How Rev Ladi Thompson “surprised” friends on his 60th birthday, what Osinbajo said

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When you are a nobody, you need material things to define you. But we already know our definition as believers in Christ. So we don’t need material things for validation.Rev Ladi  Thompson

 

He was 60 on August 21, 2021. But he refused to roll out the drums. Attempts to force celebration on him did not work either. His family members and the church he oversees had planned a ‘coup’, hoping to take him by surprise, but he got wind, and quickly changed the narrative.

Rather than put up a bogus celebration, Rev Ladi Thompson reached out to some leaders in the church in less than 24 hours to his birthday; to come for a live debate on how birthdays should be celebrated.

Though very close to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, he notified him at a time he won’t be able to prepare his entourage to come. But the VP won’t let the day pass. He sent a video message to rejoice with him sharing rare thoughts.

For those who know Rev Thompson; founder of Living Waters Unlimited Church; his 60th birthday would have just been a perfect day to make some noise and get some attention to himself. It would have been a day to attract some favour as it were. But he won’t have any of that. Rather, he held to his age-long belief of no celebration.

The reason for this stance is not far-fetched. He had schooled in the North at the Ahmadu Bello University and had experienced the repression of Christians and many riots that claimed lives. Over the years he had attended to cases of women who lost their husbands to religious riots, children who lost their parents and had seen all manner of persecutions in the north.

His long years of interaction with believers in the North informed the Macedonia Initiative, a para-church organisation he established about 20 years ago. The group has over the years been of great help to displaced Christians especially in the north of Nigeria.

So for Rev Thompson, there is really no basis for celebration when lives are being decimated at will in some parts of the country.

Some of his friends who braced all odds to attend the impromptu seminar at the Anthony village Church centre attested to how he had travelled out of the country 24 hours to his birthday in the past. But rather than jetting out this time, he chose the occasion to engage a live debate on the basis of celebration.

Do we really need to celebrate birthdays?

birthday
Rev Ladi Thompson cutting the birthday cake with his wife, family, and church leaders after the live debate

Some leaders of the church were invited to share thoughts so the church could formulate policy on how not to celebrate. But before they shared their perspectives, Rev Thompson also known as the Oracle was quick to announce that, “Anybody celebrating birthdays has to be careful. The two occasions that birthdays were celebrated ended in disaster. Herod’s birthday ended in the beheading of John the baptist, Pharaoh’s birthday led to the beheading of his chief baker. Everyone should approach birthday with caution.”

He stressed further that “this is a sober time in our country. So we have to be really careful about celebration”

Mrs. Bunmi Oke who was compere at the event was however quick to point attendees attention to how Jesus was celebrated at his birth by wise men from the east. That drew some excitement from the audience.

By the time the panelists began to chew on the subject, it became clear that all of them had bought into the narrative of Rev Thompson of how not to celebrate. They averred that in counting our blessings, we must understand what counts to God. One of the panelists who also just celebrated his birthday said he celebrated with the poor in his environment drawing from Jesus’ admonition that when celebrating we should invite the poor. He said Rev Thompson had changed his perspective about celebration.

Bishop Sam Ayedogbon, one of the close allies of Rev Thompson however took time to espouse Thompson’s sterling qualities describing him as a gift to the body of Christ. “We will celebrate with the poor, but the way to go is to gather our friends during our celebrations to raise support for the poor.” He said. He emphasised that there is nothing wrong in celebrating a man like Rev Ladi Thompson who has lived all his life for the poor.

Members of the panel were unanimous in their submission that it is how we celebrate that matters and not the celebration. They posit that our celebration must inspire people to bring them to the kingdom.

Many attested to the impact Rev Thompson has made in their lives. But one of the most profound of such testimonies is that of a lady who recalled how Rev Thompson’s words brought her out of depression when she lost her husband some years ago at the age of 29. Life literally stopped for her. “But God used Pastor to bring me back to life,” she said, noting that most of the profound statements made by Rev Thompson were made in passing.

The Chairman of Kaduna chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Rev Joseph Hayab who flew in from Kaduna for the event gave graphic details of how Rev Thompson has been the vanguard of the poor for years.

