Joel Osteen — Have An Abundant Mentality
I want to talk to you today about having an abundant mentality. God's dream for your life is that you would be blessed in such a way that you could be a blessing to others. David said, "My cup runs over". God is an overflow God. But here's the key, you can't go around thinking thoughts of lack, not enough, struggle, and expect to have abundance, and if you've been under pressure for a long time and had difficulty making ends meet, it's easy to develop a limited mind-set. "I'll never get out of this neighborhood, or I'll never have enough to send my kids to college".
No, that may be where you are now, but that's not where you have to stay. God is called El Shaddai, the God of more than enough. Not the God of barely enough, not the God of just help me make it through, let me live off the leftovers. No, the God of overflow, the God of abundance, the God of more than enough.
And psalm 35 says, "Let them say continually, 'let the Lord be magnified, who takes pleasure in the prosperity of his children.'" They were supposed to go around constantly saying, "God takes pleasure in prospering me". It was to help them develop this abundant mentality. Your life is moving toward what you're constantly thinking about, and if you're always thinking thoughts of lack, not enough, struggle, you're moving toward the wrong things. No, all through the day, meditate on these thoughts, "Overflow, abundance. God takes pleasure in prospering me".
In the scripture, the israelites had been in slavery for many years. That was the land of barely enough. They were just enduring, surviving, barely making it through. One day, God brought them out of slavery and took them into the desert. That was the land of just enough. Their needs were supplied, but nothing extra. Says their clothes didn't wear out for 40 years, and I'm sure they were grateful.
I don't know about you, I don't particularly want to wear this same suit for the next 40 years. If I have to, I'm not going to complain, but that's not my idea of abundance. It wasn't God's either. God eventually took them into the promised land. That was the land of more than enough. The food and supplies were plenteous. The bundles of grapes so large, two grown men had to carry them. It's called the land flowing with milk and honey. Flowing means it didn't stop, it never ran out. It continued to have an abundance. That's where God is taking you.
Now, you may be in the land of barely enough right now. You don't know how you're going to make it through next week. Don't worry, God hasn't forgotten about you. God clothes the lilies of the field. He feeds the birds of the air. He's going to take care of you. You may be in the land of just enough. Your needs are supplied, you're grateful, but there's nothing extra, nothing to accomplish your dreams. God is saying, "I did not breathe my life into you to live in the land of barely enough". I didn't create you to live in the land of just enough.
Those are seasons, those are tests, but they are not permanent. Don't put your stakes down, you are passing through. It is only temporary. God has a promised land for you. He has a place of abundance, of more than enough, where it's flowing with provision. Not just one time, but you'll continue to increase, you'll continue to have plenty. Now, if you're in the land of barely enough, don't you dare settle there. That is where you are, it is not who you are. That is your location, that is not your identity. You are a child of the most high God. No matter what it looks like, you have this abundant mentality.
Keep reminding yourself, "God takes pleasure in prospering me. I am the head and never the tail". The scripture says, "God will supply our needs according to his riches". So often we look at our situations and think, "I'll never get ahead. Joel, I'm in the projects, I'll never get out". No, it's not according to what you have, it's according to what he has. The good news is God owns it all. One touch of God's favor can blast you out of barely enough and put you into more than enough. God has ways to increase you beyond your normal income, beyond your salary, beyond what's predictable.
Now, quit telling yourself, "This is all I'll ever have. Granddaddy was broke. Mom and daddy didn't have anything. My dog's on welfare, my cat's homeless". Let go of all that and have an abundant mentality. "This is not where I'm staying. I'm blessed, I'm prosperous. I'm headed to overflow, to the land of more than enough".
I received a letter from a young couple, they had both been raised in low-income families. All they saw modeled growing up was lack and struggle, can't get ahead. Their families had accepted it, but not this couple. They had been coming to Lakewood. They didn't have a not enough mentality, they had an abundant mentality. They knew God had a promised land in store for them, and they took a step of faith. On very average incomes, they decided to build their own house. They didn't take out a loan. Whenever they had extra funds, they would buy the materials and hire the contractors.
