle of God.
From the pit of offence, Pastor Georges shifted his attention to the pit of failure. “Who hasn’t failed before in his or her life?” asked Pastor Georges. “Falling into the pit of failure doesn’t make you a failure, but remaining there does. The DNA of the Lord is in you; therefore, don’t just sit there wishing you were somebody whom you see as having succeeded. You can also do it if you make up your mind.”
According to the blessed man of God, to fall into the pit of failure and accept it as your permanent address is a huge disaster. “Your failure should be a point of transition. At that moment, you need to rise up and look up to the Lord and stride toward your destiny.”
Here, he testified to his own success story; how he became dissatisfied with his life in Cameroon, so he decided to come to the U.S. for the opportunity to ameliorate his life. Pastor Georges, with total reliance and commitment to the Lord, is today, not only a great man but also a great pastor.
Next, he told of another success story, an elder of the Church, who was a top-notch entrepreneur in Cameroon, but at some point, his business crumbled into smithereens, so he decided to come to the U.S. via France. Today, Mr. Joseph Ngatchou is the chief operating officer of Amazing Love Health Services and and the head of Administration of the Church.
“Papa Joseph was in the pit once but in his mind and heart, he knew the Lord was and is with him, so who could be against him. He looked for an opportunity and when the moment came, he said, ‘now I am out of the pit,’” revealed the apostle of God.
In a philosophical lingo, Pastor Georges noted that “there is nothing more successful than success, and nothing more dangerous than success. Success is good but managing it is better.”
He warned against complacency that comes with dwelling too much on past glories, which could detract from a serious pursuit of attainable goals to improve one’s life. “I don’t want you to talk too much about your past glory. Your past is behind you; look ahead of you, for that is where the crown is.”
He spoke about the mission and vision of the Church, which is about building and improving the lives of not only its members but also anyone who comes calling because of need. “We are here to help and put joy in the hearts and happiness on the faces of others. We are tired of the children of God crying every day. But, sometimes we can be our own problems. When you have an opportunity to do good, do it; don’t run away from it.”
Pastor Georges read Amos 6: 1, a text that admonishes complacency and noted, “The Bible is full of wisdom, but we don’t know how to use it. Don’t look down on others because no one is a slave.”
As part of his conclusion, the blessed man of God emphasized that his former job paid him well but he didn’t enjoy doing it, so he had to move on in pursuit of his destiny. He read Psalm 36: 5-6, “Thy mercy, O Lord is in heavens; thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds. Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep; O Lord, thou preservest man and beast.”
Symbolically, Pastor Georges proclaimed the Mountain as the Lord and his children scramble at the base, trying to climb it and reach Him. “It takes a heart of humility, faith, and goodness to reach the top and when you get there you wouldn’t want to come down again,” proclaimed the blessed man of God.