God or Mammon?
Whom do you worship? Whom do you trust? Jesus said “ It’s difficult for the rich man to enter into heaven. “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God ” Matthew 19:24 Rich man trusts in his riches, he believes anything he can do with the money he has. Money makes many things as his slogan. Thereby rich man entering into heaven is very very difficult, saith the Lord.
God was preparing me to stand for the Lord, and not to trust in the money god, or Mammon. From the very first year of my job as a lecturer, I was writing all those wonderful stories in the previous parts. Now this is yet another of those series. May of us are under the impression that taking bribe is drastically a sin because it shows the greediness of the man, but what about giving bribe, most of us think it’s inevitable, and it is a way of life, and especially in India, nothing can be done in the offices unless we give bribe, and so many think there is no problem if we give bribe as a ‘gift’ or do something for those bribers, even if it is out of way… to get things to be done. Money is god to many people, they call it by a different name, money god is known as Mammon in my book. People believe that if they worship this god they will become rich . How funny it is worshipping god for riches>1 Timothy 6 : 10 says “for the love of money is the root of all evil; which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
For the love of money? It means greed for money to get it in short cut methods, by crafty methods one loves to earn money, or trying to manage things in this world using money. Getting things done by using money. My friend Salomi, a pastor in England, had a vision while she was searching for the TRUTH. In her vision she saw goddess Mammon , ie Lakshmi was asking her to follow her worship and showing all the riches jewels to her. The goddess was beautiful to look at, golden skin and adorned with gold ornaments. Idol was shining with golden skin. My friend Salomi is a beautiful woman, but she asked the idol goddess “ If I follow you what will I give to me?” The idol showed the riches of gold, pearls and jewellery, then my friend Salomi answered the idol, “ Can you give me eternal Life?” For that the idol looked down, then Salomi asked the idol, “My Jesus gave His life on the Cross to give me eternal life. He shed blood for me to cleanse my sins, what way will you help me?” For that query the goddess Lakshmi was terrified and turned her back to retreat from Salomi, when Salomi saw her back it was a skeleton, rotten with worms and smells awfully dirty.
Beware friends, God sees the heart, John 2:25 No one need to testify to Jesus , Christ knows what is in the heart of man without any external evidence.. ” He did not need any testimony about mankind; for He knew what was in each person..” He knows whether You trust in His mighty power to do things for you, or you believe that your might, your power, your trust in money will do things for you! Though it looks as a trivial thing, in everyday life it reflects our faith, our trust, our righteousness, We cannot serve God and mammon .. admired , trusted in, and worshipped as if they were god for no one can serve two masters… you cannot serve both God and money….. Abraham trusted God and it was considered as righteousness….Trusting God that He would do anything, trusting that God would change the minds of the bribers is one such thing, but if instead we hink that the money in the vallet will do that work . God sees even that. Whether we are in a group or alone, whether our files are along with others or solely on the table of the briber, can we trust in a God who is all powerful or trust Him alone?
Here comes the test … very stealthily, it’s not a test like Joseph got, or Daniel and his friends got, but it’s undercover, we think we have to give because they are doing our work, we conveniently forget that its their job to do our work and Government is paying their salaries for that work… and we think we are obliged to pay extra money for the briber is expecting for his work, in fact it’s not extra work, it’s his work , he has to do, he will give a pose that he is working for us alone and demand a gift.. which in other words nothing but bribe… so when one sits and think about this keenly in the presence of God , one has to answer to God … whether he believes in God or the money in his wallet. !
