Joel Osteen — Be A Rainmaker
I want to talk to you today about being a rainmaker. Rain in the scripture is symbolic of blessings, favor, increase. One place talks about how we should be like a well-watered garden, that's the way God designed us, to flourish even in tough times.
But too many people are in a dry season. They haven't had a good break in years. They're stagnant in their marriage. They're not moving toward their dreams, and it's easy to settle there, think, "Well, this is as good as it gets. I'll just learn to live with it". But there is a way you can put an end to that drought.
There's something you can do and it's interesting how a cloud forms. The sun shines down on water and it produces an invisible vapor, and these vapors condense, and eventually rise up into the sky and form clouds. When enough vapors go up, the water becomes too heavy for the cloud to hold, and it begins to drip out. That's when it sprinkles and mists. If the cloud gets so full of condensation, then it will open up and begin to downpour rain.
The point I want us to see is the water didn't start in the sky. It started on the ground. The amount of vapors that went up determined how much rain came back down, and the way we can create rain in our own life, the way we can put an end to a drought, is through our praise.
When we go around thanking God for his goodness, talking about what he's done, our praise is the invisible vapor that goes up into the heavens and forms a cloud, and when your cloud gets so full of praise, so full of thanksgiving, so full of you bragging on the greatness of God you can't hold it anymore, that's when it will rain down right back on you blessings, favor, increase, healing.
You can become a rainmaker. You've heard the saying, "When the praises go up, the blessings come back down". Now, if you're not seeing any good breaks, if you're in a drought, my encouragement is check up on what you're sending up. Here's the principle: no praise, no rain. Limited praise, limited rain. You might get a sprinkle, a little drizzle every once in a while, good break here and there. But if you want to see a downpour, a Texas size rain, the exceeding greatness of God's favor, you've got to stay full of praise.
Under your breath, you're always thanking God for his goodness. When you wake up in the morning, "Lord, thank you for another beautiful day". What's happening? Your cloud is getting a little bit fuller. When you see your children, "Lord, thank you for these gifts that you've blessed me with". Driving to work, not complaining about the traffic, "I can't stand my job". No, "Lord, thank you that I have a job. Thank you that I have a car to sit in traffic. Thank you that I have money for gasoline. Thank you that I'm healthy enough to go to work. Lord, thank you for my gifts and talents. God, I'm just grateful to be alive".
When you live like that, you better get your umbrella out. It's just a matter of time before your cloud will open up and unload a downpour of God's favor. Abundant praise will produce abundant rain. The amount you send up is the amount that's going to come back down.
Now, some people only give God praise on sunday. "Joel, I went to church. I sang three songs, stood the whole time. Sat through the whole message. Missed the first half of the football game. It was a big sacrifice". That's great. God sees your efforts, but here's the problem with only having sunday praise on monday when you need a good break, on tuesday when you need wisdom.
God says to the angel, "He needs some rain. Help him out. Give him some favor, increase, promotion". The angel says, "We tried, but there's nothing in his cloud. He got a little drizzle on sunday, a little sprinkle. Now it's completely empty".
Friends, you got to do your part and keep your cloud filled up all through the day. Instead of thinking about what's wrong, thank God for what's right. When you're in a tough time, instead of being discouraged, instead of complaining, no, "Lord, thank you that you're turning it around. Thank you that you're bigger than this problem. Thank you that you've given me grace for every season". Even in small things.
You get a good parking spot, "Lord, thank you for your favor". Vapors went up. At the mall, you find what you were looking for, "Lord, thank you for directing my steps". More vapors are rising. You see a friend that's not feeling well. After you pray for them under your breath, "Lord, thank you that I'm healthy. Thank you that I can breathe without pain". You walk outside in the morning, "Lord, thank you for the sunrise. Thank you for the beauty of your creation". Eating dinner with friends, "Lord, thank you for the people you put in my life. Thank you for my friends".
If you're going to reach your highest potential, you've got to become a rainmaker. You've got to develop this habit of constantly sending up every time I drive up to this building, I say under my breath, "Lord, thank you for our beautiful building". I've said it probably 10,000 times. What am I doing? Don't let what once was a miracle become ordinary. Don't get so used to it that you're not excited about it anymore.
