Joel Osteen — The Blessing
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I want to talk to you today about the blessing. As parents, we have the ability to impact our children like no one else can. While the mother's role of nurturing and caring is vitally important, without the father's approval and validation, the child will feel a void.
Every person needs the blessing from their father. Many adults still struggle today with low self-esteem, working all the time, trying to prove that they're good enough, all because of their father's lack of affirmation. Their father never told them, "I'm proud of you". He never made them feel approved, so they're still trying to measure up, gain this approval that can only come from a father.
Fathers, we have something to give our children that nobody else can give. Other people can tell them how great they are, how special they are, but when you tell them, it carries a whole new weight. As the father, you have the God-given authority to bless your child. Every time you say, "I'm proud of you, I love you, you're beautiful," God releases strength into your child, value, confidence, security. Those are not just nice words, it's what the scripture calls the blessing. You are propelling your child toward their destiny.
And we're all busy, it's easy to get sidetracked or even at odds with our children when they're not doing right. "When they straighten up, I'll be nicer. When I'm not so busy, I'll spend more time with them. Or Joel, they know I'm proud of them. I told them 14 years ago when we brought him home from the hospital". No, they need to hear again and again. You're the father, you carry the blessing. Don't withhold your love, your affection, your approval.
Now, you may not have received this blessing from your father. He wasn't around growing up, or maybe he was there, but all he did was correct you, tell you what you're doing wrong. He didn't show affection, make you feel valuable. Don't let that negative cycle get passed to the next generation. You can be the difference maker. You can set a new standard, start blessing your children, start calling out their seeds of greatness, telling them what they can become, prophesying their future. Let them know you're their number one fan.
When you see them in the morning, give them a hug. Don't let them pass by without showing your affection. Sometimes, we were raised to think, "We're men. We don't express our feelings. We don't hug. We don't say nice things. That would make us look weak". It's just the opposite. When you show your feelings, you're strong. Real men hug their children. Real men show affection, make their children feel valuable. Real men go out of their way to approve, to validate, to encourage.
Fathers, our children have been given to us as a gift. Do you know how many people would love to have kids? They're going through infertility treatments, spending thousands of dollars, enduring pain, suffering. They'd do anything to have children like ours. God has entrusted you with his most prized possession. He's counting on you as the father to give them the blessing. Your approval, your love, your affirmation carries more weight than any other man. Without your blessing, your children will struggle in areas that they did not have to struggle in. There's a reason people are insecure, angry, overly competitive, promiscuous. Many times, the root cause can be traced back to they never got the blessing from their father.
I know a man that's extremely successful. His business has taken off, but he's never satisfied. He works all the time, so competitive, he's got to go higher. We were talking one day, and he brought up how his father has never acknowledged his success. Never once told him he was proud of his son. When they visit on the holidays, his father never brings up his accomplishment. And this son, instead of being proud of who he is, enjoying his success, he keeps working harder and harder, hoping one day he'll gain his father's approval.
What a difference it would make if the father would just pick up the phone and say, "Son, have I told you how proud I am of you? How I think you're amazing? How you mean the world to me"? It seems so simple, yet it carries so much weight. It fills a void that only the father can fill, something we were all born with. Even as little children on the playground, there can be 20 other adults, people that we know, but we're constantly saying, "Look at me, daddy. Watch me run, daddy. Watch me jump, daddy. Watch how fast I am, daddy".
We long for our daddy to watch us. We long for our father to say, "That's good. You're strong. You can run really fast". We could have our babysitter watch us, our cousin watch us, our neighbor watch us, but when it's our dad, it takes on a whole new meaning. And this longing for our father's approval was put in us by our Creator. And your children may be 50 years old today, but deep down, they're still saying, "Watch me, daddy. Look at what I'm doing. Look at how I'm raising my children. Look at how I'm excelling in my career". They still long for your approval.
Fathers, here's the good news. It's never too late to bless your children. You may not have done this growing up. This is not the way you were raised. But I wonder what would happen if you picked up the phone, called your son, daughter. They may be 30, 40 years old, you hadn't spoken to them in a while, but you call and say, "Hey, I just want to tell you how proud I am of you, how much I love you, how I think you're amazing". Your approval even later in life can be a turning point for them. Your validation of their family, their success, their accomplishment can put an end to issues they've been struggling with, can bring healing and wholeness, set them on a whole new path.
