Joel Osteen — Have A Spirit Of Honor
I want to talk to you today about having a spirit of honor. Any time you show honor you are sowing a seed. The honor you give away will always come back to you.
A lady in the scripture came up to Jesus and poured a jar of expensive oil on his feet and began to wash them. Oil represents honor. You could say she poured her honor on him. The religious leaders got upset and said, "Why did she waste the oil? We could have used that to feed the poor". Jesus said, "Don't bother her. She has done the best thing". This lady was known to be a sinner. Jesus looked at her and said, "Your sins have been forgiven". Because she showed honor, favor came into her life.
Here's the principle. The honor you pour on others will become the blessing that comes back to you. But with no honor there will be no blessing. With no honor, no promotion, no increase, no breakthrough. You will never receive what you're not willing to give away. Romans 12 says, "Take delight in honoring each other". Everywhere we go we should look for opportunities to pour out the oil of honor, to encourage people, to compliment them, to make them feel better about themselves. This should be a priority, on the forefront of our minds, "Who can I honor today? Who can I put in a good word for? How can I make them feel special"?
I was at a restaurant not long ago. The young man waiting on us was very sharp, very kind. He gave us great service. He was working his way through college and had big dreams for his life. After the meal one of the men with me said to him, "I'd like to speak to your manager". His eyes got kind of big like he may have done something wrong. The manager came over. My friend said to him, "I just want to tell you what a great waiter this young man is. He's got a great personality. He gave us great service. You are blessed to have him at this restaurant".
What was my friend doing? Pouring some honor in. He takes delight in honoring others. He is always looking for ways to make people look good. What's interesting is he is not the most talented person, not the most experienced, but he continues to see doors open up. God has taken him places further than he has ever imagined.
Here's the key. The amount of honor you show others will be directly related to the amount of favor God shows you. If you're stingy with your honor you won't see a lot honor coming back. But if you'll learn to be generous with your honor and like him, when it's appropriate, tell the manager how great the waiter is. Tell your supervisor what a great job your coworker did. Tell your spouse, your children, how proud you are of them. Those are not just nice words. They're not just compliments. It's deeper than that. You're pouring honor in.
The scripture talks about how when you honor others there is a commanded blessing on your life. It's like the oil that was poured on Aaron's head, the high priest, and it flowed down to the rest of the body. When you pour out the oil of honor on others it always flows right back to you. God commands you to be blessed. Some of you would see more favor, you would see new doors open up, if you would just take time to start honoring others. Look for ways to pour in the oil of honor.
A few weeks ago, Victoria and I were eating dinner. She said, "Joel, I've been listening to this teaching CD by a certain minister and he is fantastic. I get so much out of it. I think he's my favorite minister". After I got over the offense I sent him a text. "Victoria was just telling me how much she enjoys listening to you and how you're her second favorite minister". I didn't want to honor him too much. It just took 30 seconds but I thought, "I don't want to miss this opportunity. I want to pour some honor in".
A few minutes later I got a text back, "Wow! Thank you so much. You don't know what that means to me". If you will develop this habit of honoring others you'll find you'll be more rewarded than the person you're honoring. It will lift your spirits; brighten your day. That's what the scripture says. It's more blessed to give than to receive. But the way God works is you can't give away something without God giving you more in return. When you pour out the honor, you give the compliments, the kind words, the encouragement, it will always come back to you.
It's easy to live ingrown, thinking about, "Me and my goals and my dreams. Joel, I'm busy. I've got my own problems, my own challenges". Listen, when you lift up others God will always lift you up. When you make other people's day God will always make your own day. Every one of us has an honor supply to give out. It's not going to do you any good to hold on to it. It's not for you. It's for others. If you will start giving it away then you will see the honor, the promotion, the blessing, that God has in store for you.
Years ago my parents went to a reception for the new police chief here in the city of Houston. It was a young man by the name of Lee Brown. He was the first African American police chief in our city's history. When my parents told me where they were going that night I asked them who invited them. They said, "Nobody invited us. We're just going to show our support, to let him know that we believe in him, we're praying for him and that way he'll have somewhere to call if he ever needs something".
As a young man, that made such an impression on me. I thought, "Why would they go? They weren't invited. They didn't have to. They're just going to show their support"? Police chief Brown was very appreciative. Over time my parents became better acquainted with him. Years later he was elected mayor of the city of Houston. He served three terms for six years. My father, he would have him come pray at his inauguration.
