By Bola Bolawole
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Last week, our spiritual Daddy, Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye, aka Daddy G. O., the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) turned an octogenarian; precisely on Wednesday, March 2, 2022. Let somebody shout halleluyah! To mark the event, a lot of activities were lined up, mostly aimed at winning souls. Winning eighty million souls was the target, a million souls for each of the years it has pleased God to let our Daddy live so far on Mother Earth. Special evangelism teams were set up everywhere there was an RCCG church to engage in house-to-house, one-on-one personal evangelism; crusades were organized everywhere; and these were followed with “light-up” this and “light-up” that city all over the place, culminating in the “Light Up Lagos “ event of Saturday, February 26, 2022. Daddy’s 80th birthday must also have witnessed some wining and dining and the richly-deserved “feferity” that accompany such occasions but the prime of place given to soul-winning was unmistakable. The spiritual content climaxed with a week-long Special Holy Ghost Service rounded off last Sunday, March 6 with thanksgiving service at the RCCG Redemption Camp along the Lagos-Ibadan expressway. Happy birthday, beloveth Daddy! Long may you live, in good health, sound mind and great prosperity in Jesus mighty name! (3 John 1:2). May you get better – and wax stronger – with age!
It is wisdom to stay clear of wild celebrations and revellings (Galatians 5:21) but marking events, especially landmark events, is appropriate, more so when such is done in a godly manner, like Daddy G. O. and many other men (and women) of God do – in organizing spiritually-uplifting programmes, visiting prisons, hospitals, motherless and old people’s homes, etc. to minister hope to the hopeless and feed God’s flock as He commanded us in John 21: 15–17. Only a sluggard lives his life not counting the days, allowing himself to be tossed here and there by all manner of ill-winds (Ephesians 4:14). For a moment wasted is part of one’s precious life – which can never be regained! Little wonder, then, that Psalm 90:12 says: “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom”.
Eighty is a landmark. Biblestudy.org in “The meaning of Numbers: The Number 80” explains it this way: Part of the meaning of the number 80 comes from the fact that it can represent the start or duration of freedom from oppressors. Moses was 80…when (he) challenged Pharaoh to free the children of Israel from their bondage (Exodus 7:7). Moses, whom God blessed by not having his strength or eyesight diminish as he aged, lived to the age of 120 (Deuteronomy 34:7). Ehud was a rare left-handed warrior in ancient Israel. He freed the people from 18 years of Moabite oppression by killing their king and rallying the Israelites around his cause. After his victory, he was Israel’s Judge for 80 years, the longest person to serve in the position (Judges 3:12 – 30). King Solomon, according to the Bible, used 80,000 (80 x 1000) aliens living in Israel to dig stones out of quarries that would be used to build God’s temple in Jerusalem (1Kings 5:15, 2 Chronicles 2:17-18)… The only Psalm which credits Moses for writing it is Psalm 90 (see verse 1). In his prayerful hymn to God, he declares that humans live an average of 70 years. If, however, they are strong, they can live to the ripe old age of 80… Moses’ statement that humans live 70 to 80 years, even though made more than 3,500 years ago, is surprisingly accurate today! According to the CIA Factbook, life expectancy in the world is almost 70 years (69.8). Men live an average of close to 68 years and women’s average living is 72. In the United States, a male can expect to live almost 78 years with females living up to 82. The average for those in America is 80. The two countries in the world with the highest average life expectancy are Japan and Singapore. Their citizens can expect to live 5.5 more years than the U.S. average of 80! King Uzziah of Judah, after winning several battles against his enemies, became a strong and respected leader who was well-known abroad (2 Chronicles 26:1-15). He soon, however, became filled with vanity and pride. In an impulsive act, he attempted to offer incense at Jerusalem’s temple, a ceremony only priests could perform. Azariah the High Priest, along with 80 other priests, confronted Uzziah in the temple over his intentions. The king, as he grew angry with the priests, was struck with leprosy (2 Chronicles 26: 1-21)…”
God clearly had a purpose for Moses’ life from Day One but it was at age 80 that his ministry actually began – and he lived for 120 years. In the same manner the trajectory of Daddy G. O. depicts that of a man God had ordained even from the womb, like he did Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:5) and like Moses, his ministry will, from age 80, begin to experience an explosion that will daze many! Ehud judged Israel for 80 years; Pastor EA Adeboye became RCCG’s General Overseer in 1981, which is a little over 40 years. Like Ehud, he has 40 more years as “judge” – or, better still, as “coach”, a term he prefers to use! – if the Lord tarries!
