General Overseer of Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Adeboye’s first sermon of the New Year is a sermon for all Nigerians who survived 2022 with its attendant calamities that took many lives. It is also partly a humorous memoir which I captured for my readers:
I discovered something while I was preparing for the New Year, something that we’ve not been doing, that we should be doing from now onwards. And that is, we have not been celebrating. Many a times, you wait for people to celebrate you and they don’t show up. I discovered that scripturally speaking, it is good to celebrate yourself. You will be helping yourself by visiting two or three people and telling them: “Celebrate me, I am a survivor.” The redheaded lizard jumped down from an iroko tree and nodded its head three times. The elders say what he was saying is: “I tried. If nobody is praising me, I will praise myself.”
When you say you are a survivor, let your neighbour know. Ebola came, I survived. Coronavirus came, I survived. Kidnappers are out there, I survived. Bandits are out there, I survived. There are murderers wearing police uniform, I survived. Tell three or four people: “I am a survivor. Celebrate me, men. I am a survivor. I survived 2020. I survived 2021. I survived 2022.”
Why do I have to celebrate myself? When you go through Genesis Chapter One, you have a lesson to learn from God. When He finished the work of the first day—because there was nobody around to celebrate Him—He looked at everything He had done the first day and said: “This is good. There is nobody to say it to me, so I say it to myself.” The second day: “This is good.” The third day: “This is good.” The fourth day: “This is good.” The fifth day: “This is good.” The sixth day, He said: “Maybe I better create somebody who probably would be celebrating me later on.” When He finished creating man, He said: “Now, this is very good.” And then, He took a whole day off to celebrate. And you know what? You don’t have to be rich to celebrate. When I graduated in 1967, nobody attended my graduation ceremony, except the girl that I finally married. Other people’s parents were coming with big cars to come and celebrate with them. Nobody came for my celebration. The same thing with my best friend. The only fellow who came was the girlfriend he too finally married. How did we celebrate? We went to one Mama Buka. Those of you who don’t go to buka, you don’t know what you are missing. Mama Buka can smell when the food is right, the salt is right, the pepper is right, everything is just right. My friend and I and our two girlfriends branched at the buka, bought four big wraps of amala, eight pieces of meat which included pomo, original raincoat. We finished the thing, came out and rounded it off with a bottle of Coke. Me, I am telling you that we celebrated. On the first of January, I saw a booli seller and I said: “This is good.”
For us Christians, probably because we do not celebrate, that’s why we don’t praise God enough. Because as you are celebrating that you are a survivor, it will dawn on you that you survived only because somebody was taking care of you. David said in Psalm 18 verse 35: “Your gentleness has made me great.” You know what he is saying? I am great. But that greatness came because of God. I am alive today because new every morning is His mercy. One of my house helps, when we are having morning devotion and we ask her to pray, she will include in her prayer any time: “God, I thank you because not everybody who slept yesterday is awake this morning.” There were people who did not survive 2022 because they died on the 31st of December. You are here, you survived because somebody is taking care of you. Let me hear somebody shout Hallelujah!
Paul, the Apostle said in I Corinthians 15: 10 that “I am what I am by the grace of God.” You see, there are so many things we don’t even think about when it comes to praising God. The other day I was just praying. And I remembered a very wealthy man. He sat down to eat pounded yam. He took the first morsel and he remembered something he wanted to say. He tried to swallow and tried to speak at the same time. And the morsel stuck in his throat. Before he got to the hospital, he was dead. How many morsels have you been swallowing? The doctors would tell you there is a valve between where the voice is coming from and where the food should go down. And you are eating and talking. And the valve is going like this, swinging right, left, right left, so that you can eat and talk and not choke.
David says in Psalm 34 from verse one to three: “I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” I would bless Him at all times. I am not going to wait till Thanksgiving Sunday before I bless the Lord. I am not going to wait till the annual thanksgiving before I bless the Lord. I bless the Lord at all times. I bless the Lord every day. Why? Because just like that lady said it’s not everybody who slept who woke up. There are some of us, the devil does not want us to wake up because he knows that each time we wake up, there is trouble for him. He knows that if he can just kill this one before the morning, the trouble would be less. Nobody is powerful when he is sleeping. Only there is somebody who neither sleeps nor slumbers. Those of you who are high and mighty, you have bodyguards and so on, but let me tell you something: if you rely on bodyguards, you are dead. Oh, we have a few of them at Redemption Camp. I remember one occasion, we just finished the convention and everybody was resting and I was going round at night, praising God. I got to one night guard, he was sitting on a chair and there was a second chair behind him, he was fast asleep. So I sat on the chair next to him, listening to his snoring. But a mosquito was passing by and he wanted to slap the mosquito and he nearly slapped me. I saw another one. This one wasn’t even pretending. He removed his shoes, he put two chairs together and was laying down there fast asleep. I just took his torchlight, took it some distance away and left it, so that when he wakes in the morning, he would know he had had a visitor. There is only one fellow who neither sleeps nor slumbers. He is never tired. He is watching over you, watching over your children, watching over your business, settling whatever problem you have tonight, so that weeping may endure for the night, the joy may come in the morning. Will you shout Hallelujah to Him?