Joel Osteen — Be Good To People
I want to talk to you today about being good to people. Everywhere we go, we should look for opportunities to be a blessing. Doesn't have to be something big. You bring your co-worker a cup of coffee in the morning, a small act of kindness. Or on the freeway, traffic backs up. You slow down, you let that car in in front of you, just being good to people. At the grocery store, the person behind you has fewer items. You tell them, "Go up ahead in front of me".
You don't have to. There's nothing wrong if you don't, but you're on the lookout for ways that you can be good to be people. On the forefront of your mind is not, "How can I get blessed"? But, "How can I be a blessing"?
I've learned if you will make somebody else's day, God will always make your own day. If you'll bring a smile to their face, God will bring a smile to your face, and this is the most rewarding way to live; not, "What can I get"? But, "What can I give"? Not, "What can you do for me"? But, "What can I do for you"?
The scripture says, "Jesus went about doing good, healing all that were sick". The first thing Jesus did before healing, before ministering, before delivering was he was good to people, and we all have an assignment. You could say we all have a ministry. May not be up in front of people, may not be to go overseas and be a missionary. Our ministry is to be good to people. That's one of the best witnesses that we could ever have.
You don't have to necessarily preach them a sermon, you don't have to argue doctrine, try to make them believe what you believe. Just be good to them. Our actions speak much louder than our words. We can say all day long, "I love you," but true love is seen in what we do. If I really love you, I'll be good to you. If I really love you, I'll let you have the parking spot even though I got there first. I'll prefer you.
God said to Abraham, "I will bless you and you will be a blessing". One key to being blessed is, are you willing to be a blessing? God is not going to increase us in the way he wants if we don't make it a priority to be good to people.
I met an older gentleman after the service, he'd been at the pharmacy earlier that week to pick up a prescription. He thought his insurance would pay more of it, and he ended up not having enough money. There was a young man in line behind him that attends Lakewood. He'd just finished working out and ran in there to get something to drink. He overheard this conversation how the man didn't have enough money. He said to him, "You stay here, I'll be back in 10 minutes".
He ran home, got his wallet, came back, and bought the man's prescription. The older man was so excited, he said, "Joel, I came to Lakewood today for the first time because if there are people like that at Lakewood, then I want to be here".
Friends, being good to people is better than preaching a sermon. Being kind, generous, compassion speaks much louder than any words, and we should have a goal every day to do at least one good thing for somebody else. Don't wait for a special occasion. Doesn't have to be christmas, their birthday, their anniversary, valentine's. No, just an ordinary day, bring your spouse home some flowers.
You're at the mall and you see that blouse that would look good on your friend, buy it and take it to her. "What's this for? It's not my birthday. It's not christmas". "No, it's because you're my friend, and I want to be good to you". That young man that delivers pizza to your house, you don't even really know him. But sometimes, for no reason at all, bless him with an extra $20.
You can't be good to everyone, but you can be good to the people God put in your life. You need to study them. Listen to what they're saying, be sensitive to their needs. A man was helping me on a project, he said just in passing, "Wow, Joel, your computer monitor is so clear. The clarity and the sharpness is amazing". I said, "Yes it is, and what kind of monitor do you have"? He said, "Oh man, my monitor's like eight years old. It's not clear at all". The next week, he had a monitor just like mine.
Galatians 6:10 says, "Don't miss an opportunity to be good to people". If I wouldn't have been sensitive, not only would he not have been blessed, but when you're good to people, you're sowing a seed for God to be good to you. I would've missed out on a blessing.
"Well, Joel, I don't have extra money to buy a computer monitor". Maybe not, but can you buy a cup of coffee for a friend? Can you stay late and help that co-worker finish a project? Can you clean the kitchen, give your spouse a night off? Can you take time to compliment someone, brighten their day? That doesn't cost anything. Don't miss opportunities to be good to people.
