Joyce Meyer - The Test Of Faithfulness
You know, faithfulness is on the endangered character list. I don't know if you realize it or not, but we're in serious trouble in our society, today because the things that we should be displaying the most seem to be disappearing more, and more, and more all the time. We're just on a steady decline. And, I can tell ya, if anybody is gonna model good character to the world, it's gonna have to be the believers because you're not, the only place we can even hope to be taught that anymore is from the Word of God. And, it's something we need to do a lot of teaching on in our churches.
I remember when God first started putting this ministry on my heart. And, it's very interesting to me, I probably didn't realize it at the time, what an important thing God was puttin' in my heart. But, this is what I felt like God spoke in my heart, "There's three things I'm gonna ask you to do. And, if you do them, your ministry will be blessed". Now, remember, this has been like 42 years ago. And here's what he said to me, "Whatever you do, do it with excellence. Be a person of integrity. And, keep the strife out of your life and out of your ministry".
Those three things. And, just to quickly tell you what that means to me, excellence is not perfection, it just simply means that whatever you have to work with you do the best you can with it. In other words, you might have an old automobile and you'd love to have a new one. But, you know what? Until God gives you that new one, you should keep the one you've got clean. And, you know, a lot of people think, "Well, this ain't gonna do me any good. I got some real problems, lady. Talk to me about my problems". Well, see, the things that I'm talking about today they go back to root character issues. And, no matter what else we think we need or want, if we don't have really strong godly character, we're never gonna be able to maintain the rest of it.
And so, we need to start with some of the stuff that is really important and the Bible says, "You will know them by their fruit". You will know them by their fruit. A good tree doesn't give bad fruit. It gives good fruit. And to be honest with you, if you're a Christian, I think people should recognize after being around you for a short period of time, that there's something different about you without you having to even tell them that you're a believer. I'll tell ya, by the time somebody's been around you a half an hour they should be suspicious that you must be one of those Christians.
And, you know, one of the things that has hurt "the reputation" of Christianity so much is just the way a lot of Christians behave. Now, you know, obviously, not everybody that's a Christian misbehaves. There's wonderful people with many godly virtues and godly attitudes. But, if you're a Christian and you're gonna do something, do it right. Don't do it halfway, or sloppy, or mediocre. And yes, I think things like keeping your car clean are important. I think it's important not to have a bumper sticker on your car and break the speed limit going down the highway. If you're not handicapped, I don't think you should park in a handicap parking space. Amen? And, especially, don't do it at church.
Come on, I'm just gonna be mama this afternoon. Okay? 'Cause here's the thing that concerns me. We now, probably, have at least two generations of people that grew up without seeing any of this or hearing any of it. And, I won't tell you who it is because if I did, you'd know his name right away. A very well-known minister was that one of my conferences about 2 years ago. And, in that conference, I did a message on excellence. And, I talked about some of the things that I talk about like putting your grocery cart back where it's supposed to go, and you know, things like that. And, this man, in all sincerity, came to me when the teaching was over. Now, keep in mind, this is a guy that's in seminars all the time, has been preaching several years, very popular, and he said, "I have never heard anything like that in my life". He said, "That was amazing". And, I just couldn't believe it.
That here's this person, that's standing up in front of all these people and doesn't even know that it's important that he put his shopping cart back where it belongs. Now, I'm sorry if this is too simple for you, but doesn't that kinda come under, "The golden rule," thing? "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you". Amen? And, I'm not gonna teach all this stuff on excellence today, but to be excellent means that you go the extra mile. That you don't just stop at mediocre, but you go beyond that. It means that you don't get to work late every day. And, take an hour and ten minutes for lunch, instead of an hour for lunch. It means that you don't play around on your computer doing your own personal stuff when nobody's looking. And when, the boss walks in the room you, "pretend" like you're working. But, you got your fish on your bumper.
