Joyce Meyer - Excellence - Part 2
An excellent person exceeds the requirements. They always go the extra mile. They go above and beyond, and they always do more than enough. They always do a superior job. John Maxwell said that one of his goals, every time he goes to speak, is to always do a little bit more than what is expected of him. I love that. We're called to walk in excellence. Now, we know the most excellent thing is love.
1 Corinthians 12:31 says "But earnestly desire and zealously cultivate the greatest and the best gifts and graces (the higher gifts and the choice graces). And yet I will show you still a more excellent way [one that is better by far and the highest of them all: love]". So, everybody should have some books and teachings on love. Because of all the things that we study, we need to study love. We need to look at 1 Corinthians 13:1-8 and take those words apart, and ask yourself: "Am I patient? Am I kind? Am I humble? Am I willing to give up my right to be right? Am I mad at anybody? How quick do I forgive somebody? Am I touchy? Am I easily offended? Do I always believe the best"?
We have to get serious about this. Jesus said, "One new commandment I give unto you", one, "One new commandment I give unto you: that you love one another, just as I have loved you. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples". And pretty much, in every message, I preach now, I say a little something about the importance of forgiving people that have hurt you. And I think I'm just gonna keep it up because there are more and more angry people in the world today than I have ever seen. And do you know? The Bible says in Matthew 24, which is a chapter about the signs of end times, that in the last days, "Because of the lawlessness and the wickedness in the land, the love of the great body of people", that's us, "Will grow cold". And boy, the devil loves that. Because I'll tell you what, the highest form of spiritual warfare is red-hot, on-fire love.
Worst selling book, I ever had was one on love. It's pitiful. How can you write a book on love, and nobody wants to buy it? But I bet I could write one on success and sell it. I mean, I've worked at this love thing, 'cause I'll tell ya, I was not a very loving person. And I've been studying it for a long time. And I'll tell you what, I do not have the energy to be angry. You say, "Well, the person that hurt me doesn't deserve forgiveness". Well, even if they don't, you deserve peace. Amen? And this is such a problem worldwide. I don't wanna accuse anybody of anything, but there's a good possibility and a good probability that there's more people in here tonight that have some kind of unforgiveness in your heart toward somebody, than there is those that don't.
And we gotta stop it. Because we need the anointing. We need our churches to be anointed. We need our leaders to be anointed. We all need to... Today, I think you need to be anointed to get in and out of the grocery store with sanity. You certainly need to be anointed to raise kids. Amen? How many of you agree with me? Well, I'm not gonna preach all night on that. But please, please, please, if you're mad at anybody, do what the Amplified Bible says, "Drop it, leave it, let it go". That's the way the Amplified Bible puts it: "Drop it, leave it, let it go". You don't have time for that. You're Christ's representative, he's making his appeal to the world through you.
Do the most excellent thing and love them. Some of 'em, you may have to love from a distance, but... Love them. Let me just say this real quick. Love is not having a gooey feeling about somebody. Love is how you treat people. And so, the Bible says, "You pray for your enemies. You bless them. And if they're hungry or thirsty, you give them food and drink". So, you help them. And you can do all that and not have any kind of loving feelings toward them at all. My parents both were abusive, and as they got older, God put it on my heart to do my duty. It's another part, that's a part of integrity, just doing your duty. Yes, duty. Yep, that word's in the Bible. And he told me to take care of them until they died. I thought it was the devil. I said, "I rebuke you in Jesus' name". I did. I thought, "God is not gonna tell me to spend my money and my time taking care of two people that abused me all my life".
Aw, don't... Oh, yeah, God'll tell you to do that. He sure will. And I can't say that there was one time that I went to the nursing home that I wanted to go, but I did it. I did it for the Lord, and I did it because I knew it was the right thing to do. You don't have to feel like doing the right thing in order to do it. And you say, "Well, Joyce, did you love them"? I didn't have any gooey feelings toward them. But yes, I loved them because I took care of them. I prayed for them. I blessed them. I met their needs. That's what love is. You can't stay mad at somebody for too long if you pray for 'em every day. It's part of excellence. We have an excellent God, don't we? He does exceedingly abundantly above and beyond.