One time, I was driving by the building on the freeway. We were headed to the airport, and I was on the telephone. Our son Jonathan was about 10 years old. He said to everyone in the car, "Since dad's on the phone, let me say it for him. Thank you, Lord, for our beautiful building". He had heard it so many times, it had become ingrained in him.
What has God done in your life that you could be sending up vapors of praise? You thanked him for a week when he gave you that job. Why don't you continue to thank him? You were thrilled when you moved into that house 5 years ago. Have you thanked him lately? When your baby was born, you were on cloud nine. You thanked God every day for a month. Now, he's 16. You're saying, "God, no, thank him again and again". Or how about this? When God turned that problem around, when he made a way when you didn't see a way, you were so overwhelmed, so relieved.
Don't lose the amazement. Those are opportunities to fill your cloud back up. The scripture talks about how if you will sow to the heavens, the heavens will sow back to you. Could it be that you're not seeing God's best, you're stuck in a drought because you're not sowing to the heavens? If you would begin to thank God more often, remember what he's done, look for these opportunities to send up vapors of praise, then your dreams would come to pass.
Then maybe those problems "Well, Joel, I'm living in this small house, and I don't really like my job, and my kids won't do what's right. My car is a piece of trash. When things change, then I'll have a better attitude. Then I'll give God praise". No, that's backwards. Praise is what causes the rain.
Praise is what allows in Matthew 14, Jesus had been teaching the people. Now it was late in the day. Everyone was hungry. Jesus told his disciples to feed them. There were 5,000 men there, probably 15,000 people in total. No city nearby, no grocery stores. It seemed impossible, and Jesus said, "Well, just give me what you have". They went through the crowd and found a little boy's lunch, five loaves of bread and two fish.
What good would that do with 15,000 people? But what Jesus did next was extremely significant. Verse 19 says he took the 5 loaves and the 2 fish, held them up to heavens, and he gave thanks and blessed them. Notice he gave thanks for what was not enough. He blessed what seemed to be too little. Here's the principle. Until you're grateful for what's not enough, you won't see the multiplication.
"Well, Joel, I can't thank God for my job. I don't like it. The people don't like me. They don't treat me right. They don't pay me enough". You're right where Jesus was. You have five loaves and two fish. It's not enough. What are you going to do? Complain, "God, I've been begging you for 3 years to get me out of this place"? The problem with that approach is in three more years, you're still going to have five loaves and two fish. It's still not going to be enough.
But if you will try a different approach and learn to be grateful for what's not enough, then one day, God will multiply it and you will have more than enough. If you will thank God for what you do have, he will give you.
"Well, Joel, I don't like my house. It's too small. My neighbors get on my nerves". No, why don't you try sending up some different vapors? "Lord, I want to thank you for this place you've given me. God, I'm grateful that I have a roof over my head. I'm grateful that I'm not out on the streets. It may not be enough, it may be small, but I know you're the God of more than enough. So God, I continue to give you praise". Multiplication. Not complaining, not thinking about what's wrong, but thanking God for what's right, being grateful even when it's not enough.
This is what Elijah did in the scripture. There had been a drought in the land for 3 1/2 years, no rain. The people were barely making it. There wasn't any sign of it changing. Elijah could have become sour, thought, "God, I don't understand it. You said we'd always be in blossom, but it's just the opposite. We're drying up. We're struggling to survive".
No, Elijah understood this principle. In the middle of the drought, he went on top of the mountain and began to thank God for his goodness, thank him for what he has done, thank him that rain was on the way, thank him that he was in control. Six times, his assistant went out to check. Each time, he came back with the same report. There's nothing, not a cloud in the sky. It's not going to rain.
If you're going to see a drought come to an end, you have to pass the test of not getting discouraged when circumstances tell you nothing is happening. The medical report says you're not getting better. You prayed, but your child's not improving. The financial situation isn't changing. Every voice will tell you it's not going to work out.
Elijah heard this same but he didn't get discouraged. He knew as long as he kept sending up those vapors of praise, eventually the cloud would form and things would change. The seventh time, the assistant came back and said, "This time, I saw a small cloud up in the sky". Elijah said, "You better take off running 'cause I can hear the sound it wasn't long after that before the clouds formed, the heavens opened up, and there was a downpour. The 3 1/2-year drought came to an end.