So long as we've got our fish, we're okay, we're Christians. Is anybody awake out there? And, I don't know why but from the time God called me to do this, he really took a lot of time dealing with me, personally, about things like this. That it's important to keep your word, to do what you tell people that you're going to do. Amen? I was just thinking about something this morning that I woulda rather not thought of.
Sometimes, God reminds me of things that I'm trying to forget and I wish he'd forget it too. But, even things like this, I was going for physical therapy for my back and I had several sessions with the lady and I was getting good. She was actually, gonna have a surgery herself. And so, we agreed that I wouldn't come back for about six weeks and then I would come back and check in with her. Well, I'm doing good now and so I just don't want to go back. And, to be honest, I don't know, she probably, don't care if I come back or not. But, God reminded me that I told her that I would come back and check in with her. And, I believe, and you may think that I'm as goofy as the day is long, but I believe that if I don't do the things that I say that I'm going to do, especially, after God reminding me, if I still didn't do it, now, I believe that, that could adversely affect the anointing on my life.
You say, "Well, what's that got to do with the anointing"? Well, I don't believe God anoints dishonesty. Are you with me? And see, here's the thing. Even, if I'm not gonna go back and see her, I need to place a phone call and let her know that I'll come in if she wants me to, but I'm really doing good and I don't feel any need to. But, the last thing I should do is just not do what I said I would do, and ignore the whole thing. And, boy, is the world full of that today. Oh, my gosh. Doesn't it just make you wanna pull your hair out when you take off work to meet a repair man and he doesn't show up, and doesn't even call. And, you have to try to call the company again. And, they say, "Oh, we just got busy". So rude. Do whatever you do with excellence.
So how many of you got that part? And, here's the thing. And, of all the things I say today, this is gonna be the most important. Do it, especially when nobody's looking. Because who you are when nobody's looking is who you really are. Come on. Who you are when nobody's looking is who you really are. What we do to impress other people doesn't say that much about us. It's what we do when nobody's looking because we realize that God is always looking. And, after all, he's the one that we should be pleasing. Our reward comes from him. It doesn't come from other people watching us. And I'll tell you what, if you'll be faithful in small things, come on, God will make you ruler over great things. I want to say it again. If you will be faithful in small things, God will make you ruler over great things.
"Be a person of integrity," the Lord said. What does that mean? Do what you say you're gonna do. Be honest. You know, and, we just do a lot of loose talking. "Oh, I'll call you in a couple weeks and we'll go out to lunch". And, you no more intend to call them and go out to lunch. You're not even really paying any attention to what you're saying. You're just filling up air space. Amen?
I remember I was preaching in Florida one time at a church. And, we liked the couple who pastored the church. And, we'd been there a few times. And, I said to them, "Why don't you guys come to St. Louis some time, we can hang out, and we'll take you to see the arch and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Spend several days together. Well, lo and behold, a couple weeks went by and they called and said, "Well, we're ready to come". And, I thought, "Where ya going"? I didn't want them to come to my house. When I invited 'em, it never occurred to me they'd come. Come on, are you there?
And boy, when they called, it was not a good time. Not that it ever would have been but it was not a good time. And, I said to God, "Oh, God, what am I gonna do"? And, I knew, right away. He said, "This is what you're gonna do. You're gonna bring them to St. Louis. If you don't want to keep 'em in your house, put 'em in a nice hotel and pay for it. You're gonna spend three days with 'em. And, you're gonna learn..." Come on, you're gonna learn to stop saying things that you don't really mean.
You know what? My parents, I guess, they did the best they knew how to, but they just really weren't very good parents. Not only was my dad abusive but my mother put up with him and thought she was being, "Faithful". And, what she had wasn't faithfulness, it was just ridiculous. You know, 'cause she end up ruining her life and thankfully, because of the grace of God not mine, but my brother's life was ruined. You never help somebody when you let them, abuse and mistreat you and think you're being, "Faithful," in a relationship, that's not faithfulness. But, I don't ever remember my parents sitting with me and teaching me any life principles like this. You don't learn this stuff in school. You learn a bunch of stuff you're never gonna use once you get out of there. But, you can get out and not know how to keep a balanced checkbook, or how to tell the truth. Nobody tells you the things that really are gonna make a difference because they're not interested in telling you the things that God wants you to know.
