Pastor Joshua Odeyemi’s death difficult for me to understand but…- Gbile Akanni
Founder of Peace House, Bro. Gbile Akanni has said it is difficult for him to understand the passing on of Pastor Joshua Odeyemi of Reconciliation House, Akure, Ondo State.
He however said he has learnt to submit to the will of God saying, “God’s wisdom is not our own”
Pastor Odeyemi passed on to eternity on February 16 on his knees while praying. He was 56. He was one of the disciples of Bro Akanni and they have been quite close right from Odeyemi’s days in the university.
Bro Akanni who preached at the funeral which held at the Trans Camp, Iju, Ondo State on Monday March 9 said he should have had time to tell more stories noting however that it was not time for stories.
He said of Odeyemi, “not only was he a disciple, he was an obedient disciple. He was not only obedient, he was fervent. God has given me several disciples and each one is unique in their own right. But Joshua Odeyemi is in his own class because of his obedience.”
He recalled that when Odeyemi came to him several years ago that he wanted to go into the ministry, “I asked him, do you really want to follow Jesus. I told him you can’t follow me if you are not ready to follow Jesus. And he said he was ready. I began to show him how to build the work of God according to pattern. He did not deviate from the teachings at various point.”
Gbile who was evidently burdened with emotion while preaching said Pastor Odeyemi was not only obedient to God. “He was obedient to me. I thank God that he finished well. I thank God for Funmi his wife. I am overwhelmed that God is taking my son ahead of me. I don’t know why God has done that. But the Lord in his wisdom has concluded that this is the time Joshua must step up”
The Turning point
He said he now fully understood the implication of the theme of the 30th anniversary of Reconciliation House, which was Turning Point, adding “God had sufficiently prepared him to make proper arrangement before he leaves.”
Directing his message to the congregation, he said, “dying the death of the righteous is not by accident. It is what you must prepare for. There is no accumulated righteousness. The reason we are rejoicing today is that Joshua lived righteously till death. If you want to end like the righteous you have to live like the righteous.”
He recalled that in the last two weeks God was teaching him some lessons about death wondering why God did not take him instead of Pastor Odeyemi.
Shortly after the sermon at about 1pm, The remains of Pastor Odeyemi was committed to earth at the Trans Camp of the Reconciliation Church, Iju, Ondo state.
Odeyemi will be remembered as a lover of God who lived sacrificially, gave sacrificially and loved sacrificially. He impacted both the old and young. He poured his life as an offering for his immediate community touching orphans, widows and the less privileged.
The thanksgiving night
At the thanksgiving night, which held at the Dome, Alagbaka, Ondo State on Sunday March 8, the memory of Pastor Joshua Odeyemi was re-kindled by friends, family and church members.
The venue of the event was jammed with hundreds of people who waited patiently throughout the session. They include top church leaders from across Nigeria, the State chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oladapo, State Chairman of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Bishop Joshua Opayinka, former governor of Ondo State, Mr. Olusegun Mimiko and his wife, Rev Mrs. Funke Felix- Adejumo, Dr. Oyewole Sarumi of the Redeemed Christian Church of God and a host of other personalities
A member of the church, Pa Tunde Adebayo in his testimony said he was fascinated to Reconciliation House by the sacrificial life of Pastor Odeyemi. He said when he joined the church he discovered that it was not a place where people are pressured for money.
Odeyemi’s children including the adopted ones took turn to talk about their father describing him in glowing terms. They recalled how he impacted their lives and how he molded them on the path of righteousness.
His wife, Funmi described him as a man who was real both in and out. “He was not a pretentious man. With him, what you see is what you get. He was a loving husband who loved his family. We were friends. My husband was humorous. You need to see us the way we relate. He taught me to open our house to visitors.”
Pastor Odeyemi’s younger sister recalled at the event how one day they had no food at home and a visitor brought a huge envelope of money. She said she and Odeyemi’s wife were already celebrating that money had come. When Odeyemi collected the money he went in to pray and came out with the verdict that the money was not meant for them.
The Lord said to him he should give that money out to somebody whose child is in the hospital and almost dying. When they made inquiry the money in that envelope was the exact amount needed by the family for medical Intervention. The money had to be given out, yet they were without food at home.
Odeyemi was not one that would shy from speaking truth to power. In a video clip in which Odeyemi was preaching he narrated how he had gone to warn a former Governor of the state about certain practices. But the Governor would not listen. During one of his visits the Governor saw him off to his car. When he saw the kind of car he was using the Governor asked him to do him a favour of changing the car. Rather than jump at the offer, Odeyemi turned it down and told the Governor he didn’t need a new car.
This episode was to repeat itself four times as the Governor himself confessed that he tried to change ODEYEMI’S car four times. Rather than get a new car from the Governor he was able to impress on the Governor to rescind his decision on certain evil decision in the state.
In his message at the thanksgiving night, Bro Lanre Adeboye who preached, quoting John 5v35 told the congregation that every man who has a gift that is shining will burn. He said every shining is a burning. It is the using up of the resources that God has given us. He however asked, “As you are burning, are you delivering on the task God has given you? Time is an inelastic resource. It is a resource that is used up.
He said further that a man is not known by his programmes but by what he has been able to accomplish warning that we do not have all the time.
Adeboye said, “if somebody should have died, it should not have been Joshua. But God took him nonetheless because his time was up.”
While declaring that he was yet to come to terms with the death of Pastor Odeyemi he asked his listeners: How long will you continue to do what you are not permitted to do? “Even the time to repent is limited. There is a tenure within which a man can repent. There is a season you will look for repentance and grace to repent and you will not find it. It is time for you to repent,” he pleaded.