Well, daddy went to be with the Lord in 1999 and I took over as pastor. Three years later we got word that the Houston rockets basketball team was moving out of this place, the former Compaq Center. This was a city-owned facility. We needed a larger auditorium. I thought, "I'm going to call mayor Brown and see what he thinks about Lakewood purchasing the Compaq Center". I'll never forget his words. He said, "Joel, I think Lakewood having the Compaq Center would be great for the city of Houston".
But looking back now I realize it all started with the honor my parents showed that young man. They didn't have to go. They weren't required. As far as they knew it wouldn't benefit them in any way. They simply went to support him, to make him feel loved and appreciated. I don't know if we would be here today if my parents had not taken time to honor that young man.
When you go out of your way to make people feel special, to let them know they're loved and appreciated, all that honor you're pouring out one day is going to come back to you or to your children. Honor activates the commanded blessing. When you have a spirit of honor it gets God's attention. Let me ask you, who are you lifting up? Who are you celebrating? Who are you making look good? Make sure you're generous with your honor. Be free with your compliments. Take time to write the note, to send the text, call the friend and congratulate them. Don't be too busy. Make honoring others a priority.
The scripture says, "David set out to honor Jonathan's son". That should be our goal. "I'm setting out to honor someone today". Start with your family. "I'm setting out to honor my wife, my children". "I'm setting out to honor my colleague, my coworker, my coach, my friend, my pastor". "Oh, Joel. They know I love them. They know I think they're great". No, tell them again. Make them feel special. Nobody can hear, "I love you," enough. Husbands, your wife will never get tired of you telling her, "Honey, you are so beautiful".
Victoria tells me after every service, "Joel, that was great today". I know she's going to say it but I want to hear it anyway. Set out to honor your parents. Maybe you're older. You don't live at home. Take them to dinner. Call them. Bring them a gift for no reason. Make them feel loved. The scripture says, "When you honor your parents all will go well with you". I believe this principle is true even in general. When you're generous with your honor all will go well with you.
Like my parents, when you take time to honor a young man you hardly even know, you're kind, you let him know that you believe in him, then somewhere down the road when you need a good break, when you need a mayor to be kind to you, or when your children need favor, all will go well with you. That wasn't a lucky break. It wasn't a coincidence. It was all connected to the honor you showed. It was all directly related to the seeds of encouragement, seeds of kindness, the seeds of loyalty. It was the commanded blessing on your life.
Now, if you're not seeing a lot of favor, you're not seeing many good breaks, you need to checkup on your honor. Are you setting out each day to make somebody feel better about themselves? Are you missing opportunities to show honor? It's easy to be competitive and think, "I'm not going to give them a compliment, especially in front of my family, in front of my coworkers. That may make me look bad". Or, "She got engaged but I'm not going to call and encourage her. I'm still single. That makes me depressed". No, more than ever, you need to pour out the oil of honor. That's what releases the favor.
Husbands, wives, set out to honor your spouse. "Well, if he would start honoring me maybe I'd honor him". No, you make the first move. Don't let someone's lack of honor keep your honor supply bottled up. Your honor is not dependent on what they do. It's dependent on what you do. (applause) set out to honor your coworker. Bring them a cup of coffee in the morning. Stay late and help them finish that project. Make them feel special.
This is not something that naturally comes to us because we're all busy. We've all got our own concerns. That's why David set out. He made it a priority. His attitude was, "I'm on a mission from God. I'm going to honor somebody today. I'm going to brighten their day".
My father had a brother that died. He had a son that lived in another state, my dad's nephew. I only met the young man one time. But every several months I would come over to my parent's house. My father would be on the phone talking to his nephew, encouraging him. He would send him gifts throughout the year. Always asking if there is something more that he could do.
Daddy didn't have to do that. Nobody would have faulted him if he didn't. But he set out to honor his nephew. In one way he was honoring his brother by honoring that young man. I wonder what kind of world this would be if we would all set out each day to honor someone. Set out to honor your relative, your friend, your boss. It doesn't have to be something big. A phone call, "Hey, I'm thinking about you. I want to tell you, you mean the world to me". You just poured honor in. That friend at the office that works so hard, tell your supervisor what a great job they do. Put in a good word for them. Simple things can honor people.