And so, many of you are probably just like I was, if you learned it all, you're gonna have to learn it from God. Amen? And, the whole goal that we should have is, yes, to love Jesus, to receive him, but also, to become like him, to be Christ-like, and to get out in the world and let people know this is what Jesus is like. Jesus said, "If you've seen me, you've seen the father". And, we need to be able to at least in some way say, "If you've seen me, you've seen a little bit of Jesus". And, I'm gonna tell you something. We do not have the privilege to act like the world. God's word says, "Come ye, out from among them and be separate".
Now, that doesn't mean to act like we think we're better than everybody else or that we won't have anything to do with sinners. You can't help people if you hide from 'em all the time. But, there is a message there, that you cannot follow God and be like the world. I know, I may be Messing with some of your lives a little bit, right now, but you'll be glad... Eventually. This is one of those, "Ouch! Hallelujah"! Sessions. While you're in here it's, "Ouch," and later, you'll say, "Hallelujah, man, I'm glad I learned that". Amen? And then, the whole thing about strife... So many households are full of strife.
Some people don't even know what that is. Do you know we've had people ask us, "What is integrity"? We could take a camera and go do a man on the street interview and just ask, "What do you think integrity is"? And, a lot of people aren't even gonna know. That's how much we've slid in society today. And, you know, there was a time when a person's word was their bond. I mean, you didn't need a 15-page contract. It's amazing, what all you gotta sign today just to get your teeth cleaned. I mean, I went for physical therapy, I mean, now I'm getting physical therapy on my feet, you know, getting to the point where this hurts and then that hurts and something else hurts.
And, one of the questions was "How many people were in your father's family"? And, I thought, "What does that have to do with getting physical therapy on my feet"? And then, I had to sign and initial my name in, probably, 12 places. And, I know exactly, what I was signing. "If you kill me while I'm doing this physical therapy, it's not your fault". Nobody today, wants to be accountable for anything. Amen? "I want to just act however I want to act but it's not my fault, if...".
We had a situation recently where, we have an electric gate that goes into a little courtyard at our house where the garages are. And, it had needed some repairs and so, we had it repaired. Spent, I dunno, several hundred dollars getting it repaired. And, when they hooked it up they must have made some kind of mistake because when Dave drove through it, it opened up, but it closed on his car. And so, he had to go ahead and get through the gate, so it left a big scratch mark on the side of his car. Well, several hundred dollars to fix that scratch.
Now, you know, we coulda called the company and said, "You know, you need to take care of this," but there's no way that they would have taken care of it. It would have not been their fault that the gate they just fixed, they hooked up wrong and it...
But, I remember a day when there was integrity in the world and if that woulda happened, you woulda called the company and they'd a said, "Oh, man, we're sorry. We'll take care of that car". And, these things that are slipping away from us, believe it or not, that's a large part of what's wrong in the world today. We think, "Oh, these little things don't matter". But, it's the little foxes that spoil the vine. And, I can tell you right now, if you wanna have some big blessings poured into your life, you go home from here and you make a commitment to God to start really paying attention to the little things in your life. And, I can tell you, you will get some big changes. Are you hearing me? Amen?
Faithfulness. A faithful person is somebody that finishes what they start. Keep their word. They don't quit when the excitement or the newness of something wears off. Now, I have to sit down just a minute and talk to you about that first, for a second. 'Cause, I cannot even imagine how many people miss an amazing plan that God has for their life because when it's no longer exciting, they want to go find something else that is exciting. Happens in marriages. I've been married 52 years not because I get goose bumps every time Dave walks in the house. Come on, are you there?
