Joel Osteen — More Than Enough
I want to talk to you today about "More than enough". We're not supposed to go through life constantly struggling, not able to fulfill our dreams, or not able to be a blessing to anyone else. Lack is not your destiny.
You were created to live an abundant life, but if you've struggled for a long time, it's easy to develop a scarcity mentality, thinking, "I'll never be able to afford a nice house. I'll never have the funds to really bless my family". But as long as you think, "Not enough," you'll never have more than enough. You have to get rid of that scarcity mentality and start having an abundant mentality. God has ways to increase you that you've never thought of. He's not limited by your job, by your education, or by the family you were raised in. If you'll take the limits off of him, God will bless you beyond your normal income, beyond your salary, beyond what anyone in your family has seen.
I talked to a gentleman the other day. He volunteers at Lakewood, and he works in sales, and one of his clients called and said that their boss wanted to speak with him, and at first, he was kind of alarmed and thought something might be wrong, but this boss was so impressed with his work, he wanted to see if he would come and run his whole sales department. It was a huge promotion. The boss said, "If you'll take the position, then I'll give you ownership in this company". He said, "Joel, I didn't see this coming. I never dreamed I would be this blessed". He went from working at a company to owning part of a company.
You don't know what God has in store for you. You don't know the promotions, the opportunities, the favor that he's already ordained to come across your path. Psalm 35 says: "God takes pleasure in prospering you". It brings a smile to God's face to make things happen that amaze you. As a parent, when you do something special for your child, something out of the ordinary that they weren't expecting, you know how that brings you joy, makes you feel good. It's the same way with our Heavenly Father.
It gives him pleasure to see you blessed, and you may not see how this can happen, but the scripture says, "God will supply all of our needs according to his riches". It doesn't say, "According to your job, according to your talent, if the boss likes you, if the economy's up, if you have the right friends". It's not according to what you have. It's according to what He has, and the good news is, God owns it all. He makes streets out of gold, and if he doesn't have what you need, he can create it. He speaks and worlds come into existence.
In the scripture, a young lady named Ruth was barely making it. Her husband had died, and she was living with her mother-in-law in a foreign country. She had no income, nobody to help them. All the circumstances said she was stuck. This was her destiny, a life of struggle and lack, but just because you don't see a way doesn't mean God doesn't have a way.
Your circumstances may look permanent, but you can't see what God is doing behind the scenes. He's already spoken to the right people to help you. He's already lined up good breaks, promotion that you don't see coming. It's going to happen unexpectedly, out of the ordinary. You're not going to have to go after it. It's going to come after you. The scripture says, "When you keep God first place, his blessings will chase you down". One translation says, "They will catch you by surprise".
God is going to surprise you. He's going to open doors bigger than you've imagined. He's going to bring people that will use their influence, their platform, to push you further along. It's going to be uncommon, unusual. You're going to know it was the hand of God. It's like this building, the former Compaq Center. I never dreamed one day we'd own it, never dreamed we'd be having church here. This is one of those surprises that chased us down. We couldn't have made this happen, our strength, our ability. It was the goodness of God. God's dream for your life is much bigger than your own. What God has in your future is going to boggle your mind. The places he's going to take you, the people you're going to meet, the levels you're going to reach.
Paul said in Corinthians, "No person has seen, heard, or imagined what God has in store for those that love the Lord," and you may think you've reached your limits. God is saying, "You better think again. You haven't seen anything yet. I'm about to bring you into overflow, into abundance, into more than enough". Whatever level you're at, get ready, another level is coming. What you haven't seen or imagined is on the way.
Ruth would go out into the fields every morning and pick up the leftover wheat that the workers had missed. They were living off of leftovers. She and her mother-in-law were barely surviving. I'm sure they weren't thinking about abundance. Nothing in their circumstances said they would ever have more than enough. If Ruth heard this message, she'd say, "Not me, Joel, it's impossible. All the odds are against me". But Ruth didn't know what God was up to, and your circumstances may be against you, but the Most High God is for you. He's called, "Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord our provider". He said, "You will lend and not borrow". He says, "You are above and not beneath".