What of Caleb, one of the two spies who brought good tidings to Moses from the land they had been sent to spy? It was at age 80 that he approached Joshua with the demand “Give me this mountain!” (Joshua 14:6-15). Likewise, Daddy will, from age 80, receive exceptional grace and God’s backing like never before to possess his possessions as well as possess the gates of his enemies (Obadiah 1:17).
The good Lord has been kind to Daddy G. O.; who has by far overshot the Nigerian life expectancy which, according to 2019 statistics, is 54.69 years. He met and surpassed Moses’ 70 years – and even now, the 80 years! I dare to say that our Daddy is not looking back (Luke 9:62) for his plate is still full. What with the ongoing Kilometre 3 x 3 auditorium? It is not deniable that God has done great works through Daddy but RCCG Vision Number 3 is yet to be fulfilled: To have a member of RCCG in every family of all nations” So also is Mission Number 5 still work in progress: To…plant churches within five minutes walking distance in every city and town of developing countries and within five minutes driving distance in every city and town of developed countries” The conclusion of the matter, then, is this: For our Daddy, life begins at 80 and the best is yet to come! Fasten your seat belt!
I have listened to Daddy’s tapes; I have also watched him preach on TV and online. I have attended a countless number of programmes where he had ministered. I have also seen him walk by, with a plethora of aides keeping people away from him. It was Daddy who anointed and laid hands on me to ordain me a Deacon. Mummy G. O. anointed and laid hands on me to ordain me an Assistant Pastor. I have encountered Daddy in a few of my dreams – two of which remain evergreen in my memory. I had been privileged to meet Daddy and Mummy G. O. once – face-to-face! A very big man of God that I advised in one of my write-ups to reduce his frequency at the seat of power during the Jonathan presidency took offence and reported me to Daddy and Mummy. I first appeared before Mummy; the next day I appeared before Daddy. It was during the Special Holy Ghost Service that marked Daddy’s 71st birthday. Thinking the end had come to my sojourn in RCCG, I packed my things before going to answer Mummy and Daddy’s summon! Mummy and Daddy, however, treated me, a mere parish pastor then, with utmost courtesy that hasn’t stopped surprising me. Daddy, insisting that I sit down, specifically told me: “Pastor, I want to talk to you as father to his son”!
I saw at close quarters the great sacrifice Daddy and Mummy make, especially in fasting. Mummy stopped intermittently to catch her breath throughout the few words she said to me. I said: Mummy, the Lord is your strength” And she replied, “Amen”! Then, she laid hands on me and blessed me. I was more forward in my father-and-son exchange with Daddy. I said: Dad, if you were the one I advised this way, what would you have done?” Daddy answered: “I will call you like I have done, ask questions and take advice where necessary” I said: Dad, why did so-so-and-so not do exactly what you would have done?” I will not tell you Daddy’s response! Daddy then stood up and said “I am tired!” I prayed for Daddy and he said “Amen” Then he laid hands on me and blessed me.
I may – or I may not – have another opportunity of one-on-one with Mummy and Daddy but the one that I had is enough to last me for a lifetime! From son to his father: Happy birthday, Daddy!
Former Editor of PUNCH newspapers and Chairman of its Editorial Board, BOLAWOLE writes the TREASURES column in the New Telegraph newspaper and the ON THE LORD’S DAY column in the Sunday Tribune newspaper. He is also a public affairs analyst on radio and television.