so while we purchased the house at the time of registration, I was challenged by the staff that I cannot escape from giving the bribe in the registrar office, But God spoke to me through the verse ” Is the Lord’s power limited?” Numbers 11:25 ….Even at the time of getting Municipal tap water, or electricity to the house God wrought miracles and helped us to get things done without giving a single pie as the bribe. My husband got transferred miraculously overnight without shedding a single pie to the briber. These stories I wrote in the book “ Your Prayer is heard”
Now after I retired, in 2010, I needed to get my pension. I got a terrible fever and chikungunya and suffered a lot… My papers were in the DHE ( Deputy Higher Education ) office and they say in college unless I pay the bribe the DHE office people never work out the pension and never release it in time. They threatened me even years would take to finalise my pension papers and my pension be released. The office clerk Ms V was pestering me to give away Rs. 10000/- as bribe and that she will look after everything thereafter. As the office staff and even the new principal Sr. T C knew that I would not give the bribe, as a matter of fact told me that I need to give that amount, or otherwise my papers would be set aside along with the other 3 or 4 lecturers who were retiring that season. I bluntly told them ” I will not give even one single pie.. and it’s your duty to send the service register and the pension papers to DHE office. You are given salary to do this work.” I was also told once the papers are moved later to the AG office. If the work in the DHE office is over half of the work is over.
So the clerk v one day called me on the phone and told me that my pension application papers were returned back from DHE office. Not knowing what was all that about, I went and met her. She told me,’ Mam, in your Service register its written that you were given post as Lecturer from 1976 but DHE office says, there were no posts of Lecturer at that time only Jr Lecturer posts were there.” I said , but as there was no Social work Subject at Intermediate level I was not posted with intermediate Board but with UGC from the very beginning so you cannot say that I was junior Lecturer at the time of my posting. She said,’ I do not know mam, there is a GO which says that all who were posted in that year were considered Jr Lecturers for three years, and thereby your service as Lecturer will be cut off for those three years. It means you cannot meet the required years for full pension, and your emoluments after the retirement also will be lessen to half”
I said, if it is so, give me those GO orders for further enquiry, and I want to apply again with my own explanation, through the Principal. ” With that I requested principal to sign the requisition letter on my behalf, but she called Miss V to the office and asked her in front of me is there any other way to solve this problem DHE office and we will try to change the year 1976 appointment as Lecturer, and she can escape the retrenchment of three years of service for counting the pension. I knew these people are dancing to the tune of the bribers there in the DHE office and trying to fool me. What they were saying was absurd, I was shocked to hear Principal T also asking me to give away the bribe. Clerk V said in front of sr.T like this, “sister there is a way to help miss from not cutting three years service, If she give 10000 rupees we will go and ask the concerned staff to change her Service Register by adding those three years to her service as Lecturer.” I was astonished to hear their conversation. God helped me to speak aptly by sending His Holy Spirit upon me, not knowing what I was saying, my mouth uttered sharp words like this. I completely ignored the Principal, and straight away addressed clerk V, like this “ all this looks like a planned thing for me, and how dare those DHE people tamper my Service Register and change the dates of appointments? What I deserve I will get, even if it is only half of the pension, or half of the emoluments it is enough for me,, I will get only what I deserve.. but I will not give one single pie. If you ask me for Rs20000/- for the poor I will consider giving , but as a bribe I won’t give not even a single pie..” Then the principal told me,’ Miss then you need to take your service register and papers to DHE office all by yourself… will you go?” I said , “yes I will go, but as usual Thota Venkateswaroa is going with this work, is it not?… send him on behalf of me, I will pay the TA and DA to him. For this proposal of mine she accepted. With these words I took leave from her and came home, and knelt down and yielded to His will. My heart was throbbing loudly. After prayer a sort of quietness enfolded me.
