JERUSALEM—Dissatisfied with dwindling receipts in recent years, redeemer of humanity Jesus Christ issued a rare public statement Monday, sharply criticizing His followers' lack of generosity and demanding a marked increase in their contributions to the long-standing religion based upon belief in Him.
"Historically, I have asked for no more than 10 percent of the total earnings of my flock," said Christ in a 25-minute statement aired on Christian television stations throughout the world, including Trinity Broadcasting Network, Eternal Word Television, and Cristo Telemundo. "But recent cost analyses by my accountants indicate that current donations from my believers are not at this level and are insufficient to meet my earthly financial needs."
Christ underscored his point with an earning/expenditure chart illustrating that in the first quarter of 1997, He listened to an average of 233 million prayers per day while collecting daily revenues of $6 million.
"This works out to just two and a half cents per prayer, which barely even covers my overhead," Christ said. "If this sort of fiscal imbalance continues, I may have to answer even fewer prayers in the future."
"In my Father's house are many mansions," Christ said. "They are not cheap to maintain."
Christ cited Warner Robins, GA, resident Willard Baines as a prime example of the sort of tight-fisted follower with whom He is frustrated.
"Mr. Baines owns a grain-and-feed business that takes in some $800,000 a year, thanks in no small part to his faith in Me. Yet, last Sunday, he put just a single dollar in his church's collection plate," Christ said. "If I am not mistaken, this works out to a donation of just .00010052 percent of his overall gross-adjusted income for the said fiscal period, a far cry from the recommended 10 percent."
"He also lusted after his niece on two occasions," the Savior said.
Christ assured followers that He still possesses a boundless love for all humanity and that those who accept Him into their hearts will know salvation and everlasting life in Heaven, but expressed frustration over the feeling that He has "not, in my estimation, been getting my love's worth in return."
"My love," Christ said, "which passeth all human understanding and shines from the countenance of God our heavenly Father, shall be all you need and desire all the days of your lives. But I do need a reasonably decent budget to make that happen."
Christ told followers that his ancient covenant with humanity—in which He shall act as the people's shepherd, comfort them with His rod and staff, and shelter them all the days of their lives—is as good a value as they are likely to find anywhere.
"It is true that, in this era of downsizing and high prices, it can sometimes be difficult for a person to give unto Me 10 percent or more of their income, and still have enough left over for that new microwave or big-screen TV they've had their eye on," He said. "But do not forget that it is almost impossible for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
Christ's most esteemed Earthly messengers are hailing Monday's statement as long overdue. "I am pleased that Jesus has delivered this important message to the people of the world," Pope John Paul II said. "The Catholic Church must begin collecting more money now if it is to continue to collect money in the future."
Christians worldwide are already responding to their savior's call.
"I guess I could live without a college education," said Owensboro, KY, Christian and mother of four Brenda Williams, 34, who recently dropped out of community college after donating to her church over $1,500 she had saved for tuition. "Some of my science courses contradicted the word of God, anyway."