I have some friends that live in the Seattle/Tacoma area, Kevin and Sheila Gerald, pastor Champions Center. One night they were in a restaurant eating dinner and Bill and Melinda Gates walked in and sat down at a table close by. Kevin wanted to buy their dinner. He called the waiter over and told him what he wanted to do. The waiter got the manager. Kevin told the manager, "I don't want to interrupt them. I don't want to meet them. I don't want to shake their hand. I just want to buy their dinner and give them this note". On the note he wrote, "Thank you for your sacrifice and daring to take a risk to start Microsoft. Because of you, all of us have benefited. Our world is better. Thousands of people have jobs, houses and bright futures. Know that you are loved and appreciated".
Now, the truth is, Bill Gates didn't need anybody to buy his dinner. The wealthiest man in the world. Billions of dollars. But Kevin understands this principle. When you pour the oil of honor on it will always flow back to you. He didn't want to miss the opportunity. He could have thought, "Bill Gates does not need my encouragement and he certainly doesn't need my money". No, he realized, "It's not all about the other person. It's about what I'm supposed to do. I'm supposed to take delight in honoring others". He set out to honor him. What am I saying? Don't miss opportunities to be good to people.
I read a couple of weeks ago that a neighbor of mine got a promotion. There was an article in the paper that talked about his new position. I thought to myself, "That's great. I am happy for him. It couldn't happen to a nicer person". But do you know my thoughts didn't do him any good. You can think honoring thoughts all day long and it's not going to bless him. So often we have stored up honor. We think about it but we're not releasing it. We're not pouring it out.
I got up the next morning, took five minutes and emailed him a little note congratulating him, letting him know that we're proud of him. Don't miss these opportunities to show honor. If a coworker looks better than normal tell them. "Hey, you look great today". That's not just a compliment. You're pouring honor in. You see the security guard walking out of the building. "Hey, thanks for what you do. I appreciate you". Pouring in more honor. That friend you work with. "Hey, I sure enjoy working with you each day. You're a pleasure to be around". That's a spirit of honor.
It's sad to say but some people today would be quicker to say, "You're a pain to work around," than to give a compliment and say, "You're a joy to work around". They're quick to express the negative but they withhold the positive. We should be just the opposite. Be generous with your compliments. Be stingy with your complaints. Be free with your honor. Withhold the dishonor. There is enough gossip, slander, talking badly behind people's back. Let's develop the habit of talking good behind people's back. If a person's name comes up you know and you can put in a good word for them don't be passive. Pour in some oil of honor. "Hey, I know them and they're great. I think the world of them. They're the real deal". Talking good behind people's back makes a huge deposit.
A man asked me in another state if I had seen one of our staff members lately. He is close friends with this staff member. I said, "No, I haven't seen them lately but I sure like them. They are so talented. We can always count on them. They're a great addition to our staff". I could have just said, "No, I haven't seen them lately".
Nothing wrong with that but I didn't want to miss an opportunity to talk good behind somebody's back. Just like the bad always gets back to people, the gossip, the slander, the good will get back to them as well. I knew he would pick up the phone and say, "Hey, Joel was telling me how much he likes you, what a great staff member you are".
A second-hand compliment can be more powerful than a direct compliment. For you to talk good about people in front of your friends, your family, your peers, your coworkers - without them being there - that honor you're pouring in carries more weight. Put a good word in for somebody by talking good behind their back.
I know a young lady. She takes care of these two little children from time to time, a brother and a sister, ages four and six. She'll tell them often, "Do you know that your mommy, your daddy, are the best parents in all the world"? They get a big smile on their face like they're so proud. They don't know any better. They go home and say, "So and so said you're the best mom, the best dad, in all the world".
See, it's easy to talk badly behind people's back. It's easy to find fault and be critical. But when you have this spirit of honor you see the best in people. You focus on the good. You magnify what's right. If you hear somebody talking negative about a person you know don't just sit there and take it all in. "Yeah, let me tell you what I know too". No, be a part of the solution and not the problem. "Yes, they've got a few shortcomings but here's what I like about them". That honor not only quiets the negative, not only helps the other person, but it will always come back to you.
You have to ask yourself, "Am I sowing honor or dishonor"? You can't talk badly behind people's back and not expect people to talk badly behind your back. You can't sow dishonor and expect to have honor. Galatians 6 says, "A person's harvest in life will depend entirely on what they sow". This is especially important in our homes. Don't talk badly about your family members. You may not agree with them. Your crazy uncle may get on your nerves. But don't air out all your dirty laundry, putting that man down, telling all of his faults. That doesn't make you look good nor him look good. Protect your family. Protect those reputations. Stick up for your family.