I had no one to share my grief, or to get some support, I was alone in my bedroom. After two hours, I got a phone call from Principal, telling me the papers will be sent to DHE office by courier, and Thota Venkateshwarao is busy with some other work. There seems a tinge of threat in her voice. Was she threatening me that my papers would be thrown into the dustbin if not given by hand. But whatever be their intention good or bad, I trusted in the Living God, so immediately I told her, “Sister, that would be the best thing to do, I am praying and everything will be done according to His will”
I retired on 31st of August 2010( 58 years) and I was attacked with high fever of 104f heat from 5th September. Terrible joint pains, and bed ridden for three months. IN this stature one day I went out to buy some vegetables but could not reach home due to aching legs. I sat in the church which was adjacent to my home. I asked one boy to go and open the main gate of my home from the next street and I gave him the main gate keys to enter into the house and open the back door adjacent to the church. I sat on one of the benches and prayed for help for my pension to be released without bribe. At that moment one couple was coming out of the prayer hall. I used to take care of that boy and his old mother, very lovingly by providing food and meeting other needs as they were poor and from a village. Mr. M R got a good job here in our place, later he got married to a woman whom I knew for many years. As soon as they saw me wished me and told me as that day was their wedding day they came to the chapel to pray and asked me to pray over them. After the prayer, he asked me about my pension and whether I had gone through the process. I told them what all that happened and asked them to pray for the issue. Mohan Rao said, “ Aunty, once those papers from DHE office are released to AG office let me know, the AG General Mr. Israel is an honest man, he was my roommate when I was doing my PG in Agriculture , in Bapatla. I have met him only a month ago, he gave me his mobile number and told me if there is any work in the AG office that he would help. So tell me aunty when your papers reach the AG office I will call him and your work will be done.”
I was completely sick, my face, legs and limbs were inflamed. I sat there helplessly trying to reach home with a vegetable bag. Not able to walk, I was resting there for a while. This couple came there at that moment and talked like this. Is it a coincidence? Is it fate? Did something happen just like that? Is it luck as heathens claim?
What I was hearing was like a dream for me. I thanked him immensely for this unforeseen help he extended ,by the grace of God. Later when I reached home I praised God and informed my children and to a boy who does errands to me when he is free and could spare some time for me in his leisure timings with timely advice and with his influence in the local area as he is also an honest journalist. I still remember telling them every detail of the incident and how God kept a God fearing general in AG office and how he is a friend of Mohan Rao, my spiritual son
My heart and soul was praising God. I was not in a position to go to Hyderabad to pursue the matter. I am alone and sick. I have no help in speaking humanly. Only God is my refuge and fortress. He sent His help unexpectedly.
I know that Power belongs to God, His power is not limited… Faith does not come instantly, it has to be exercised daily in every event, it comes only when we listen to His word carefully and by experience we have to taste it… God prepared me from 1976…even before that my dad a police officer , took many bribes, in his job, but he sold the fertile land in E.G.Dt and gave that lump sum money as restitution money in the House of God, we never regret for it, we did not have any property as we parted with the lands we had as restitution, we were happy to do so. We sought a place in heaven not in this world. So my heart was prepared to face any consequences about this bribe right from the beginning of the job… so at the end of this job this temptation of bribe did not move me an inch.
The story did not stop here, there were still more hurdles, and I had to exercise my faith basing upon that promise I got in case of my husband’s transfer in 1992…Psalms 62:11 One thing God spoken two things I have heard Power belongs to God—-
Thus my pension papers were sent to DHE office, I resolved to pray for this pension to be sanctioned without any bribe to be given. I went to Vizag, where my dad built a three storied building, telling us each floor consists of 8 rooms belonging to one to each girl, The ground floor was mine and middle floor is for the next girl, and the top floor to the last girl. I went there to renovate the building which was in ruins by 2010.. ( why and by whom I will write in another blog) So I was with my swollen legs toiling to the core of my life all alone … I was there for three months to complete this task. At that time I got information that those papers were sent to the AG office, now I have to pray for this issue. When I told about this and asked for prayer, my friend in eluru reminded me that Mr M promised to help me once the papers were sent to the AG office. So immediately I called him and told him the details of the pension. He contacted his friend The General of the Ag office. Within two days he again told me that the papers were signed and the General told him to send any one immediately to pick the papers from his table itself, lest if they fall in the hands of the clerk concerned again they would demand a bribe. He urged Mohan Rao to send someone local to come immediately to pick up the papers.