You may not be there yet, but God is not finished. He's working behind the scenes. Things are happening that you cannot see. Keep being faithful. Keep doing the right thing. Keep going to work with a good attitude. "Joel, nobody gives me credit at the office. I'll never be promoted". You are not working unto people. You are working unto God. Your job is not your source. God is your source. I can assure you, God is keeping the records. Your time is coming.
Ruth was faithful. She'd been through loss, in a foreign country, no income, yet you never read where Ruth complained. She didn't get bitter. She didn't give up on life. She kept doing the right thing, being her best, taking care of her mother-in-law, going out every day, gathering up the food. She could've thought, "God, I'm made for more than this. I'm not going to go pick up leftover wheat. That's beneath me. Ruth passed the test in the small things.
Before God can trust you with much, you have to prove to him you'll be faithful with little. Don't discount where you are. If you don't take care of that old car, why should God bless you with a new one? If you complain about that apartment, why should God bless you with a house? If you're not faithful at the job where you are now, why should God bless you with your own business? Pass the small test.
One day, while Ruth was out working in the fields, God spoke to Boaz, the owner of those fields, and told him to be good to Ruth. He had his workers leave wheat on the ground on purpose for Ruth. Now, when she went out, she had more than enough. She gathered it in a fraction of the time. When she went home, I can imagine, her mother-in-law said, "Ruth, what in the world happened? Did you win the lottery? How did you get so much wheat in so little time"? Ruth had no explanation. She said, "I don't know how it happened. For some reason, these workers left all this extra wheat". That was God saying, "Surprise. Here's a blessing you're not going to have to work for". It's going to come to you. You just show up, and it'll be waiting for you.
God has some of these blessings in store for you. You're not going to have to make it happen. You just keep being faithful, keep doing the right thing, and suddenly, there's more than enough. Suddenly, the Compaq Center. Suddenly, ownership in a company. Suddenly, the house falls into your hands. You can't explain it. You didn't see it coming. What happened? God surprised you. One of his blessings chased you down, and what's interesting is, God spoke to Boaz to be good to Ruth, but Ruth didn't know about it. God didn't tell her, "I'm going to speak to this man and he's going to bless you". All Ruth knew was, suddenly, her life became much easier. Suddenly, there was an abundance of wheat on the ground.
You don't know who God has already spoken to about you. There are people God has already lined up to leave wheat on the ground for you, people that will cause things to happen that you had nothing to do with, but suddenly, you'll go to a new level. Suddenly, you'll come into more than enough. You can't explain it. You can't take credit for it. There was nothing in your circumstances that said it was going to happen. That was God simply taking pleasure in prospering you, God showing his favor on you, causing you to stand out.
And the story could end here, and it would be a happy ending. Ruth and her mother-in-law had plenty, but God likes to exceed our expectations. Boaz fell in love with Ruth. They ended up getting married. Now, instead of working in those fields, Ruth owned the fields. She never had to go out and pick up wheat like that again. She came into a new level, abundance, overflow. Those workers she used to follow behind. Now, they all work for here. She went from the tail to the head, from borrowing to lending, from being in lack to having more than enough.
If Ruth were here today, she would tell you, "It may look impossible. The odds may be against you, but stay in faith. You don't know who God is whispering to right now about you. You don't know who's going to open a door for you for no reason. You don't know who's about to show you favor that you didn't see coming".
But sometimes religion tries to make us feel like we're not supposed to be blessed. We're not supposed to have resources. But the scripture says that Job was the wealthiest man in the east. He was very blessed with resources, livestock, a successful business. God said about Job, "There was no better man than him". David left an inheritance to his son Solomon to build the temple that some scholars say would be over a billion dollars today. David's called, "A man after God's own heart". Abraham is the father of our faith. He's the one God chose to start the new covenant. He too was very wealthy in cattle, sheep, gold, silver.
What am I saying? God has no problem with you having money, as long as money doesn't have you. Money should not be our goal. Fulfilling our destiny should be our goal. Money is simply a tool. Money can send your children to college. Money could help you accomplish your dreams. Money can renovate a Compaq Center. Money can build an orphanage. Money is not a problem. It's the love of money that's the problem. If you make money your goal and you only focus on yourself, and live to show off what you have, life is not going to be very fulfilling. There are some things that money can't buy. Money can't buy peace. Money can't buy good relationships. Money can't buy health. I know some very wealthy people that are not well. Money shouldn't be our focus, but the fact is, it takes money to fulfill dreams.