A couple of years later, they moved into this beautiful house in a nice neighborhood, all debt-free. It was like God had multiplied their funds. Not long ago, they sold that house for twice what they had put into it. The lady wrote, "We never dreamed we would be blessed like we are today". She went on to say something interesting. She said, "My great grandparents and my grandparents always told me that if I had beans and rice, that was good enough. But I always knew one day, I would have steak," and if you're going to become everything God's created you to be, you got to make up your mind like she did.
You are not going to settle for beans and rice. You are not going to get stuck in the land of barely enough, or the land of just enough, but you're going to keep praying, believing, expecting, hoping, dreaming, working, being faithful until you make it all the way in to the land of more than enough.
Now, there's nothing wrong with beans and rice, nothing wrong with surviving, but God wants you to go further. God wants you to set a new standard for your family. He's an overflow God, a more than enough God.
Jesus told a parable about a prodigal son. This young man left home and blew all of his money, wasted his inheritance, and decided to return home, and when his father saw him, the father represents God, he said to the staff, "Go kill the fatted calf. We're going to have a party". The older brother was upset. He said, "Dad, I've been with you this whole time and you've never given me a skinny goat".
Let me ask you, do you have a fatted calf mentality, or do you have a skinny goat mentality? Do you think beans and rice are good enough, or do you say, "No, I want some enchiladas. I want some fajitas. I want some sopapillas"? Listen, you can live off of bread and water. You can survive in the land of barely enough. We can endure the land of just enough, just enough to make it through, just enough to pay my bills this week. But that is not God's best. Your Heavenly Father, the one that breathed life into you, is saying, "I've got a fatted calf for you. I've got a place for you in the land of more than enough".
Now, don't go around thinking that you'll never get ahead, you'll never live in a nice place, you'll never have enough to accomplish your dreams. Get rid of that skinny goat, and start having a fatted calf mentality. God wants you to overflow with his goodness.
When the israelites were in the desert in the land of just enough, they got tired of eating the same thing every day. They said, "Moses, we want some meat to eat out here". They were complaining, but at least for a little while, they had a fatted calf mentality. Moses thought, "That's impossible. Meat out here in the desert? Steak for some 2 million people"? There were no grocery stores, no place to buy food. But God has ways to increase you that you've never thought of. God simply shifted the direction of the wind and caused a huge flock of quail to come into the camp. They didn't have to go after it, the food came to them,
And what's interesting is quail doesn't normally travel that far away from the water. If there had not been a strong wind, it would have never made it way out there in the desert. What am I saying? God knows how to get your provision to you.
A statistician ran some numbers based on the size of the camp, the number of people, quail 3 feet off the ground like the scripture says. He concluded that there were approximately 105 million quail that came into the camp. That's an abundant God. God could have given them a couple of quail, that would have been 4 or 5 million quail, but God doesn't just want to meet your needs, he wants to do it in abundance.
Now, the question, are you thinking skinny goat, or are you thinking fatted calf? "Well, Joel, I can never afford a nice place to live". Can I say this respectfully, skinny goat? "I could never send my kids to the college they really want to attend," skinny goat. "I could never build that orphanage. I could never support other families. I can barely support my own family". No, God has a fatted calf, a place of abundance for you. He is not limited by your circumstances, by how you were raised, by what you don't have. He's limited by what you're believing.
And some of you have had that skinny goat with you for years and years. You've become best friends. You need to announce to him today, "I'm sorry, but our relationship is over. It's done, we're going to be parting ways". He may cry, complain, baa, ask, "Is there anybody else"? Tell him, "Yes, I found a fatted calf". No more thinking not enough, barely enough, just enough. From now on, I'm thinking more than enough, an abundant mentality. When you live like this, God will bless you in ways you've never imagined.
It's like this one lady I know, she's a single parent mother, and her family has gone through a lot of struggles. For years, she was barely making it. But every sunday, she and her two sons would be here at Lakewood. In spite of all the obstacles, they didn't have a skinny goat mentality. They were in the land of barely enough, but they didn't put their stakes down. They knew that wasn't their permanent address, and like she did, you've got to be faithful in the wilderness if you're going to make it into the promised land.
I'm not saying that everything's going to change overnight. There's going to be seasons of testing and proving, and thoughts are going to tell you, "It's never going to change". But you dismiss that and you just keep being faithful right where you are, honoring God, thanking him that you're coming into overflow. Her son, from the time he was a little boy, always said that he was going to get a scholarship to go to college. He could have thought, "We're poor. I'm at a disadvantage". No, this single-parent mother taught her sons that God is a God of abundance, that he can make a way when we don't see a way.