Friend of mine named Robert grew up with an alcoholic father. They lived way out in the country. His dad was known as the town drunk. Robert was a star football player. In high school, he was named an all-American, went on to play in college. Football was what he lived for. But in spite of all of his accomplishments, deep down, there was a missing piece. As far as he knew, his father had never seen him play one football game. His dad had never complimented him, never told him that he was proud of his success.
Even though his father was an alcoholic, Robert still longed for his approval. And years later, he found out that his dad did attend many of his games, but he stayed way over to the side because he was so embarrassed by his drinking problem. After Robert's football career, went to seminary and became a minister. And one day, he received a phone call saying that his father had a heart attack and might not make it.
Robert rushed up to the emergency room, saw his father lying on the bed. His dad was going in and out of consciousness. He wasn't completely there, he thought Robert was the doctor, the cardiologist. He said something that forever changed Robert's life. He said, "Doctor, have I ever told you about my son Robert and how proud I am of him? He was the star football player, led the league in tackles. Now, he's the great pastor of a church". Went on and on bragging on his son.
Robert began to weep. That day, he heard the words that he had waited 35 years to hear. It was like a healing balm was released on the inside. It filled a void that only a father can fill. You think, "Well, come on, Robert, he's an alcoholic. He's never been there for you. Just blow him off". No, the father holds a blessing that is a strategic piece to our puzzle.
Maybe like Robert's father, you haven't been there for your children, had struggles and issues, and now you think, "My children don't need anything from me. Joel, I've made a lot of poor choices. They're doing better than I am". No, just like with Robert, they still need your approval. Don't withhold your blessing. Sometimes we think, "They know I love them. They know I'm proud of them. I don't need to tell them". No, a blessing is not a blessing until it's spoken. People don't know what you're thinking. They can't read your mind. Even though it may seem minor to you, as a father, when you tell your children you're proud of them, it can do something major in their life. The blessing of the father carries so much weight, it can help release them to a new level of their destiny.
I think about, growing up, how many times I heard my parents tell me that they were proud of me, that I was going to do great things in life. My father would brag on me so much in front of other people, it would embarrass me. Every place we would go together, he couldn't wait to say, "Have you met my son Joel"? He'd go on and on telling all of my history, how I did the television production at the church, and nobody could do it better than me, and I was the greatest producer, the greatest director.
None of that was true, I wasn't the greatest anything, but I kind of liked the fact that I had my father fooled. He was speaking the blessing. He was approving, validating, honoring me. There's a reason people are secure, confident, they feel valuable. It has a lot to do with the blessing from their father.
One time in the fourth grade, the principal's assistant came and got me out of class and said my father needed to speak to me on the phone. I was alarmed, wondering what was going on. Walked to the office, my heart beating fast, answered the phone, "Yes, daddy, what is it"? He said, "Joel, I'm ordering red lobster for lunch today. Do you want tater tots or French fries with your meal"? One thing about it, I knew my father cared.
He traveled a lot when I was growing up and couldn't attend many of my basketball games, but every once in a while, he would show up. My father normally wore suits. He didn't have many casual clothes, but when he had come to my games, for some reason he would wear short pants. His legs were so white, you needed sunglasses. They looked like the glory of God. If that wasn't bad enough, he would wear his black dress shoes with those shorts. That contrast was deadly. I was so embarrassed, but I had no doubt my father was so proud of me.
Maybe you're a father in a single-parent situation. You don't have your children with you all the time. That's okay, you can still give them your blessing. Don't take the easy way out and make the mother do everything. Your children need your love, your guidance, your support, your mentorship. If a young lady doesn't get the approval from her father, many times she'll try to get that approval from other men. She'll go from relationship to relationship, not valuing who she is because she has not been valued by the most important male in her life, her father.
Your daughter, as a little girl, she looks up to you as her hero. She admires you. She thinks you can do anything. She's not going to feel good about herself until she knows you think she's the greatest thing in the world. You're teaching your daughter how other men should treat her. She's learning from you what love is. She's felt her mother's love, but you are her first male love. You are her first boyfriend. It all starts with you. It's going to be compared to the love that you show her. It's why it's so important, fathers, not only to treat your wife with honor and respect, but treat your daughter like she's a queen.