If you'll learn to be thankful for what's not enough, there will be a day when you have more than enough, the abundance of rain. But too often when we're in difficult times, it's easy to complain and talk about what's not working out. But I've learned that God does not answer complaints. Don't go to God and just tell him all of your problems. "God, I don't like my job. I don't like my car. God, my children aren't doing right, and God, you know I need to lose 20 pounds. God, I've had it up to here". That's not prayer, that's complaining.
God's attention. Psalm 22 says God inhabits the praises of his people. When you start praising, when you have a thankful heart, when you start talking about God's goodness, you start thanking him for his promises, that's what gets God's attention.
When Paul and Silas were in prison, at midnight, and giving God thanks. Suddenly God showed up in the prison. Why'd that happen? God inhabits the praises. They were in chains, in the deepest part of the prison. But at midnight, the chains fell off of them, the prison doors flung open. They walked out as free men.
Think about this. Those same chains had held the roughest prisoners for years, the strongest, most powerful criminals. Yet, when two ordinary men showed up and started praising, those chains could not hold them. Friends, praise is powerful. Praise will break addictions. Praise can stop a sickness. Praise can turn a problem around. Praise is what will give us the victory.
In psalm 31, David starts his life is. He said, "I'm dying from grief. My vision is blurred because I've cried so many tears. My strength is gone. I'm scorned by my neighbors, hated by my enemies. My friends are spreading rumors. My enemies are plotting to take my life".
He went on and on, of his woes. When I was reading it, I started getting depressed. I can imagine God up in the heavens, just sitting back, not paying any attention, going in one ear and out the other, not even fazing him. At one point, David realizes, "I'm sending up the wrong vapors. God doesn't answer complaints".
If you're just sending up discouragement, defeat, self-pity, that's what's going to come back to you. I like this phrase. Complain and you'll remain, but praise in a few verses, David changed his whole tune. He realized that wasn't getting him anywhere, and he said, "Yes, I've got a lot of things coming against me, but God, I know your goodness is great. You have blessings stored up for me. You protect me, you vindicate me, so I will take courage, I will be strong knowing that you will give me the victory".
As David began to brag on God's goodness, as he began to send up these vapors of praise, I can see God come to attention. He says to the angels, "I've got to go someplace. I hear somebody talking about my goodness. I hear somebody bragging on what I can do. I've got to inhabit those praises".
When you praise, God shows up, and some battles, the only way you'll get out is to praise your way out. "God, I want to thank you that you're turning this around. You said you hold victory in store for the upright. I don't see a way, but God, I know you have a way". As you brag on God's goodness, your cloud is filling up, and at the right time, it's going to rain down breakthroughs, rain down healing, rain down vindication.
Pay attention to what it may look like that you could never get out of debt. It would be easy to get discouraged and complain, talk about how big the obstacles are. No, don't send that up. Turn it around. "Lord, I want to thank you that I'm blessed. I will lend and not borrow. Whatever I touch will prosper and succeed". When you do that, your cloud is filling up with if you're struggling in your health, "Lord, I want to thank you that you're Jehovah Rapha, the Lord my healer, that the number of my days you will fulfill, that you're restoring health back unto me".
Maybe you're believing for a spouse. "Lord, you said if I would delight myself in you, you would give me the desires of my heart. So Lord, I want to thank you that you're directing my steps, bringing the right person into my life".
If you will keep sending up the right vapors, if you'll keep thanking God for his promises, just like Elijah, your praise will cause the downpour. It was God's goodness, but you were the rainmaker. It was your praise that filled up the cloud, and some of you have been thanking God for a long time. You've been faithful. When you felt like complaining, you praised anyway.
Like Paul and Silas, you praised in pain. You praised when it was unfair. You praised when you were lonely. You need to get ready. Your cloud is about to open up. You're about to see God amaze you with his goodness. It's going to happen suddenly. The favor of God is going to overtake you and amaze you with his goodness. This is not the time to get discouraged. This is the time to turn up.