More details have emerged about the Nigerian pastor who was rejected by his own Church members after he disguised as a haggard beggar during a Christmas service.
Pastor Lawrence Onochie
The Senior Pastor of The Kings Heritage Church, Lawrence Onochie disguised himself as a beggar to the Church he pastors as a way of giving practical lessons about the essence of Christmas celebrations which has been miscontrued to be a period of 'rice and chicken' bazaar.
After he was rejected by his unsuspecting Church members, he unveiled his identity and lectured them on embracing the poor and filthy during the Yuletide. His story went viral on internet after a female Church member shared it on Instragram.
Mr. Onochie has now taken the pains of cashing on the current media attention beamed on him to educate the general public about the cogent message and lesson behind his action. His fresh article as released on Facebook concerning the odd Church incident is titled "Pastor Disguised As a Beggar – The Real Story and Lessons by Pastor Lawrence Onochie"
Read full message below:
Hebrews 13:1-3 (AMP) 1 LET LOVE for your fellow believers continue and be a fixed practice with you [never let it fail]. 2 Do not forget or neglect or refuse to extend hospitality to strangers [in the brotherhood - being friendly, cordial, and gracious, sharing the comforts of your home and doing your part generously], for through it some have entertained angels without knowing it. 3 Remember those who are in prison as if you were their fellow prisoner, and those who are ill-treated, since you also are liable to bodily sufferings.
I grew up in a family where taking care of strangers was like an obsession for my parents, they sheltered countless number of people who they knew little or absolutely nothing about. I walked into a bank one day and the lady who was attending to me kept smiling, she was very cordial and helpful.
When she was done with me she introduced herself as one of the people who had lived in our home several years back when she was homeless. I had similar experiences a number of times, thanks to God for giving me the opportunity of growing up in such a home.
At THE KING’S HERITAGE we have provided shelter for countless number of people over the years who didn’t have a home some of them we didn’t know from anywhere. The most recent is a young man who came to church several weeks back, his home for many years has been a car garage and had been subject to abuse. To keep body and soul together sometimes he would go as far as removing car stereos to sell, in fact he had one in his bag the day he came to see me. A week later he was staying in the church office and eventually we got him a job. We have had a feed the needy program where we provided raw food for hundreds of families in the community regardless of their religious persuasion.
However at 1am on Sunday (December 25th, 2016) while I was preparing for the Christmas service I felt inspired to disguise myself to church as a beggar and enter the real world of the needy, the derelicts, and the destitute. Through the help of the head of our production unit I achieved that, I was transformed and I entered the church without being recognized not even by my wife. I sat in the congregation and followed through with the service.
Yes they were some with hearts of gold who came and at least gave me a handshake when the pastors asked the congregation to welcome each other. But they were also some who carefully avoided me, they were some who were not so discreet about it they made it clear they didn’t want to come near.
Although I was acting a part, but I could literarily feel the pain of rejection when some walked past me to greet others with an attitude of ‘you don’t matter’. Of course as expected when one of the pastors came to encourage the congregation to invite someone they didn’t know over to their homes for Lunch, not surprisingly no one came to me except for one or two who at this time already knew what was happening.
That can be excused to a great extent because of the state of insecurity in the country and the potential risk involved in such demonstration of love. However they’re ways to go around such potential challenges of being hospitable if our hearts are truly keen on it. At the pick of it, I went up stage and revealed my Identity and shared my experience, I couldn’t hold back tears. I saw some wiping off tears from their eyes as I spoke, at the end of the service there was an atmosphere of genuine repentance and commitment to a life of practical demonstration of selfless Love.
1. The summary of the whole experience is to let us know that EVERYONE matters to God, rich or poor, stranger or family, beggar or wealthy, destitute or celebrity – EVERYONE matters to God. Jesus said “35 'for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 'I was Unclad and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me...40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (Matthew 25). What we do to the ‘least’ matters so much to God.
2. We must learn to receive, accept, and genuinely love those who don’t look like us, that is the true mark of Christianity. Jesus said “by this shall all men know that you are my disciples if you love one another”
3. I learnt that sometimes the people who need love the most often deserve it the least. Sometimes they look dirty, they look tough and mean, sometimes they even look rich and happy but they’re dying for love and affection within. Don’t discriminate – spread God’s kind of love.
4. Reality sometimes is not what it appears to be. As Pastors it’s easy to assume that what’s happening on the platform is exactly what’s happening in the pew. Reality is that sometimes the difference can be as far as the North is to the South. If you had asked me before this experience I probably would tell you that this may happen in other churches but not ours based on my perception.
5. Some of the people who despised me the most were not the rich and mighty, some of them are from very humble background. So it’s a myth to assume that looking down on people is exclusive to the high and mighty, the reality is sometimes it’s more from those who are still struggling with poverty. They tend to project the inferiority they feel on others, they see in others what they think of themselves and they despise it.
6. I realised that as a leader the best way to judge people is not necessarily by how they treat me but by how they treat those who are seemingly less than they are. Everyone can treat a leader right.
7. I also saw a common weakness among human beings; we go out of our way to be nice to those we think we can benefit from and ignore those we assume we can’t derive benefits from. If I appeared as the Pastor and sat at the same spot everyone would gravitated towards me.
8. It doesn’t matter how powerful your message is as a Pastor some will not reflect it. Despite all the beautiful messages Judas heard from Jesus he didn’t exemplify the message, he was never changed.
9. Class-consciousness is not of God, it is not the nature of God. If you occupy an esteemed position it’s not just a function of your hard work for many have worked harder but have not achieved it. It is a function of the grace of God, He ensured that you were in the right place, at the right, time, and you met the right people. If you acknowledge the grace of God in your success then you’ll never look down on anyone no matter who they are.
10. Always consider it a HUGE privilege whenever God gives you the opportunity to minister to those in need, it’s never a loss. Such acts of love are always rewarded by God.
11. You’ve got stuffs in your home you don’t need, you’ve got things you haven’t touched in well over a year, shoes, suits, hand bags, etc. What about looking around for those your stuff can be a blessing to and just give it to them?
When News Breaks Out, We Break In. (The 2014 Bloggies Finalist)