You hear your co-worker talking about how they've got to take their car into the shop for repairs". Hey, can I give you a ride? You need me to swing by and pick you up in the morning"? You're on the lookout. That young couple, they just had a baby, you hear them talking about how tired they are, how they're not getting any sleep. Don't say, "Oh yeah, I remember those days. That's a really tough time". No, be sensitive. That's an opportunity to be a blessing. "Hey, how about my spouse and I come over and babysit? You guys go out to eat one night, have some fun".
Are you looking for ways you can be good to people? The more you bless others, the more God will bless you. I was in a hotel lobby one time, and a man was talking on his cell phone when his battery died, and it must've been an important call because he was very frustrated, stressed out over it. He was an asian man, dressed very nicely, and I was standing next to him.
I just pulled my cell phone out and said, "Here, use mine". He said, "No, no, I'm calling long distance". I said, "That's okay, you can call wherever you want to". He seemed very surprised, he said, "Are you sure"? I said, "Yes, I'm sure". When I heard him calling Korea, I almost changed my mind. Thought, "God, let the call drop, please". But 5 minutes later, he handed me my cell phone back and said in the most genuine voice, "Thank you so much". I could tell that simple act of kindness had brightened his day. May have cost me a few dollars, but I've learned when I'm good to other people, God will always be good back to me.
Now, I could've ignored it, thought, "Oh, too bad, his cell phone dies, happens all the time. I don't know the man, it's his problem, not mine". No, I realized my assignment is to be good to people. That's one of the main reasons God has put us here, and if we're going to reach our highest potential, we have to make it a priority to be a blessing. Not just big things, small things. Borrow my cell phone, give a compliment, give a ride home, stay late and help a co-worker. All through the day, we should be looking for ways we can be good to people.
There was a man standing in line with his small son to buy tickets to go to the circus. Right in front of him was a young couple with eight small children. They were all under the age of 12, and they were well-behaved and clean cut, but he could tell by what they were wearing they didn't have a lot of money, and they were so excited about going to the circus, the young couple stepped up to the counter, the man asked proudly for eight children's tickets and two adults.
When the attendant told how much it was going to cost, his wife dropped her head. The husband leaned closer and said, "How much did you say it would be"? The attendant told them again, and he didn't know what to say. It was obvious he didn't have enough money. The man in line behind him watching all this take place pulled $40 out of his pocket, discretely dropped it on the ground.
He picked it up and said, "Excuse me, sir, I think this money may have fallen out of your pocket". The man looked at him knowing exactly what he was doing. He said with a small tear running down his cheek, "Thank you, sir, from the bottom of my heart".
Friends, the real joy in life is not in what we get, but in what we give. There is no greater feeling than in making somebody else's day. We were never created to be ingrown, and think about me and my dreams and my problems and my challenges. That's a shallow way to live. It's why some people are not happy. We were created to be givers, and when you help make somebody else's dream come to pass, God will always make your own dream come to pass.
Proverbs 11:17 puts it this way, "Your own soul is nourished when you are kind". When you're good to others, yes, you're doing them a favor, but really, you're doing yourself a favor. Your own soul is being strengthened. Your own life is being enriched.
It's like this lady I heard about, she was stopped at an intersection in her car. This beggar came over, knocked on the window and asked her for some money. She rolled down the window, said to the man, "Listen, sir, I'm going to give you a dollar, but not because of you, but because it makes me feel good". The man said, "Ma'am, why don't you make it $10 and thoroughly enjoy yourself"?
Paul said in 2 Corinthians, "I want you to excel in the gracious ministry of giving". He could've said, "I want you to excel in business, excel in sports, excel in medicine". That's all good, but he said, "What I want you to really be great at, what I want you to excel in is in giving". I've made up my mind I'm going to live my life as a giver and not a taker.
If you get around me, I better warn you, you're going to get blessed. I'm going to study ways that I can be good to you. I'm going to encourage you, I'm going to buy your dinner, I'm going to be good to your children, I'm going to help make your dreams come to pass.
See, when I come to the end of my life, I don't want people to say, "Oh yeah, Joel, he had that big church, didn't he? He wrote some nice books". No, I want them to say, "Joel was a giver. Joel made me better. Joel brightened my day. Joel was good to me".
