Joel Osteen — Making Deposits Everywhere You Go
I want to talk to you today about making deposits everywhere you go. The way to make a deposit is to make people feel better about themselves. When you give a compliment, "You look nice today," or, "Great job on that presentation at the office," those are not just kind words. You made a deposit. When you express thanks, "I appreciate you, thanks for being in my life," that's a deposit.
Even simple things. You walk over to the parking attendant, shake their hand, "Good morning, how are you today"? The fact that you took time to show respect, you went out of your way to make them feel special, you made a deposit. All through the day, we should look for these opportunities, "Who can I bless? Who can I encourage? How can I make somebody feel better about themselves"?
My friend Johnny and I, we worked in the television department here at Lakewood when we were in our early 20s. A couple of times a week, we'd go down to the cafeteria to have lunch, and Johnny's always been very friendly, very likable. Would see the lady's nametag serving us, and Johnny would always call them by name. "Susie, I'd like some green beans, please. Thank you so much. Maria, I'll take some macaroni and cheese. You have a great day, and, Beverly, how about a piece of fish? And I really appreciate it".
He would bring a smile to their face. It's funny, one time, this Nigerian lady was serving us. Her name had more letters than the alphabet. Johnny looked at that name, and I'll never forget it. Pause, he said, "Honey, I'll take a roll". We would get down to where you check out, the cash register, I'd look back, and all those ladies serving would be full of joy, laughing, talking. He made their day. It got to the point, when they saw Johnny in the line, we could be 50 people back, they'd start waving. Here he comes again.
We always just thought that Johnny needed prayer, but now I realize he was making a deposit. He was brightening people's day, and the scripture talks about how we should leave places better off than they were before. When you leave the office you leave your house, are people better off than they were before? Did you take time to encourage anyone? Did you lift their spirits? Were you pleasant to be around? Or were you too busy, too stressed out, discouraged, grumpy?
Sad to say, but when some people leave, you're glad to see them go. They always are complaining, have a sad story, negative, bringing everybody down. Don't let that be you. When you leave, people should miss you. They should miss the joy, the the compliments, the kind spirit. Don't drag places down. Leave them better off.
Take time to make a deposit everywhere you go, at the grocery store. You may not be as outgoing as Johnny, but you can go to the cashier and say, "Thank you so much. That didn't take a lot of extra effort, but you just made a deposit, and you don't know what that person is going through. They may seem fine on the outside, but you don't know what's going on at home, the struggles they're facing, the disappointments they've been through, the challenges that are in front of them.
I was in line at a grocery store waiting to check out years ago, and the young lady at the register seemed very distracted. She kept making mistakes, and the register got jammed, and an item didn't have a price on it. Everything that could go wrong did, and people in the line were very frustrated, starting to complain. Some of them, when they got up to her, were very rude and short with her, and I thought, "This young lady has enough going wrong. I'm not going to be a part of the problem. I'm going to be a part of the solution".
When I walked up, I just smiled and said, "I know it's kind of stressful. People are being rude, but I'm going to praying for you. I know everything is going to get better". Her eyes got real big. She said, as sincere as can be, "Would you pray for me? My little baby is in the hospital, and I'm so worried about him".
We took 30 seconds right then and there and prayed, made the line even longer, people even madder. The lady behind me in line, she overheard it and said to that young girl, "My best friend is the head nurse at that hospital. I'm going to have her go check on your baby". The whole atmosphere changed. When we left, she was a different person.
See, God will use your smile, your compliment, your prayer to breathe new life into people's spirit, to let them know that somebody cares. To you, it may be no big deal, but to that other person, it's what keeps them moving forward.
There's a lady that attends Lakewood. She's a widow and she lives alone and doesn't have any family here in town, and she said her favorite thing about coming to Lakewood is, "That's the one time during the week that I know I'm going to get a hug". The only time she feels the warmth of another person is at our services. Most of us, we get hugs all the time. But you never know, that person you reach out to, maybe that's the only hug they're going to get this week. Maybe your smile, your compliment, your encouragement is going to be the only encouragement that they receive.