You are setting the tone for how she will allow other people to treat her. If you're harsh, rude, condescending, don't have time for her, you're teaching her, "That's how men treat women. That's okay, find somebody like that". But when you treat her with respect and kindness, you value her, make her feel loved, important, honored, that's the standard she's going to set.
Our daughter Alexandra, her first date was not with another young man, it was with this young man. I've taken her to dinner, to the mall, to build a bear, to Disneyland. I've opened the car door for her, I've carried her luggage. I've told her she's beautiful, valuable, talented, one of a kind, a masterpiece. I've set a high standard. The people she chooses to date are going to have a tough act to follow. Not only are they going to be good looking like me, but they're going to have to bring their a game. They're not going to be average, mediocre. She'll know to weed them out. They're going to have to be a cut above, exceptional, extraordinary, people that will treat her like a queen.
That's what a father does. A father sets the standard. Don't be harsh on your children. Don't be too busy for them. If you don't tell your daughter how beautiful she is, don't be surprised if she finds a young man to tell her how beautiful she is. If you don't make your children feel special, they'll go out and try to fill that void with something or someone, a void that you can fill as the father.
Let's set a high standard. This is your legacy. This is what you're passing down more than your money, more than your success, your accomplishments. Your values, your principles, what you believe in, that's what's going to live on. I'm asking you to model excellence, model integrity, give your children the blessing, let them know they're made in the image of God, that they're extremely valuable, that they have seeds of greatness on the inside.
In the scripture, there was a father named Jesse, he had eight sons. When the prophet Samuel came to his house to choose one of those sons as the next king, Jesse's youngest son David was out in the shepherds' fields. Jesse didn't even invite David in. He thought, "He doesn't have a chance. He's too young, inexperienced". When Samuel looked at the other seven boys, he said, "It's none of these".
He asked Jesse if he had another son. Jesse was so surprised, he said, "Yes, David my youngest. He's out there taking care of the sheep, but I know it's the moment Samuel saw David, he lit up, said, "That's him, he's the next king".
Here's my point. Jesse had a king in his house and he didn't recognize it. He had one of the greatest men that would ever live, but he didn't see it. He just looked on the outside, saw his size, his ability, his experience. He couldn't see the seeds of greatness on the inside. He didn't see the giant killer, the army general, the skilled musician, the history maker.
Don't do like Jesse and have a king, a queen in your house and not recognize it. You don't know the gifts God has put in your children. You could be raising the next giant killer, the next army general, the next David, the next history maker. All they need is your blessing, your encouragement, to know that you believe in them, that you're cheering them on, that you're their number one fan.
In 2009, a young man named Jonathan Sanchez was a starting pitcher for the San Francisco giants baseball team. He'd been doing okay, but he started struggling. Eventually, he was sent down to the bullpen. When the star pitcher, Randy Johnson, hurt his shoulder, he was put back in the starting rotation. Just so happened his father had flown in from Puerto Rico to watch him pitch for the first time in the major leagues. And with his father up there in the stands, Jonathan pitched the game of his lifetime, striking out a career high 11 batters and not allowing one hit. It was the first no-hitter in 33 years for the giants.
After the game, the first one in the dugout to congratulate him was his father. Jonathan said, "I was so pumped to know that my father was watching me pitch for the first time". Wasn't a coincidence that he pitched the game of his life on the first time his father was there to watch him play. The blessing kicked in.
Fathers, when your children know you're watching them, you believe in them, you're cheering them on, that's going to give them an extra boost to rise higher, to go further, to accomplish things they never thought they could accomplish. And I realize not everybody got this blessing from their father. Some people lost their father early in life. Half of the children today are being raised in fatherless homes. Maybe your dad was around, but he wasn't a good influence, he made it harder on you.
Notice with David, even though his father didn't believe in him, that didn't change David's destiny. What God had planned for David's life could not be stopped by how his father raised him. Don't use this as an excuse. "I didn't get the blessing, Joel, now I know why I'm stuck, now I know why I can't accomplish my dreams". No, what you did or did not get is not a surprise to God. You may not have had a father involved in your life growing up. God said in Psalms 68 he will be a Father to the fatherless. God will be your father. He will watch over you in a special way. He'll get you to where you're supposed to be.