This is something extraordinary on behalf of the boss telling the lay people to pick up papers from his table. Then and there before the file goes to the desk of the briber. Mr M told me,” aunty do u remember one particular girl E whom you lead to the Lord? Her husband Mr B is now in Hyderabad , he took his daughter to attend an exam , and the centre of that exam is just opposite to the AG office and I told him to pick the papers from the General table before the clerk comes and claims the papers. So he picked those papers and will bring those to Eluru tomorrow, when you come you can take those from me. ”
“ You are the God who performs miracles; You display Your power among peoples? Psalm 77:14
What a miraculous thing that happened. What a wonderful God is He!!! The next day I went to Eluru and received those papers from Mr M and entrusted those to a friend who was a journalist and my right hand in every work of mine in the absence of my children. This journalist is an up righteous man and hard worker never take bribe though his job nature provides ample incidents to get bribe. He is a real Christian.
He took those papers to the Treasury office, surprisingly a known neighbour was in the seat concerned. He was given due respect and finished the work quickly without asking for a single bribe as it was their wont.
Next he only took the papers to the Sub treasury office and submitted on behalf of me, he was looking after the education department of the state. The superintendent welcomed him with due respect and finished the work within a day. Whereas my colleagues’ work was still pending and they were waiting in the que holding bribe money in their hands. In fact one of colleague who was a good friend of mine told me that “Leela in Treasury office the work won’t be done easily, unless we shed some money as bribe to those people”–I have great God I prostrated at His feet. “ The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. Proverbs 18:10
On the day of receiving the check he asked me to come to the office and I was taken right into the chamber of the officer and the clerks who were known for taking bribes , came to the table where I was seated in front of the Superintendent to take my signatures and gave the cheques. By evening I received all my emoluments and pension orders without any delay.
I felt like I was with my Police officer Dad who was given due respect whenever we go into the city on some errand. I felt the same way with this friend of mine, Mr MM journalist.
While this work was being done, without any hiccups of bribe my friends and my colleagues still feel this is a mystery as they did give a lot of money on a percentage basis to these officers, whereas I escaped it without giving even a single pie as bribe only by God’s grace, and mighty power.
In fact my full service of 34 and half years counted, and I got my full pension and full emoluments.
But the story of the pension did not end here.
It so happened that some of us were retired from the post with the old pay scale, and the revised pay scale is applicable so I need to send those papers of revised pay pension again to DHE office. This time the real urge to claim the promise of ‘Once I heard, but twice it happened. “God hath spoken once, twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God” Psalm 62:11
This promise came in handy to my rescue. I started to pray louder claiming this promise.
But this time as I was not in the service, I had to take the papers to the DHE office for scrutiny all by myself . We have some good hearted elderly relative who know the office and took me there. He was with me all through the process. I went to get my SR and some papers to get the signature of the higher official on them.. I was praying. I never stepped into any office for personal work like this before.
This time the clerks in DHE office played a game with me. Making me stand there for hours together, the attender comes and tells me if I pay Rs 300/some money, the papers would be given to me signed by the officer and the SR will be handed over to me etc etc.
This is the first time I was ever told to give a bribe on my face. I know the money to give is in my hand bag, Rs. 5000/ but where my faith lies? Is it in my bag or in my God?
I had to talk sternly, and also act docile , asking those clerks to finish the work. There was a lady clerk , on her table a bunch of Service registers laying there.. I need to get my SR to submit in the college office. I approached her and asked for my SR very politely. She did not answer me. I kept on asking her in the time gap period of 10 minutes. At last she answered me like this, “See, I have so much work at hand, ask the clerk behind me to come and take your SR and give it to you” Her tone was irritatingly annoying. There was a Godrej safe behind her. Behind that a man sat in the chair leaning his chair to the wall behind him. I took one step from the lady to the male clerk and politely said my need to get my SR (Service Register) from the table of the lady clerk. This man very adamantly answered me: “Why should I give . Ask her to give it to you”. I took one step towards he, and said to her, “ I told the clerk behind you what you told me. He is not willing to come to your table, and asked you, yourself, take the register and give it to me”
I said to her in a low voice, for which she shouted at me and said, “ It’s his duty to give SR, ask him to come and search your SR and give it to you.” I took one step again towards him and asked him to search for the SR as per the order of the lady clerk. He did not answer for a while . left the seat and went outside the room. I was standing at his chair like a statue patiently. After half an hour he came and bumped into his chair. I asked him again politely, The relative of mine was standing at the door of the room and staring at the humiliation I was exposed to,
I asked him again for him to come and search the SR in the bundle on the Lady clerk table. This time the male clerk shouted at his pitch “No I won’t, let her give it to you” Both of them can hear the answers they give to me very vividly because they are only step apart. I stepped back to her and said ” Madam if you allow me I will search my SR among these bundles, because he is not willing to search’ she said loudly “No you can’t”.