Be aware of who God puts in your path. "Oh," you say, "Joel, they're fine. They're doing better than I am. They're happy, they've got a smile, they're outgoing". I've learned many people smile on the outside to hide the pain and loneliness on the inside. You area a container filled with God. There is healing in your voice, healing in your smile, healing in your hugs. Take time to show a part of God everywhere you go. After all, God has no hands to comfort on this earth except our hands. He has no arms to love except our arms. He has no voice to encourage except our voice.
A lady told how her mother had died, and the mother was in her 80s, lived a long, blessed life, but the daughter was very devastated. She and her mother were very close, and now this daughter was just lonely. One day, she decided to attend Lakewood. She'd never been here before, and we have greeters at the door that welcome people, and when she walked in, this elderly lady greeted her. She gave her hug, and as she was pulling away, this greeter just gently patted her cheeks and said very lovingly, "We're so glad to have you here today".
This lady began to weep. When she gained her composure, she said to the greeter, "When my mother hugged me, she always patted my cheeks just like you did, and I know that was God saying, 'I'm taking care of your mother, and I'm going to take care of you'.
You never know what patting somebody's cheeks is going to mean, just doing your thing. You never know what kind of impact that's going to have. Think about this, there are 270 doors in this facility. What are the chances that that visitor would walk in the one door where the greeter would be there to pat her cheeks? And you may come to Lakewood, but I can't promise you you're all going to get your cheeks patted. But God will put you at the right place at the right time.
God knows how to use what you have, your unique gifts, your unique talents. You may not call everybody's name in the line like Johnny. You may not pat people's cheeks after you hug them, but God can use your smile, your compliment, your kind words to help put people back on their feet.
I met a young lady in another state. She had attended Lakewood for several years, and she went through a very rough time. Her marriages was falling apart, and she was so discouraged, didn't think that she could go on, and at one of her lowest moments, she was leaving a service here at Lakewood on a Sunday morning, walking down a crowded corridor with hundreds of other people going out of the building. In the opposite direction, going up to the visitor's reception.
Out of the hundreds and hundreds of people in that crowded corridor, Victoria reached out and gently touched her arm, looked her in the eyes, and said, "You are so beautiful". Just a 5-second interaction, and they both went their separate ways. Victoria never thought any more about it. Several years later, this young lady told me at a book signing, "Victoria will never know what she did for me that day. When I felt the most unattractive, the most unlovely, her words breathed new life into my spirit".
In the months to come, she would play that phrase "You are so beautiful". Four words spoken at the right time, that's what helped her to keep moving forward, and the scripture says in Hebrews to, "Encourage one another daily". Not monthly, not once a week, not when you feel like it, no, every day, look for opportunities to make a deposit. Make it your business to make somebody else feel better about themselves.
One time, I was in my front yard doing some yard-work, and it was very hot outside, in the middle of the summer, and I decided to go in and get some water. When I did, I heard the garbage truck coming down the street, and I thought, "I'll get a few extra bottles and give it to the trash collectors," and when I handed them that water, you would have thought I had yes, it's hot here in Houston, but it wasn't so much the water. It was the fact that somebody took time to make them feel appreciated. Somebody expressed their gratitude.
I read where half of all employees don't feel appreciated by their company. Eighty percent have never been told, "Thank you," for doing their job. Imagine what kind of deposit we can make when you thank the young lady at the grocery store, when you thank the person that takes your order on the phone, when you thank the ushers that seat you each week, or driving out of the parking lot, you thank the police officers and not whisper something else under your breath.
"Well, Joel, I'm paying these employees. I shouldn't have to thank them". Or "I pay taxes. I don't have to thank these police officers. They work for the city". No, do you know how much better of a job people will do when you thank them? Do you know how much more your employees will produce when they know they're appreciated.
A man went out to get his paper in the morning, and when he opened the front door, the little dog from across the street was bringing the paper to him. He was pleasantly surprised. He thought, "This is great," and he went in and got the him, and the little dog went off as happy as can be. The next morning, he went out to get his paper, the little dog was there with eight newspapers beside him. That dog had gone and got all the neighbors' newspapers. He thought, "If I get one treat for one, I'm going to get eight today". We laugh, but human nature is the same way. We'll do a lot more when we know we're appreciated.