Don't you love Ephesians 3:20? He does "Exceedingly abundantly above and beyond all that we could ever dare to hope, ask, or think". More than enough. Oh, we all like that scripture. Well, how 'bout if we apply it to our self? And we start doing exceedingly, abundantly above and beyond? Go that extra mile. If anybody forces you to go one mile, go two. Ok, let's just say you work an 8-5 job, you get an hour for lunch. I'm gonna tell you what an excellent person will do. An excellent person will clock in at 7:55, not 8. And they'll clock out at 5:05, not 5. And they'll take maybe 55 minutes for lunch instead of an hour and 15 minutes for lunch. You say, "Well, why should I clock in at 7:55, when I don't go to work till 8"?
Because if you clock in at 7:55, you're not at your workstation and you're not working at 8 o'clock. By the time you get your coffee, and you talk to all your friends, it's probably 8:20 or 8:30. And you're not gonna like it, when I say this, but you know what? It's stealing. I better behave. You won't let me come back again. I'm not saying anything to you that God hasn't said to me. When we had so very little money for so many years, I had to clip and cut every coupon I could find. And buy day old bread and dig around in the dented can basket. They don't have those anymore, but they used to have dented cans in one of the grocery carts, or cans with no labels on 'em. And you know, I'd hope to get peaches and get cat food, and didn't have a cat. God said, "Joyce, don't you think I can afford just a few more cents for some fresh bread"? But I had a fear on me of never having enough, because I wasn't taken care of as a child.
And so, I had not a frugal spirit, but a cheap spirit. I did everything the cheapest way it could possibly be done because I was afraid that I wouldn't have enough. So, we didn't have the money for steak. We never ate steak. It was always hamburger, chicken. Hamburger and chicken. Chicken and hamburger. Hamburger and chicken. And so, chickens would go on sale at the store, three for a dollar. And there was a little fine print on the coupon that said, "Limit three per customer, please". Or "Three per family, please". You know, we don't like the fine print. And one day, I saw that, and I didn't want three chickens, I wanted 12. And so, I took two of my kids with me, and we all got three chickens, and I put 'em in line behind me, and I acted like I didn't know 'em. And my heart's pounding in fear. And I'm thinking, "Oh, God, I hope I gave them enough tax money".
And I was teaching a Bible study. Had a big vision to do what I'm doing today. C'mon, some of you may have a big vision to do something great, but right now, you're in the school of the Holy Ghost. Come on. Well, you guys don't sound as happy as I want you to. So, I made it through the line. The kids made it through the line. And the Holy Spirit said to me just as plain, "Congratulations, Joyce, you just stole some chickens". The first time I preached this, I was in Paris, Tennessee, and the pastors and the leaders were all sitting up on the platform. And when I told that story, the pastor jumped up, he ran up, he pointed at his wife, he said, "You've turned me into a thief".
But listen, he said, "And it wasn't chickens, it was toilet paper, and it was for the church"! Now, see, it's humorous. But I couldn't go to Bible school when God called me into ministry. I already had four kids, you know. By the way, don't ever tell me you can't do anything for God because you got kids. I had three teenagers and a baby on my hip when I started this ministry. And don't tell me you're too old. I was 50 when I went on television. And now, you wanna know how long I've been on, so you can figure out how old I am. I'm not gonna tell ya. Alright, I've been on 29 years. But see, I don't feel like I'm that old because I don't think old. I say, "Age is a number and old is a mindset".
I didn't have the money to go to Bible college. I couldn't leave my family and go off to Bible college. And I was not ministry material. God had to teach me. And he just taught me through some of these silly things that I'm telling you how to be an excellent person, how to be an honest person. And it really comes, a lot, in these little things, behind closed doors, that we try to tell ourselves, don't matter. But if God's convicting you about it, then it does matter, and we need to follow our heart.
