Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Preach It!

It just goes to show, my friends, that money CAN buy almost anything.

Including your very own church.

NBA star Dwayne Wade (D-Wade to his friends and fans) gave his mom, Jolinda Wade, a heavenly gift this Mother's Day. He bought her a church.

Sunday, D-Wade stood alongside his mother as she and co-Pastor LaDell Jones cut the ribbon to open the new Temple of Praise church in Chicago's South Side. In her first sermon as a co-pastor, Ms. Wade issued a bold challenge to her flock: "Who is big and bad enough to step past the devil and accept the Lord now?" she shouted. "Don't let the door close! Don't let the door close!" she cried, as she stomped across the platform.

You're tempted to bristle when first reading about Ms. Wade's new "spiritual" endeavor. In fact, when I first read the email (sent to me by a surprisingly faithful MyndFood diner--Dad), I thought it was sacrilege. Churches aren't meant to be bought as gifts! It commercializes something that should be divine and spiritual. It just doesn't seem right.

Then I began to read the story, and found out that Ms. Wade spent a number of years--most of her life, in fact, as an alcohol and drug addicted criminal (she even served some prison time). Then, seven years ago, after much urging by her children, she determined that she was going to turn her life around. And somewhere along the way, she pledged herself to spreading the gospel, testifying to God's grace in her life.

This isn't her first ministry; while serving time in a state prison, she began a prison ministry, ministering and teaching other convicts in the penitentiary. She's now out of prison, clean, and dedicated to ministering to other hurting individuals.

And so I, who think of myself as a fairly religious individual, have to say I'm grudgingly respectful. Because MOST pro-basketball stars are likely buying their Mom's Hummer's with 22" polished chrome wheels for Mother's Day. Or maybe they're buying them a vacation home in the Hamptons. Or an all expenses paid vacation to St. Bart's. I'd wager that there aren't any other star's funding their mother's ministry. And I'm certain there aren't a whole slough of star-Mom's out there who'd like nothing more than funding for their Christian ministry.

The simple fact that she's devoted herself to doing something worthwhile, and that he's committed his finances to help establish the work, speaks volumes about their character.


Preach on, Pastor Jolinda!

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