A few months after I gave those trash collectors that water, one day, I had forgotten to take my garbage out. They come very early in the morning, and I had gotten busy, and I thought, "Oh, no," because it's hot, "And this garbage is going to stink," and not much I could do about it. Later that day, after the garbage men got through running their route through the neighborhood, they came back down my street, stopped at my house, rang my doorbell, and asked if my trash was ready. All I gave them was three bottles of water, probably $1.50 investment, but that simple act of kindness deposited something much greater on the inside. "I appreciate you. I respect you. I appreciate you serving my family".
Don't miss these opportunities to make deposits. When the mailman drops off the mail, "Thank you so much". The lady that helps you at the mall, "I appreciate you". The man you see at the gas station each week, "Thanks for being here, serving our community". Don't go the next 20 years seeing the people God's put in your life, not making any kind of deposit. Do something to make them feel better about themselves.
"Well," you say, "Joel, I'm not going to have any kind of long-term personal relationship with them". Maybe not, but you're not doing it for yourself. You're doing it for them. You're doing it because they've been made in the image of almighty God, and God placed them in your path.
Make some deposits. Do you know, some people, they never really get any compliments? They don't really feel appreciated. Some have never experienced even a simple act of kindness.
A friend on staff called this man we know in another state. He drives when we travel to that state, and a while back, there had been a big hurricane there. So my friend called just to check on him and his family, and when I saw this driver the next time, he said that was the nicest thing anybody had ever done for him. He went on and on. All it was was a 5-minute phone call, saying, "Man, we heard about the hurricane. Are you okay? Just checking on you".
What am I saying? It doesn't have to be something big. One compliment, "You are so beautiful," that's all it took for that young girl. One pat on the cheek, and that lady felt loved. Three bottles of water, and now I have personal track pickup for the rest of my life.
I read a story about a 19-year-old young man named Carl. He is a special-needs child. He has down's syndrome. He works at the local grocery store as a bagger, and everyone loves Carl. He's got a great attitude, and one day, Carl came up with an idea. He wanted to make people better. Thought for the day, some kind of encouraging word, and he would type it on his computer 6 or 7 times, then print it and have it copied, and his dad would help him to cut these into individual pieces so he would have about 300 of these inspiration sayings. He called it his, "Word of the day".
And when he would bag the groceries, he would put that thought of the day on the top of the bag, and he'd tell the customers, "I put a good word in your bag. I hope it helps you to enjoy the day". A week later, the line where Carl was bagging was five times longer than any other line. It went to the back of the grocery store, back by the frozen foods section. The manager got on the loudspeaker, "There are other registers open, no waiting". Nobody would move. They said, "No, we want to get Carl's word for the day".
What was Carl doing? Making a deposit, using what he had. He could have been at home feeling sorry for himself, thinking, "Somebody needs to cheer me up. I've got the disadvantage". No, if you'll get your mind off of what you don't have and use what you do have to make somebody else feel better, to brighten their day, I can promise you, God will always brighten your own day, and the reason some people are not happy, the reason they're not fulfilled is they're living ingrown. They're not doing anything good for anyone else. But when you get your mind off of your problems, off of your needs, and you focus on improving somebody else's will always come back to you. God will improve your own life.
I heard about this junior high teacher. One day, her students were being very rowdy, and she could tell that they didn't want to learn, and it was late in the day. She didn't really feel like pressing through it. So she told her class to put their books up and to get out their assignment was to write down every student's name in the class and list at least one good thing you like about that student.
The class went to work, looking around, thinking about what they liked about each other. Over the weekend, the teacher took the time to list the student's name, and then she copied all the encouraging comments that were said about them. On Monday, she handed that individual sheet of paper to each of the students. The room was just buzzing with excitement when they began to read the comments. You could see their faces brightening up. You would hear things like, "Wow, I didn't know they liked me that much". "I didn't know they thought I was talented". "I didn't know they thought I was so beautiful," on and on.
Years later, one of the students was killed while serving in Vietnam. The teacher, along with many of the students, attended the funeral. After the service, the father of the solider said to the teacher, "I'd like to show you what my son was carrying when he was killed," and he had this folded up piece of paper that the son always kept in his wallet. As he unfolded it, the teacher soon realized it was that note she had copied with all the encouraging comments.
When the other students overheard that, they began to tell the same type of story. One man told how he kept his note in his desk drawer at the office. A lady said she kept hers in her wedding album. Another former student, right then and there, pulled out his wallet, unfolded his, like it was his most prized possession. The teacher was overwhelmed. She never dreamed what kind of lasting impact that simple assignment would have that day.