I've heard it said, "If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a month, get married. If you want..." I didn't say this, somebody else did. "If you want happiness for a year, win the lottery. But if you want happiness for a lifetime, be good to people".
And so often we are praying for a miracle, we have to realize we can become someone's miracle. Look around at who God has put in your life. You may be their miracle. That man with the $40, he became a miracle for that young family wanting to go to the circus. That young man at the pharmacy, he became a miracle for that older gentleman. There may be miracles in your closet, miracles in storage, that furniture, that equipment, those outfits you're never going to wear again. You could give them to a friend and become their miracle.
I was leaving minute maid park a few years ago, ball game had just ended, and as I was driving off, it started to rain really hard, and thousands of people were coming out, it's a long walk to their cars. I couldn't do something for everyone, but I did have one umbrella in my back seat. Pulled over to the side, rolled down my window, two ladies were running to their cars with their programs over their head.
I said, "Here, have my umbrella". They couldn't believe it. One lady said, "That's amazing. She just said, 'God, I wish I had an umbrella.'" I said, "God must've heard you because here it is". You can become someone's miracle. "Well, Joel, I am not going to give away my umbrella to a total stranger. It cost me $22.95". Listen, you can't out-give God. The scripture says, "Give and your gifts will come back to you pressed down, shaken together, running over".
When you're good to people, when you meet a need, when you become a miracle, God will make sure that you get paid back. Your gifts, your generosity, your kindness will come back to you. It's funny, I had had that umbrella forever. It was like 10 years old, and it was cheap to begin with, it never did work right.
But several months later, I was leaving a big hotel in another city, it was raining. The bellman had this big fancy umbrella, it was two umbrellas combined. He walked us to our car, and just as they're about to close the door, he said, "Joel, do you have an umbrella"? I said, "No, I don't". He shook it off and said, "Here, take this one, we got a bunch of them". I thought, "God, you are so good. I gave up my old, beat-up umbrella, and you gave me back a double wide. I can get my whole family under this one". That's the way God is. You go around being good to people and God will make sure that people are good back to you.
I've read a story about a young man that grew up very poor in a small city. He would go door to door selling different items to try to pay his way through college. At one point, he only had a dime to his name. He was so hungry, he hadn't eaten properly in a couple of days, he got his nerve up and the next house he knocked on, he was going to ask them for something to eat.
A very attractive young lady answered the door, about 16 years old. When he saw how beautiful she was, he lost his nerve and wouldn't ask for anything. She said, "Young man, you look like you're starving. You look like you're so hungry, can I get you something to eat"? He said, "No, I'd just like a drink of water".
She went in, brought him back a big glass of cold milk. He thought he had won the lottery. He hadn't had milk in the longest time, couldn't ever remember being able to drink a whole glass. He drank it down all in one big gulp, felt so refreshed and reenergized. Reached in his pocket for the 10 cent to pay the young lady, she said, "No, you don't owe me anything. My mother taught me to never accept pay for an act of kindness".
Years later, that young lady became seriously ill. She was treated in the local hospital in the small town, but doctors couldn't find out what was wrong with her. They sent her away to the big city to the leading specialist, a man named Dr. Howard Kelly. When Dr. Kelly saw on her chart the city she was from, he was very intrigued. He rushed down to her room, took one look at her, and immediately recognized her.
Dr. Kelly took on this case personally, went to great lengths to do everything he could to make sure she got well. Sure enough, 4 months later, she had totally recovered and was ready to leave the hospital. Dr. Kelly requested that his business office send the bill through him personally so he could approve. The woman dreaded looking at the bill, knowing that it would probably take her her lifetime to pay it off. But when she opened that bill, Dr. Kelley had written in big letters, "Paid in full with one glass of cold milk".
Here's my point, when you're kind to people in their time of need, God will make sure somebody will be kind to you in your time of need. Your gifts will come back to you. Every opportunity you have, be good to people. You don't know why God has put that person in your path. It's not a coincidence. God has strategically lined up every person, every detail, every step of your life.