I talked to a lady last week. She's been divorced for about three years. It was very difficult and unfair. She was extremely bitter toward her husband, telling me all the things that he had done wrong. This is where you have to dig your heels in.
Don't be dishonoring to your ex-spouse. You may not like them. They may not have treated you right but don't fall into the trap of sowing seeds of dishonor. If you have children, that man or woman is still the father or mother of your children. It confuses a child to hear one parent disrespecting the other. You can show honor by not being critical, by not making them look bad. They may have done a thousand things wrong but you know what? You're not the judge. God is. It's in his hands. You'll never go wrong by showing honor.
One time in the scripture Miriam was disrespectful to her brother Moses. She didn't like the fact that he married an Ethiopian woman, someone from a different nationality. This went outside of what she was used to. She started talking badly behind Moses' back, being critical of him, getting the whole family stirred up. It's interesting. The scripture says that, "God heard Miriam being disrespectful". God hears us when we honor people and he also hears us when we dishonor people. Miriam could have disagreed respectfully with Moses, without becoming bitter and negative.
Sometimes the way you show honor is you just don't stir it up. You just stay quiet. But she kept being critical, getting the whole family riled up. Here's the problem. What you sow you're going to reap. The scripture says Miriam came down with leprosy. Suddenly, she was unclean, had to leave the family. You shouldn't dishonor anyone but especially don't dishonor your own family. Show honor by covering some faults, by protecting some reputations.
When you have this spirit of honor you go to work each day and you don't just perform your duties but you do it with a right attitude. That's how you honor your boss. You honor that company. You can go to work and do everything you're told, accomplish all of your tasks, but if you do it sour, "I don't like these people. I can't stand this company," you're doing your job but that dishonoring spirit will keep you from rising higher. Promotion doesn't come from people. It comes from God. The environment may not be fair. The people may not be treating you right but don't let that be an excuse to be sour. You are not working unto people. You are working unto God. And if you will do your job with a spirit of honor, God will get you to where you're supposed to be.
Isaiah said, "If you're willing and obedient you will eat the good of the land". It's not enough to just be obedient. The question is, "Are you willing"? Do you have a good attitude? Do you do it with a spirit of honor? Young people, this is so important. If you will learn to honor your leaders, honor your teachers, honor your parents, do your work with a good attitude, then God can continue to promote you. But if there's a spirit of disrespect and "I don't know why I'm here. I know more than these people," that will limit how high you can go. But when you go to work and you get there on time, you do more than you have to, you make that company proud that they hired you, all the honor you're pouring out one day will come right back to you.
I'm sure at times, in the scripture, Joseph thought, "This is a waste. Treating these people good that are treating me badly? Doing the right thing and the wrong thing keeps happening to me? It's never going to pay off". No, some fifteen years later all the honor he showed Potiphar, the master that he worked for as a slave, all the honor he showed the prison officials when he was falsely imprisoned, all the honor he showed his brothers, the ones that threw him into a pit. All that honor eventually came back to him. He was put in charge of the whole nation.
You keep having that spirit of honor. Keep being your best. And like Joseph, you better get ready. Your time is coming. The honor is on its way. What you sow you will reap.
For seventeen years I worked behind the scenes here at Lakewood when my dad was alive, doing the teLevision production. Unlike with Joseph, this was a healthy environment. But during that time I did my best to make my father look good. I made sure the lighting was just right and the camera angles were perfect.
I had a podium custom made for my father and had him come down several times, stand before it. We looked at it on camera, made some tweaks until we got it just perfect. On Saturday nights I would go over to my parent's house, pick out a suit and tie for my father to wear the next day at the service on television. I'm not bragging on me but I poured a lot of honor in trying to make my father look good. Now do you know all that honor has come back to me? Do you know how many people make me look good? A whole lot. That's the way God is.
When you have a spirit of honor, being your best with a good attitude, talking good behind people's back, taking delight in honoring others, then God will take you places that you've never even dreamed.
My challenge: set out each day to honor someone. Look for opportunities to be good to people. Take time to write the note, to send the text, to make them feel better about themselves. If you will do this, the honor that you send out will always come back to you. I believe and declare you will accomplish every dream, overcome every obstacle and become everything God has created you to be. In Jesus' name.