Sunday May 17th 2015 was a beautiful day. It started out as any other Sunday, left the house 6am to get to our mainland centre for our 7am service and by 1pm our fourth service in the island centre had rounded up and I was just relieved to be dragging my big tummy and tired body home. Until I realised I wasn’t done for the day.
We had been invited to a very private dinner to honour a great man of God, Bishop Francis Wale Oke.
We had just recently been connected to him by my pastor Rev Femi Albert Oduwole
and we just totally loved him. His simplicity, his wisdom, his love for God and his warmth….oh! Bishop is so warm. He’s so friendly, you meet him for the first time and you feel like you have known him all your life. He laughs and it is one of those rare and authentic kinds that have somehow become extinct with the emergence of social media and its #LOL #ROTFL or even #LWKMD (all types usually without even as much as a smile on the face) He just exudes the friendliness and compassion of Jesus.
Bishop is the kind of man that you reach out your hands for a handshake and he will grab you in for a rich full hug. I have seen this happen many timies with my husband. So I knew that even if I had to be rolled in on a stretcher with an IV sticking out of my arm I would not miss this day for anything.
So I got dolled up thanks to @duprinahsmakeover
And off we went. It was a very quaint and lovely event. However we got there quite late as we walked in just before Bishop started speaking. In retrospect though I can’t say we were late. I think God planned for us to be there at just that time. Follow me just a bit longer and you will soon see why.
I’ve always been blessed by Bishop from my teenage years when I first read his book Alone With God till date but the story I heard him tell that night, I believe was the real reason God wanted me at that meeting that night.
He shared a story (I will give a summary since I don’t have exact details) of how as a young man who had just given his heart to Jesus, he and another friend were in a village in Ile-Ife organising crusades and at night they would sleep in an empty classroom on the floor. It was such a rewarding time as many were coming to the knowledge of Christ and were getting saved. They invited an evangelist from Ibadan to come minister. The man arrived with a briefcase, shiny shoes and a beautifully tailored suit. They were all so excited.
Once the Man of God arrived, he asked where he would be sleeping, they replied that they had all been sleeping on the bare floor in the classroom. The next question he asked caused even I to open my mouth. “So”, he asked “where will I hang my suit?” and picked up his suitcase and stormed out of the place amidst pleadings and begging from Bishop and his friends.
Bishop said he broke down and cried. He wept and wept till he could weep no more. Then with a tear stained face and a heart broken in a million places, he made a vow to God that night. He said, ” father, if you will have me. Once I graduate, I will serve you all the days of my life and I will never ask you where I will hang my suit. ”
I was completely broken. Wait! Before you judge the shiny suit evangelist. How many times have you asked God where to hang your suit?
How many times have you stayed at home because in your exact words “I didn’t have anything to wear to church except…and I wore it last week ”
How many times have you spent your tithe instead of paying it because “I’m broke. God will understand ”
How many times have you told some in need “abeg I don’t have money now” and turned around to buy that N58000 weave.
How many times have you felt the urge to preach in a bus and when you looked around you saw one or two people you know especially that cute guy then said to yourself “what will people say?”
How many times have they asked you to come minister in song and you first asked “how much is the honorarium?” to sing about Jesus who died for free.
How many times have you seen that brother or sister who needs a transplant and you keep telling them it is well. You are healed in Jesus name and you never sign a cheque.
How many times do you make a new outfit, get a mani and pedi, a new hairstyle just to look great for a programme and never put a dime on the offering basket?
Lord knows how many times we have asked where to hang our suits.
I’ve always been extravagant in my love for God which is why it seems I go overboard for any Just Us Girls Naija programmes but when I heard Bishops vow on that night, I knew I had to up my game. You see what He reminded me was that Jesus held nothing back to die for us. He was extravagant and it was a complete sacrifice so when we think of ourselves first, we actually negate everything He did on the cross.
Bishop has lived like that for forty years and even though he’s never asked….he’s never lacked suits or where to hang them.
….and on top of it all, he’s still strong and like Caleb still rearing to claim more territories for Jesus….in suits
I salute you sir but more importantly I’m inspired by you to go all out in my love for Jesus.
This message couldn’t have come at a better time for me for two reasons:
One, I struggled a lot with this year’s WWW2015.
Every year it costs us so much and many people have asked us to charge just to keep it going and my stand has always been freely were we given so we must freely give besides how do you charge people to come and worship God. Isn’t the whole purpose defeated?
So when I got the leading that this year’s WWW would be a 3 day event. I immediately thought I’m going to America to have my baby and that means spending a lot of money. My next question without realising it was “where will I hang my suit?” I thought of my bills before I thought of God’s bills. I repented that night. God owes no man. In fact I’ve decided now that this year’s event will reflect God’s splendour more than any other. Why? Because since He gave me the suit, he will definitely give me where to hang it. So all my WWW bills and my America bills will all be paid. I hope you will be a part of doing it big for God this year. Never mind your suit.
Then two, yesterday Sunday 24th of May makes it exactly 23 years since I gave my heart to Jesus. I haven’t regretted it one day. Now I’m challenged to be even more extravagant in my love for Jesus. No turning back…