You think when all those gooey feelings are not there that, that means you don't love the person anymore. That's not love. That's a goose bump. That comes from a physical attraction, but love is a lot more than just a physical attraction. First of all, I didn't even know what love was when I told Dave, I would marry him. I had been so mistreated in my life and had already been through one bad marriage where he was unfaithful. And after, 18 years with my dad and then five years with another guy that was about half crazy, I didn't know what love was. I didn't know how to give it. I didn't know how to receive it. But, after 52 years, I know what love is.
Stop switching what you're gonna do every few days because what you started to do isn't exciting anymore. Anything new is exciting. Everybody claps and cheers when you start something new. But, I wonder how many people miss their destiny because they never finish what they started because when it gets hard, or is not exciting anymore, or nobody's around clapping and cheering, and it's just left to you and God alone... You know, it's easy to sit here and listen to me, I'm doing all the work. Man, you having a good time, you didn't have to pay to come, we got a beautiful building here, great music, nice teaching... Your work starts when you leave and you go home, and then what are you gonna do with it? Are you just gonna file it away in one of your messages you've heard in your life and, you bought two books and you'll stick them on the shelf and never read 'em.
But, I went to the, "Joyce Meyer Conference". Or are you gonna maybe, at least, surely, out of three hours of preaching, you could pick out just three things or maybe even two, I'd even take one that you could go home and stick with that thing with God until you get a breakthrough in that area. And so, whatever God gives you to do, stick with it all the way through to the finish. And, start with little things. Like, even, little jobs you start at home. Huh? Now, go ahead just start squirming in your seat. "Oh, I started cleaning out that closet three years ago". I'm just a little tired so I think I'm just going to relax here, and just...
Come on. You know, no, who's excited about cleaning out the closet or the basement? Nobody is, but you know what? You can finish any project, now, listen to me, if you'll just, you take that closet and say, "I'm gonna conquer you". Why do you think that you're gonna have authority over the devil, if you don't even have authority over a sink full of dirty dishes? I mean, who do we think we're kidding? But, if you say, "I am gonna commit to spending 15 minutes a day gettin' this closet cleaned up". You know what? Even if it takes two weeks, you're gonna feel good because you're making progress. You're gonna feel good because you've accomplished something.
Now, every time you walk in there, you don't feel overwhelmed because there's a mess. And, you don't feel guilty because you know that you should take care of it. Instead, of feeling guilty about all the things you know you should be doing, why not just, starting today, to do them? Oh, I'm helping you. You could pay big money gettin' counseling for this. Okay, so start with the little things, things that are just between you and God. Now, you know, I've been doing what I'm doing for 42 years and people say to me, all the time, "Well, what's next? What's your dream, now? What's your vision? What do you want to do that you've never done"?
And oh, maybe, about six, seven years ago, I got to the point where I couldn't think of anything. And, I thought, "I just wanna teach the word and help people". I mean, any way that I can help people. If they're hungry, I want to feed them. If they're lonely, I want to try to make 'em feel better. I want to cheer 'em up with the word. I just want to help people. "Well, yeah, I know, I know, I know, but what's your vision"? After I heard that a few times, I started thinking, "Well, maybe I'm losing my edge. Maybe, I don't know, maybe I'm just getting old and gettin' tired and you know... Now, just hang on, just wait".
You know, it started to kind of bother me. And so, you know, I took it to God and I said, "Okay, is there something wrong? You know, am I not hearing from you? Are you trying to tell me something and I'm not listening"? And you know what God said to me? And, it set me free. He said, "You know what you're doing now? You're being faithful". Now, please, don't take this wrong. 'Cause I don't mean it wrong. But, I don't do this anymore because it excites me. This is not my first, "Joyce Meyer Conference". You know, I do a session then I gotta go in the back room and do stretches. Did I not do stretches at the break? I had to go do stretches.