Now, don't let a religious spirit convince you that you're not supposed to have anything. Constantly struggling, being overwhelmed by debt, not able to pay your bills is not God's best. Jesus did not come and give his life so that we could barely get by and live off of leftovers. He came that we might live an abundant life. "Abundant" means "Plenty," plenty of joy, plenty of good health, plenty of strength, plenty of opportunities, plenty of creativity, plenty of courage. God wants you to be so blessed that you have to choose which opportunities you take. You have to choose which contracts you accept.
David said, "My cup runs over". "Running over" means you have so much, you can't contain it all. I would love to take that contract, but I'm so full, I'm so blessed, I'll have to pass so I can take this better opportunity. "Well, Joel, this sounds good, but I don't see how it can happen for me. It seems far out". Can I tell you, we serve a far-out God, an exceeding, abundantly, above-and-beyond God? That's why he has you hearing this. He wants you to get rid of that scarcity mentality and start having an abundant mentality.
A couple of years after Victoria and I were married, one evening, we were walking through a nice neighborhood not too far from our townhouse. There was a big two-story house being built. It was almost finished. Nobody was there. So we went in to look around. It had big windows, a spacious entryway with a curved staircase, vaulted ceilings, great backyard. It was so beautiful, and as we were walking out, Victoria said, "Joel, one day, we're going to live in a house just like this one". She might as well have said, "One day, we're going to go to the moon".
That was so far beyond anything I could imagine, and being the great man of faith that I am, I went on to tell her all the reasons why it wasn't going to happen. I said, "Victoria, are you kidding? I work for a ministry. We'll never have that kind of income. We could save up for 30 years, and we still won't have enough". I did my best to talk her out of it, but she acted like she didn't even hear me. She said, "No, Joel, I'm telling you, one day, it's going to happen".
A few months later, we sold our townhouse and bought this old, rundown house, very dilapidated, but it was on a big lot close in to the city. The day we closed on the property, a realtor pulled up while we were standing in the front yard. We didn't know the lady. She said, "Would you like to sell the house"? I said, "No, we just purchased it". She said, "Congratulations, you just brought your dream house". I thought, "What's she talking about"? She explained how the neighborhood was in the process of changing the deed restrictions to where you could subdivide the lots. A year later, we sold half of the property for more than we paid for the whole thing. Two years after that, we were living in one of those houses just like we had seen that night.
Like with Ruth, it was as if God had somebody leave wheat on the ground on purpose for us. We didn't know they were going to change the deed restrictions, but God has an advantage. He can see what's happening behind the scenes. He knows things that you could never know. The scripture says, "God knows where the hidden riches are". He has inside information, and when you honor him, he will lead you into blessings that you didn't see coming. Favor, promotion, opportunities that surprises you, it takes you to a level that you didn't think you could reach.
When we moved in to that new house, I carried Victoria over the threshold, said, "Welcome to this house I always believed for". She barely even let me live there. Are you doing like I did? Talking yourself out of what God put in your heart, thinking, "It's too big, too much. You don't have the funds. You don't have the experience". You may not, but God does. He wouldn't have given you the dream if he didn't have a way. Why don't you get in agreement with God? He takes pleasure in prospering you. He wants to take you further than you've imagined.
When we needed a larger auditorium, the Compaq Center came across our path. Those same thoughts came to my mind, just like with the house, "Joel, you'll never get that building. You're wasting your time. You don't have a chance". This time, something was different. I had learned my lesson. I said, "No thanks, I'm in agreement with God. It's bigger than I've imagined. It looks impossible, but I know God can do the impossible.
All along the way, we saw the hand of God. He brought the right people to help us. He changed city council members' minds. We sold a piece of property at just the right time to make a critical payment. I thought we'd have to build an auditorium, but God said, "Surprise, I have an auditorium already built right on the main freeway". When you look around, you are looking at the goodness of God. You are looking at abundance. You are looking at more than enough.