I took three steps back and stood opposite the Godrej in between those two people and said bit louder
“ This is too much, only Godrej is between you. You are not willing to give my SR. Nor will you allow me to search mine in these bundles. What is this? I will go and complain to Sunitha IAS. I would see Sunitha IAS and would ask her why you are not able to find out my service register and give it to me for further dealings.”
I saw the name board of Sunitha IAS while walking into the corridor. Somehow God inspired me, at that moment to use the name of the higher authority over them. I spoke in fluent English, saying thus, briskly walked out of the room while the rest of the clerks were staring at me. My relative brother followed me to the sofa in front of the Sunitha IAS office.
Telling them like that I went and sat at the portico of the officer, waiting for her for 2 hours. My relative brother asked me to give my consent to give that Rs. 300 as per the demand of the attender. I told him while traces of tears were in my eyes, about my father and my husband and how they stood against the bribe. I told him the incident, how I was humiliated in college, how I stood against them and how God promised me to send my husband as my help in my need, how he got transferred without giving a single pie to the boss who was known to devour bribes. I told him these incidents in a low shaking voice. Only two of us were waiting for her. Later one girl came and sat on another sofa, later MLA Pill Subhash garu came and sat there waiting for Sunita IAS. He asked me whether I needed any help. I don’t know what made him ask me this. I can use his influence by telling the incident happening in the office. But I did not .
At last she came and Pili Subhash garu MLA came to meet her. He asked me what I needed. I did not tell him my predicament. He met her and went away. Another lady went inside to meet her and went away. I was praying in my heart. her attender asked me whether I wanted to meet Sunitha, but I nodded negatively. because I knew my Lord is the higher authority and as I was sitting there and praying to Him I knew He would do this on my behalf. Prayer gave me an unknown quietness in my soul. I was in His presence. I knew He will not put me shame. 3 hours passed away since I left the lady clerk room
.Att that moment the first attender who demanded Rs. 300/ came to me, and told me to come and take SR which was with another clerk in the room.
The attender got my signature in a notebook that I received my SR, along with it some papers were given and the attender told me to get the signature of Sr. Executive Officer. They asked me to go and meet someone who was not there. My brother went down the stairs and searched for the officer but was told he did not come to the office that day. I was waiting in the corridor but the attendant rescued me and took me to another concerned engineer who was about to leave for home at 5pm. I went into his chamber to introduce myself and told him I need his signature on some papers as per the clerks told me. He took the papers from me, skimmed them at a glance and immediately signed my papers. While he was signing the papers, the concerned male clerk rushed into the room at once anxiously and objected to signing. The officer finished signing by that time and asked the clerk the reason. He said that I need to get a fresh application again from the college. For which the officer answered sharply, ” I have signed, no more of this issue now” and gave those papers to my hand and immediately left his chamber.
The story of Persian king Ahasuerus ( XERXES 1) and Mordecai , Haman relived in that DHE office once again.
While returning from the DHE office I saw the attender on the road, I called him and gave him some amount as a gift and my Christian magazine AMMA VODI for his personal use.
Thus I received my full pension and full emoluments. But in the year 2014 again I got some arrears , again the college clerk tried to woo me for the bribe to get those released. I was adamant as it was, and did not pay a single pie… tried many means to win, see the people of this world pursue the others to do wrong things, they are all ways very obstinate, they never give up even on hard cases like me. But often we Christians do lose hope easily to win a soul.