Hayab who came at short notice said Rev Thompson has been celebrating the poor since the year 2000 through the Macedonia Initiative. He recalled how God used him to bring succour to relatives of those who lost their lives in the north due to religious riots. He recalled the many hazardous journeys they undertook together in the north of Nigeria and all the sacrifices of love from Rev Thompson for Christians in that part of the country.

Osinbajo’s remark

Shortly after Hayab’s submission, the message of VP Osinbajo was relayed. Osinbajo who spoke from his heart said, “Pastor Ladi, Dolly and I are pleased to join our Sister Taiwo, the children, brothers and sisters in the faith and other faiths and all our leaders, friends, partners in government and men all over the world in congratulating you on your 60th birthday.

“We celebrate today a Christian leader of profound understanding, not just of the scripture but of the place of our faith in healing, uniting, and inspiring our nation.

“When hardly anyone was talking about resolving religious conflicts in the North, you had the foresight in the late 90s and early 20s to start the Macedonia Initiative to give succour and hope to victims of religious conflicts especially in the North of Nigeria.

“Your involvement in shaping opinions, in balancing the sometimes extreme positions in our national conversations, and your insistence on the principles of non-violent communication as the effective currency for the public discourse of the sometimes emotive issues of religion and ethnicity is a major component of our toolbox for peace-building and stability in our nation.

“Through the years I have watched with great admiration how you have represented us both locally and internationally on matters of conflict resolution and curtailing religious extremism with such competence yet without seeking praise or personal reward.

“We are all extremely proud of you and your sterling achievements over the years. And so today, we pray for you, as your days so shall your strength, so shall your wisdom, so shall your favour with God. Happy birthday my brother. God bless you”

The message turned out to be the icing for many other messages that Saturday. His wife, Pastor Mrs. Taiwo Thompson, his children, and his siblings all took turns to wish him a blessed day thanking God for his impact and how he has been a blessing to this generation.

The Birthday Message

Bishop Sam Ayedogbon, Rev Ladi Thompson, and Rev Joseph Hayab at the press briefing on his birthday

For Rev Thompson however, the day was not done without sending across the twin message of the need for Nigerians to change their value system and as well for the nation to begin to resolve to tackle the coming tsunami in the land in a non-violent way.

He told journalists in his office that Nigerians needed to begin to change their priorities and values. “I think for us who are believers, our value is in Christ not in things. How much can you buy the blood of Jesus? When you are a nobody, you need material things to define you. But we already know our definition as believers in Christ. So we don’t need material things for validation.”

Rev Thompson posits further that the mind of Christ is the standard mind construct for believers urging all to jettison the craze for material wealth at the expense of their souls and values.

It was indeed a refreshing perspective to birthday celebration. If we must celebrate, Rev Thompson says, we must follow Jesus’ injunction to reach out to those who really need to be blessed and not our rich friends. “our celebration should be purposeful and it must be kingdom based”

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4 Comments on “How Rev Ladi Thompson “surprised” friends on his 60th birthday, what Osinbajo said”

  1. Rev. Ladi Thompson cited a firm basis for his conviction with regards to the celebration of birthdays. In line with his position, our Lord and the apostles did not celebrate their birthdays. If they did, it was not recorded. Moses, the only Psalmist who has the attestation of ‘a man of God’ stated at the top of the only Psalm he wrote, author of Psalm 90: 12 that is generally a reference to birthday celebration ministrations did not celebrate any of the 119 birthdays after the day he was born. If he did, it was also not recorded.

    Well, I would not venture a direct comment for or against anyone who says he organizes a thanksgiving to express the faithfulness of God in his life but like Rev. Ladi Thompson, record shows that the head of a great prophet was the prize for the best disco dancer on the occasion of a King’s birthday celebration.

    Someone cited the wise men from the East as celebrating Jesus at his birth. In my opinion, that point in time when the wise men met Jesus was not on the day he was born but an arbitrary day about two years after His birth two years earlier. He was no longer a baby in a manger but a boy in a house- Matt. 2: 11.