In the scripture, there was a king of Judah named Ahaz. He had no regard for God. He closed down the temple and sold the sacred treasures. He set up idols for the people to worship. Five armies came against him every time he lost. The nation was decimated. The people were very poor, and struggling to survive. King Ahaz died at the age of 36, and was so disliked, he wasn't buried with the other kings.
His son Hezekiah took over. He had been raised in dysfunction. He'd seen his father compromise and take the easy way out, but Hezekiah didn't follow in his father's shoes. He was just the opposite. The first thing he did was to reopen the temple. He tore down the idols. He brought the people back to worshiping God. The whole nation began to flourish. They saw God's blessings and favor. The scripture says, "Hezekiah was very wealthy, and held in high esteem. He had to build special treasury buildings to hold his gold, silver, and special treasures. He constructed many storehouses for his grain, for the Lord had given him great wealth.
Notice where the wealth came from, the Lord. God increased him. Here's my question. Why was Hezekiah so blessed, yet his father died in disgrace, poor, defeated? His father didn't honor God. When you put God first place, there is a blessing on your life that causes you to prosper, a favor that causes you to rise higher to accomplish things beyond your own ability. Proverbs says, "When you fear the Lord". That doesn't mean be afraid. That means you reverence him. You ask him for guidance. You trust him with your dreams. You do your best to walk in his ways. When you do this, it says, "You will have honor, wealth, and a long life".
I believe one reason God has blessed me more than I can imagine is not because I'm perfect, not because I don't have weaknesses, but I've done my best to honor God. I learned from the time I was a little boy to keep God first place, to make pleasing him my aim in life, to always hunger and thirst after righteousness. That means to strive to do the right thing, to treat people with respect, to be a person of excellence and integrity. When you reverence the Lord, God promises you honor, wealth, and a long life.
One way we reverence God is by bringing the tithe, the first 10% of our income, to the house of the Lord. When we do that, it says in Malachi, "God will open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing too great to contain". This is what happened with Hezekiah. He had to build buildings to hold all the blessings that God gave him. Make sure you're doing your part, and God has promised he will pour out blessings you cannot contain, blessings that will take you in the overflow.
We see this in Luke chapter 5. Jesus was teaching on the shore of Galilee, and it was so crowded, he asked Peter if he could borrow his boat. They had never met before, but Peter agreed. When Jesus finished teaching, he told Peter to launch out into the deep and he would catch a great amount of fish. There were no fish there a little earlier, but Peter went back out and caught so many fish that his net began to break, overflow, abundance. He had to call other boats to help him get the fish back to the shore.
Here's the principle. A few hours earlier, Peter had fished all night and caught nothing. But when he honored Jesus by letting him use his boat, when he put God first place, now, instead of dealing with no fish, instead of being in lack, struggling, his focus has gone from not having enough to, how is he going to get all the fish back to the shore? How is he going to manage all the profits? That's God's dream, to pour out blessings you cannot contain. So, instead of living worried, wondering if you're going to make it, wondering if there's going to be enough, you spend that same energy trying to figure out how you're going to invest the increase, how you're going to be a good steward with what God has blessed you with. It all starts by keeping God first place.
The Israelites had been in slavery 400 years, struggle, lack, mistreated. They had no resources, no money, just the opposite of abundance, and, yes, we all go through seasons of struggle, seasons where we're not seeing increase. You may be there now, but that is not how your story ends. Don't give up in the middle. Something is coming. God is a God of justice. He's not only going to bring you out, he's going to make up for what you've been through.
Psalm 105 says: "God brought the Israelites safely out of Egypt loaded with silver and gold". They didn't come out of that injustice empty-handed. They came out loaded. That's what God wants for you, not to be loaded with burdens, debt, depression, sicknesses, but loaded with blessings, loaded with resources, loaded with joy. When we were little children and we would see someone we thought was well-off, we'd say, "Man, look at them. They're loaded. When I look at you today, I see loaded people, loaded with favor, loaded with good breaks, loaded with creativity.
Now, do your part. Keep God first place. Take the limits off of him and have this abundant mentality. If you'll do this, I believe and declare, increase is coming in ways bigger than you've ever imagined. God is going to open doors you never dreamed would open. Because you reverence him, you're going to have honor, wealth, and a long, blessed, abundant, favor-filled life, in Jesus's name.