By Ihechukwu Njoku
Renowned Nigerian Pastor T.B. Joshua turns 50 on Wednesday June 12th 2013. In his characteristically unconventional style, he has called for the focus of the celebration to be redirected towards care for the less privileged and job creation for unemployed graduates.
Speaking on his popular broadcast platform Emmanuel TV, Joshua called on well-wishers who desired to give in cash or kind towards the golden occasion to rather channel such resources into charitable endeavours. “The best way to celebrate this birthday is to be on your knees and thank God for the life of T.B. Joshua. Pray for the Church of God for a strong bond of love. Pray for your nation and the whole world and rededicate yourself to the acts of giving. Be a father to the fatherless and a benefactor to the needy. Raise the standard of living through the little you are going to invest,” Joshua exhorted congregants. “Those things you have for T.B. Joshua, even what you will spend on a greeting card, put it together and spend it on this commission.”
The noted philanthropist challenged viewers to examine the listed names on their phones, asking how many people were friends with the under-privileged or bedridden. “You must have many orphans and those on the sick bed as friends. Give them a call. Be a prayer partner with them and let them know there is hope. Become part of their family,” he passionately counselled.
He stated his priority project was facilitating the creation of jobs for frustrated graduates, calling on all in a position to support job-seekers to come forward. “We must get jobs for people who are jobless. This is the number one project for my 50th birthday. I am going to pursue it. Graduates are everywhere without a job. This birthday, it will be an assignment for me.”
He bemoaned the state of youth worldwide, stating a bleak future lay ahead if urgent action was not taken by those in a position to help. “If you listen to the graduates of today, you will be afraid of the future. If something is not done quickly, you will not be able to sleep and close your eyes in the future. Tomorrow will be very tough; we have to come together and do something now.”
Last week, the project began in earnest with Joshua facilitating the employment of 24 graduates in jobs, 22 of whom were not members of The SCOAN. He called on churches worldwide to join in the call for job creation with no strings attached. “If every church and organization embarks on telling people in the position to get graduates jobs instead of campaigning for money and prosperity, it will change the situation,” he stated.
He further added that these actions should not be determined by time or season. “When you start, don’t stop – let it be part of you forever. Your rewards in life are determined by how many people you have helped and the problems you have solved. This is the way the Lord wants us to celebrate this birthday at 50.”
On a personal note, Joshua said the occasion was a sober moment for appreciation of God’s goodness in his life and added determination for greater service to Him and humanity. “To whom much is given, much is expected. The Lord has given me so much in all areas of my life which I cannot reciprocate. What an undeserved blessing! At 50, I should be more grateful to God and show more commitment to His service,” the Nigerian pastor stated. Stressing that the source of his success lay in the closeness of his relationship with God, Joshua revealed, “If I could give you one clue to my success, I would say I took care of the depth of my relationship with God and He took care of the breadth of my success. Jesus will do the same for you!”
Born on June 12th 1963 in Ondo State, Nigeria, T.B. Joshua’s rise from a poverty-stricken home to an internationally renowned minister of God is nothing short of remarkable. With his birth shrouded in mystery, legend has it that Joshua was in his mother’s womb for 15 months. It is also claimed he narrowly avoided death seven days after his birth after a quarry explosion near his house sent rocks through its roof, missing him by inches. From dropping out of secondary school in his first year to working in a poultry farm carrying chicken waste; from teaching little children while attending evening classes to washing people’s legs on the muddy streets of Lagos; from a forty day fast to receiving a divine call and starting a ministry with a mere eight members – the life of T.B. Joshua is indeed a journey of amazing grace. Today, countless thousands journey weekly to his abode in the heart of Ikotun-Egbe, Lagos to seek spiritual solace with millions more tuning in to watch what is reputed to be Africa’s most popular station, Emmanuel TV.
Ihechukwu Njoku – freelance Nigerian Journalist