My encouragement to you is be a wallet filler. Be free with your compliments. Take time to tell people how much you love them, how much they mean to you. It takes so little effort, yet it makes such a huge to that co-worker and say, "Hey, have I ever told you how much I enjoy working with you? You are so talented". Or to your spouse, "You make my life great. I'm so glad that God brought you across my path". To a son or a daughter, "I'm so proud of you. You're going to do amazing things in life". Those are not just words. They are treasures that they will carry for a lifetime.
Victoria used to work at her mother's jewelry store, Iloff Jewelers. From the time she was a little girl, her mother taught her that there is something beautiful about every person, their eyes, their smile, their hair, their personality, their clothes, and to look for it, and this got Victoria in the habit of always looking for the good, seeing what she likes about a person.
So often, we do just the opposite. We look at people through a critical lens, and if we see something that we don't like, we don't understand, we think, "Why does she wear her hair like that? It doesn't look good". "He needs to get in better shape". "He doesn't have a good personality". "She doesn't have very good taste". It's easy to see the negative, but every person has something great about them. Why don't you develop the habit of looking for that one good thing?
A friend of mine, Nick, and his beautiful wife, summer, they have a 4 or 5-year-old little daughter named Haven. Nick heard Victoria talking about this principle, and he's been teaching Haven how to look for that one beautiful thing. Now little Haven sees it as a challenge. Everywhere she goes, she studies people. She'll look them up and down, then she'll tell them, "I like your earrings". "I like the buttons on your shirt". She told somebody the other day, "I like your fingernails". She's developing this habit at a very early age of seeing the good, telling people what she likes, not what she dislikes. What's Nick teaching his daughter? How to make deposits, to leave people better off than they were before.
When I was growing up, my mother had a tradition that I never really liked. When it was somebody's birthday in the family, before we could cut the cake, we all had to say one good thing about that person, and to expressing my feelings, and my attitude was, "My brothers and sisters, my family, they know how much I love them. I don't need to tell them". But my mother would go around the room, as a little boy, "Joel, tell me one good thing you like about your brother Paul," and sometimes it would times I'd just have to lie, but we couldn't cut the cake until we all said something good.
I'm not even looking at Paul. But I realize now my mother was teaching us to make deposits, to be free with our compliments. We had to think about what we liked and not what we disliked. It taught us not to take people for granted, not to just think, "Oh, they're beautiful, they're talented, they're fun," but to express it, to let them know what we were thinking.
After all, our thoughts don't bless anybody. Love is not love until you give it away. Why don't you get in the habit of finding that one God put in your life, and then take it a step further. Write them a note. Send them a text, an email, "Hey, just thinking about you and how much I appreciate your friendship, your loyalty, your sense of humor, your personality," whatever it is. That's being a wallet filler. Those are treasures that they will carry for a lifetime, and people need encouragement today more than ever.
The reason why is because there's a bigger outlet for negative than there's ever been before. The internet is both a blessing and it can be a curse. It lets people say hurtful things and hide behind no name. Our children have to deal with on-line bullying, people making hateful comments that they'd never say face to face. They're too embarrassed. The negative has been turned up.
Now you and I need to turn up the positive. Don't be passive. Tell your family, your friends, in person, on Facebook, on Twitter, how much you love them, how great you think they are, and when you see a negative comment about them, go to work. "You are beautiful, you're talented. I like you because you're loyal, because you're fun to be around".
Do your friends and family a favor. Drown out the negative, critical, sarcastic, jealous people. They want to make withdrawals and push people down. You keep making deposits, pushing people up, and here's the key. Don't waste your time arguing with people that are hateful. They're not going to change their mind. They don't want to understand you. They're not happy with their own life. They're jealous, so they're going to keep trying to push people down. They more hate they pour out, the more love you pour out. Stick up for your family. Stick up for your friends. God's counting on us to make these deposits.
My challenge to you: encourage somebody every single day. Look for opportunities to make them feel better about themselves, and make sure when you leave the place is better off than it was before, and if you'll learn to be a wallet filler, making deposits everywhere you go, then those seeds that you sow will always come back to you. As you help others rise higher, God's going to help you rise higher, and I believe and declare you will become everything God's created you to be, and you're going to live the abundant life he has in store, in Jesus' name.