For many single mothers doing an incredible job raising their children without the help of a man, God said he will be your husband. He will help you raise your child. He will give you wisdom. He will provide for your needs. There's a single mom that attends here, she has two sons. They were raised on a limited income, but today, both of her sons are in major universities on full scholarships, one in medical school, one in law school. God will be your husband. God will take care of you and your children.
I read a story about a little boy, he grew up with a single parent mother in the hills of Tennessee. And back then, especially in that area, children that were born to unwed mothers were really looked down on. At 3 years old, the neighbors would not let him play with their children. They would say things like, "What's he doing in our town? And who's his father anyway"? He'd go up to the local store on Saturdays with his mom and people would make these disparaging remarks loud enough so they could hear it, "There he is again. Did you ever find out who his father is"?
He grew up insecure, always feeling like there was something wrong with him. At 12 years old, a new minister moved into town, a young man, very dynamic and talented, created quite a stir. This boy had never been to church. One day, he decided to go all by himself to see what all the excitement was about. He went late, sat in the back, hoping that nobody would see him. That day, he felt a love and an acceptance like he had never felt. Planned on leaving early, but he got engrossed in what the minister was saying, it was over before he knew it. He got caught in the crowd.
As he was leaving, the young minister was greeting everyone at the door, and he saw the young boy by himself. And of course, he didn't know anything about him, and innocently, this minister said, "Son, whose child are you"? The whole place grew completely silent. That was the question they'd all been wanting to ask. The boy put his head down, he didn't know what to say. The minister snapped that something was wrong. He looked at the boy and said, "Oh, I know whose child you are. I can see the resemblance so strongly, you're a child of almighty God".
That day was a turning point in the young boy's life. Chains of insecurity, inferiority were broken off of him. Over 30 years later, that young boy was elected governor of Tennessee. If you were to ask him, Ben Hooper would tell you the day he really got elected was the day that minister told him who his father was.
A lot of people today grow up without fathers. I wish that were not so, but if that's you, let me tell you what the minister told Ben Hooper. Your father is Almighty God. He's chosen you, called you, set you apart. You didn't get here by accident. You didn't just happen to show up. God breathed his life into you. You have a destiny to fulfill, an assignment that only you can accomplish.
A few years ago, after this service, this mother came up to me with two small children, a boy and a girl, and they were very loving. The little boy about 5 years old hugged me and he wouldn't let go. We talked for a little while and finally they walked away. A couple minutes later, the little boy came back, said he wanted to whisper something in my ear. I leaned down, he said in the most sincere voice, "I wish you were my dad".
I'll never forget that, but maybe today your father has not been involved in your life as much as he should have, and like that little boy, you feel a void on the inside, a longing for that approval. I believe right now, that void is being filled. Healing is taking place, wholeness, value, confidence. Your Heavenly Father is giving you the blessing. He's saying, "I'm proud of you. You're amazing. You're valuable. You're going to do great things in life".
Some of you, like me, have a father that's no longer with us. He's in heaven. You hear people say, "I wish my dad could see me now". Even when we lose our fathers, deep down, there's still a part of us saying, "Watch me, dad. Look at what I'm doing".
The scripture talks about how there is a great cloud of witnesses, people that have gone before us that are cheering us on. In the grandstands of heaven right now, looking down watching you closely is your father, my father, fathers that have gone before us. You know what they're saying? "Look at my son. Look at my daughter. Look at how amazing they are. Look at what they're accomplishing". They may not be here in person, but you can rest assured they're proud of you. They still think you're amazing. They still give you their approval. And we can look up and say, "Watch me, dad. We're just getting started. There are a lot of great things still to come".
Friends, life is short. Make sure you give your children the blessing. It's never too late. You can pick up the phone, call a son or daughter, tell them how proud you are of them. And again, if you didn't get the blessing, your earthly father wasn't around, God is your Father. He put his blessing on you, and I believe and declare because of that blessing, you're going to rise higher, you're going to accomplish your dreams, you're going to set a new standard for your family. Your children are going to be mighty in the land in Jesus' name.