Three years ago, her son graduated number two in his high school. He received not one scholarship, not two, not five, not seven, not eight, he was awarded nine scholarships totaling over $1.3 million. His undergraduate, his masters, and his doctorate is all paid for at Georgetown University. That's what happens when you say goodbye to the skinny goat and you have a fatted calf mentality.
Jesus talked about how when we give, it will be given back to us good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. What does that mean, pressed down? I used to make chocolate chip cookies with our children. The recipe calls for 3/4 of a cup of brown sugar. When you pour the brown sugar in, it's so thick and so dense, even when it hits the mark for 3/4, you have to press it down. When you do, you could put in about twice what it looked like. That's what God is saying. When you look full, you think you're blessed, you're healthy, all you need is one scholarship, you just want the house to sell for what you put into it, you just want quail for a day or two. God says, "That's fine, but I'm an overflow God. I'm a more-than-enough God. I'm about to press it down and make room for more of my increase. I'm going to press it down and show you my favor in a new way".
After he presses it down, he's going to shake it together, and not just fill it to the top, he's going to take it one step further and give you so much that you're running over. You just wanted one scholarship, God says, "That's fine, I'm going to give you nine to make sure you're covered". You just wanted to get your money out of the house, God says, "I'm going to cause it to sell for double". You just wanted quail for a day or two, God says, "I'm going to give you steak for a whole month". That's the way our God is. Why don't you get in agreement and say, "God, I'm ready. I'm a giver. I have an abundant mentality. Lord, I want to thank you for good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over in my life".
A friend of mine has a son that got his driver's license a while back and really wanted a car. His father said to him, "Let's believe that God will give you a car". His son said, "Dad, God's not going to give me a car, you can buy me a car". He said, "No, let's pray". They asked God to somehow make a way that he could have a car. A couple of months later, this man's employer called him in and said, "For the last two years, we've made a mistake on your paycheck. We've been underpaying you". They handed him a check, it was $500 more than the car they had been hoping to buy.
The scripture says, "Is there anything too hard for the Lord"? There is no telling what God will do if you'll get rid of the skinny goat. God is about to press some things down. He's about to make room to show you his increase in a new way. Says in Exodus, "I am bringing you out of lack into a good and spacious land". Notice not a small land, a little place, tight, crowded, not enough room.
No, receive this into your spirit, God is bringing you into a spacious land, a land of more than enough, a land of plenty of room, a land that's flowing with increase, flowing with good breaks, flowing with opportunity, where you not only have enough for yourself, but you're running over. Running over with space, running over with supplies, running over with opportunity, and if you're not in a good and spacious place, my challenge is don't settle there. Don't let the skinny goat mentality take root. Don't think beans and rice is good enough. That is not your permanent address, it's only temporary. God is taking you to a good and a spacious land.
"Well," you say, "Joel, are you one of those prosperity ministers"? No, I don't like that term. That sounds like somebody that only talks about finances. Prosperity to me is having your health. It's having peace in your mind. It's being able to sleep at night, having good relationships. There are many things that money cannot buy, and while I don't like the term "Prosperity minister," I must say I am not a poverty minister.
I can't find one place in the scripture where we are supposed to drag around not having enough, not able to afford what we want, living off the leftovers, living in the land of not enough. No, we were created to be the head and not the tail. Jesus came that we might live an abundant life. We represent almighty God here on this earth. We should be examples of his goodness, so blessed, so prosperous, so generous, so full of joy that other people want what we have.
But you've got to fight a religious spirit that says you're supposed to be poor, broke, and defeated to show God that you're really humble. No, when you're poor, broke, and defeated, all that proves is that you're poor, broke, and defeated. It doesn't bring any honor to God. If I brought my two children up on the platform today and their clothes were all raggedy, worn out, holes in their shoes, hair not combed, you would look at me and think, "What kind of father is he"? It'd be a poor reflection on me. Listen, when you look good, dress good, live in a nice place, excel in your career, generous with others, that brings a smile to God's face. It brings him pleasure to prosper you.
My father was raised during the great depression, and he grew up extremely poor, and he developed this poverty mind-set. He was taught in seminary that you had to be poor to show God that you were holy. The church he pastored made sure he stayed holy by keeping him poor. He was making a little over $100 a week, trying to raise his children, barely surviving.