There is a man in the Bible who was really excellent, and he's the greatest example, I guess. That was Daniel. And in Daniel 1:8 it says, "But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way". He'd been taken into the king's court and was being trained to serve there. But he was a Jewish boy, who'd made a vow to God to only eat certain things. And they wanted him to eat all this rich, fancy food. And he took a big chance when he went and asked permission to keep his vow to God instead of doing what the king wanted him to do. But God gave him favor.
You know what? If you'll do what God tells you to do, you'd be surprised. God will give you favor. He'll open doors for you that nobody else can open. And Daniel just kept getting promoted and get kept getting promoted. I don't have time to tell you the whole story, but it said that because an excellent spirit was on Daniel, God gave him the ability to solve riddles and interpret dreams, and all kinds of supernatural things that we'd love to have. But it starts out by saying because he had an "Excellent spirit".
They passed a law that nobody could pray to any God or any person except the king for a period of 30 days. And Daniel went, immediately, to his room where he prayed three times a day. And it says, "With the windows open, he got down on his knees and he prayed". And they put him in the lion's den, like they had threatened to. But the Bible says, "An angel came and shut the lion's mouth". And the king was so impressed that he makes a law that now nobody can pray to anybody but Daniel's God. See, if we want, I mean, just because he kept his word, just because he kept his vow.
Now, keeping your word is a little more a part of integrity, but it has a lot to do with excellence too. Examples of doing the best you can with what you have. You may have an old car, but you can wash it, and keep it clean, keep the trash out of it, treat it with respect, and have a thankful attitude for it. Don't waste money. No matter how much money you have, don't waste it. "If you don't respect money, don't expect money". That's my quote. If you don't respect money, don't expect money. Amen? Is there anybody in the house tonight that could come up a little bit higher on excellence? Has anybody been even a tiny bit convicted yet?
One of the goals that I have is, every time I go and preach, I want to cause people to make decisions. Not just sit there and clap and think it's good, and tomorrow not remember what I said. But I want everybody to make a decision about something that's gonna cause them to represent Christ in a better way. Amen? And I know that there are so many tests that God has given me, that if I would not have done the right thing, I would not be where I'm standing today. And they weren't even great big spiritual things. We were visiting a... Well, we're preaching at a church in Jacksonville, Florida. And just like, we do, you know, I call it, "The loose mouth disease".
I said, to this couple, "Oh, you guys ought to come to St. Louis sometime, and you could stay with us. And we'll see the arch. And we'll will take you here, and take you there," and blah, blah, blah, blah. Well, they called about two months later, and said, "Well, we're ready to come". And I said, "Come where"? And they said, "Well, you know, you invited us to come to St. Louis". And I thought, "Oh, my..." I'm like, "What am I gonna do? I don't want them to come to St. Louis. I don't have time to mess with them". Whoo. And the Lord said, "I'll tell you what you're gonna do. You're gonna bring 'em. You're gonna put 'em at a good hotel and you're gonna spend the whole week with 'em. And you're gonna learn to not say things without thinking about whether you really wanna do 'em or not".
Sometimes we have to learn the hard way, don't we? And those lessons have been so important in my life. I could tell you, story after story, after story, that I know were tests that I had to pass, or I wouldn't be standing here today. I'm beseeching you tonight. Paul said, "I beg of you". Follow your heart and do what you know is right. Don't just do what you feel like. Don't just do what everybody else is doing. See, that's our excuse. "Well, everybody else does it". You're not everybody else. God told me, one time, he said, "Look, you've asked me for a lot. Do you want it or not"? If you want God to give you everything that you've asked for, then start walking the narrow path. It's a little more lonely on the narrow path. You might not find anybody on it sometimes, but Jesus. But you'll be hanging out with good company.