    If even they had means of targeting our Lord’s date of birth, they missed their direction and wasted days going to Jerusalem, where their human concept of where a great King should be born, instead a lowly place like Bethlehem, that was in the prophetic records- Matthew 2: 5-6.

    Indeed the wise men were pagan astrologers not christians, not even believers in Judaism. In the similitude of how God used Cyrus to accomplish his purpose concerning the Israelites in captivity, God brought the wise men to present His only begotten Son gifts with prophetic significance to those who have the inner eyes to see – Gold, a pointer to His divine nature; myrrh to His future significant death and frankincense symbolizing his resurrection.

    I rejoice with the “Oracle” on his attainment of the midpoint’ in his life’s pilgrimage. His labour of love over the decades is not a waste as heaven’s applause awaits him.

    1. Thank You sir for your scripture based assessment. I pray the Lord continue to lift your voice and hold your arms in your ministry. i am also very delighted at the reference you made to the psalm written by Moses and I am following up on its study.

    2. Sir,your arguments sound more theological and academic than Spiritual. The date of Christ’s birth is only contended by those who miss the essence of His birth/Advent. Dismissing Moses’ Psalm about celebration is like dismissing Paul’s instructions to the married because he wasn’t. What the Reverend said embellishes every position – pro/con birthday celebration:- “our celebrations must be purposeful and must be kingdom based.” That to me alligns with the scripture which sustains the validity of celebrations. They are some of human activities heaven permits even where our Lord didn’t. He didn’t baptize anyone but permitted His followers to do so. He didn’t initiate a celebration but attended one/some in endorsement of celebrations. Indeed,He attended a wedding and would have also attended a birthday celebration. And,I trust my Lord to advice celebrants to make it a purposeful and kingdom based. Some of His kingdom parables were also indicative of His endorsement of celebrations. Simply put,the Bible says:”REJOICE WITH THOSE WHO REJOICE AND MOURN WITH THOSE WHO MOURN.” It’s certain those celebrating their bds are rejoicing and we are encouraged to rejoice/celebrate with them. Would you rather mourn with “those” than celebrate with them? If you do either,that’s half obedience. He who wept at Lazarus’ tomb is the same who attended a wedding feast. I’m certain,my Jesus wouldn’t attend a wild and purposeless party/celebration. This,the celebrant must celebrate responsibly,purposefully and the kingdom way. Ironically,I’ve never celebrated my bd but attended a few,especially for minors. I copied that from Master Jesus- I don’t lay charges against elects who may celebrate their bds,responsibly.

  2. Sir,your arguments sound more theological and academic than Spiritual. The date of Christ’s birth is only contended by those who miss the essence of His birth/Advent. Dismissing Moses’ Psalm about celebration is like dismissing Paul’s instructions to the married because he wasn’t. What the Reverend said embellishes every position – pro/con birthday celebration:- “our celebrations must be purposeful and must be kingdom based.” That to me alligns with the scripture which sustains the validity of celebrations. They are some of human activities heaven permits even where our Lord didn’t celebrate. He didn’t baptize anyone but permitted His followers to do so. He didn’t initiate a celebration but attended one/some in endorsement of celebrations. Indeed,He attended a wedding and would have also attended a birthday celebration. And,I trust my Lord to advise celebrants to make it a purposeful and kingdom based. Some of His kingdom parables were also indicative of His endorsement of celebrations. Simply put,the Bible says:”REJOICE WITH THOSE WHO REJOICE AND MOURN WITH THOSE WHO MOURN.” It’s certain those celebrating their bds are rejoicing and we are encouraged to rejoice/celebrate with them. Would you rather mourn with “those” than celebrate with them? If you only do either,that’s half obedience. He who wept at Lazarus’ tomb is the same who attended a wedding feast. I’m certain,my Jesus wouldn’t attend a wild and purposeless party/celebration. Thus,the celebrant must celebrate responsibly,purposefully and the kingdom way. Ironically,I’ve never celebrated my bd but attended a few,especially for minors. I copied that from Master Jesus- I don’t lay charges against elects who may celebrate their bds,responsibly. A HBD TO THE PASTOR. AGE GRACEFULLY SIR.

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