And one time, he and my mom kept a guest minister in their home all week. Sunday after the service, a business man came up to my father and handed him a check for $1,000, it's like $5,000 today. He said, "I want you to have this personally to help take care of the expenses of the guest minister". My father took the check by the corner like it was contaminated, like it might poison him. He said, "Oh no, I could never receive this. We must put it in the church offering". He walked toward the offering plate, and with every step, something said, "Don't do it. Receive God's blessings. Receive God's favor". He ignored it, dropped it in the offering plate. When he did, he said he felt sick to his stomach.
There's something on the inside of us that says we're supposed to be blessed. We're supposed to live an abundant life. It's because we are children of the king. It was put there by our Creator. But here's the key, you have to give God permission to prosper you. You can't go around with a lack mentality, thinking, "I'll just take the leftovers to show everyone how humble I am. After all, God wouldn't want me to have too much. That'd be greedy, that'd be selfish". No, get rid of that false sense of humility. That's going to keep you from an abundant life.
Listen to Deuteronomy 28 in the message translation. "God will lavish you with good things. He will throw open the doors of his sky vaults and rain down favor. You will always be the top dog and never the bottom dog". Now, you need to start seeing yourself as the top dog, not living off of leftovers, not able to afford what you want, not in the land of not enough. No, come on over to the land of more than enough. It starts in your thinking. Give God permission to increase you. Give him permission to lavish you with good things.
We think, "Is it wrong for me to want to live in a nice house, drive a nice car? Is it wrong to want funds to accomplish my dreams, or wrong to want to leave an inheritance for my children"? God is saying, "It's not wrong. I take pleasure in prospering you". If it was wrong to have resources, abundance, wealth, why would God have chosen Abraham to start the new covenant with? Abraham is called the father of our faith, and the scripture says Abraham was the wealthiest man in all of the east. He had more livestock, more cattle, more possessions than anyone else. He was the Bill Gates of his day. God could've chosen anyone, but he chose Abraham, a man extremely blessed.
David left billions of dollars for his son to build the temple. David is called a man after God's own heart. Get rid of that thinking that God wouldn't want me to have too much, that wouldn't be right, that might not look good. No, it's just the opposite. When you look good, it makes God look good. When you're blessed, prosperous, successful, it brings him honor.
I realize everything I have comes from God. This suit that I'm wearing, my car, my house, my resources, it's God's goodness. Listen, you don't have to apologize for what God has done in your life. Wear your blessings well. The scripture says, "It is the Lord who gives you power to get well". God wouldn't give you power to do something and then condemn you for doing it. There's nothing wrong with you having money, the key is don't let money have you. Don't let it become the focus of your life. Don't seek the provision, seek the provider. Money is simply a tool to accomplish your destiny and to advance his kingdom.
Victoria and I have big dreams in our hearts. It's going to take millions of dollars to do what's on the inside, and these are dreams not just for ourselves, for a bigger this, a bigger that, but a dream to build orphanages, a dream to build medical clinics. I can't do that with a limited, lacking, God doesn't want me to have too much mentality.
I realize my father owns it all. He makes streets out of gold. You are not going to bankrupt heaven by believing for an abundant life. All God has to do is go pick up some pavement and give it to you. And when you have this abundant mentality, you have a desire to advance the kingdom, God will lavish you with good things. He will open up the doors of his sky vaults to where you not only accomplish your dreams, but you can help be a blessing to the world.
My prayer for you is found in deuteronomy 1:11. Says, "May the Lord God of your fathers increase you 1,000 times more than you are". Can you receive that into your spirit, 1,000 times more favor, 1,000 times more resources, 1,000 times more income? Most of the time, our thinking goes tilt, tilt, tilt, it's because we've been hanging out with that skinny goat too long. It's time to cut him loose. It's time to have a fatted calf mentality.
God is about to press some things down. He's about to make room for more of his increase. Now, get up every morning, say, "Lord, I want to thank you that you're opening up your sky vaults today, raining down favor, lavishing me with good things". If you'll have this abundant mentality, I believe and declare you won't live in the land of just enough, nor the land of barely enough, but you're coming into the land of more than enough, overflow, an abundant life in Jesus' name.