You know, come on, I've been at this awhile. And, I'm in good shape, I workout and I'm in good shape, but anything that you have been doing 42 years, it's not new to you anymore. And, I don't do this... Now, I love what I'm doing because I love helping people with God's word. But, I am not doing this for me, I'm doing it because I believe it's what God wants me to do and because I believe it helps people. And, I will do it, I give you my word, that I will do it as long as I can stand up and breathe. I will do it because it is very important to me that I finish what God has given me to do.
And, I want to pass that off on you today. I want somebody here, maybe, if you just are starting to feel in your heart that God wants to use you in teaching, or in music, or in business, or whatever. Go ahead and keep that dream stirred up. And, when it gets hard, stick with it. And, when you get tired of it, stick with it. And, when you feel like nothing is happening, stick with it. And, when the devil tries to tell you, "You're crazy", stick with it. And, when everybody else doesn't want to mess with it anymore, stick with it. Amen? Because I'll tell you what. You never get to where God wants you to be if you can't make it through the hard times, and the silent years, and the times when you feel like nothing is happening in your life. And, there's gonna be lonely times. And, there's gonna be times when you think God's asleep and doesn't even know where you're at.
Come on, are you awake out there? If it's a change you need in you or a change you need to see in some of your loved ones, don't give up. Don't quit and give up. We don't have the spirit of God in us to be quitters. And, I love what Paul said. Paul said in acts 20:24, "None of these things move me". And, he was talking about all the trials and tribulations. "None of these things move me, neither do I count my life dear to myself. My one desire is that I might finish my course with joy".
And, I wanna finish what God's given me to do and I wanna be happy the whole time I'm doing it. But, joy is a totally different thing than excitement. Don't go get another person to be married to because the one you've got now doesn't excite you anymore. Because the next one you get, you'll get to that point too. Don't think you gotta change churches every time you don't feel like you're entertained every time you walk in the building. I'll tell you what. When you start going to church and you feel like you're getting nothing out of it, stop going to get something out of it and go to give. I think I'mma say that again. When you start going, "Well, I'm not gettin' anything out of this anymore".
I'll tell you story, real quick, that a girl told me. She came to my conferences for years, and years, and years. And, she said, "Joyce, I got to the point where I just wasn't getting anything out of 'em anymore". And, she said, "I started praying for you because I thought you'd lost your anointing". She said "I thought maybe you had to sin in your life," and whatever, you know. It's amazing how many people, when they're not getting anything out of something anymore, they're sure it's somethin' wrong with the place. And so, she said, "God said to me, 'well, you're not gettin' anything out of it because you're so full, there's no place to put anything else. You been sittin' in those meetings for years, now you need to go with a different attitude. And that is to give something to somebody. And when, you start giving out some of what you've got then I'll have room to pour more in'".
Come on. I don't care if it's even a little bitty, teeny, tiny thing. I would love to have you make a commitment, as part of this new excellent lifestyle you're gonna have to do something, no matter how small it is, do something for somebody else, every day of your life. Come on, don't make me come out there. What I'm saying is so exciting. I'm surprised somebody's not jumping up and down. Do you realize how happy you would get, if you'd get yourself off your mind for 10 minutes? I mean it. Pastor Tommy, this coulda been you that told this story. So, if it was, let me know 'cause that makes it even better, but told a story about a lady who wanting counseling. And thought she had all these big problems and she wanted to come in for counseling. And, I don't remember if it was you or somebody else... It was you. And, I'll probably mess this up, but I'll get it good enough. And, you couldn't see her for a few weeks, or something.
And so, in the meantime, she was real good at baking something. Wasn't it cookies, or brownies, or something? Cookies? Cookies. And so, you told her to bake cookies for people until you had time to see her. And so, she never came back for counseling. When he saw her and he asked her why she never called for the appointment. She said "Oh, you know what? When I got busy helping other people, I just forgot all about my problems". I'll tell ya what. No matter how big your problem is, and I'm not trying to make light of problems.
Like, I said last night, I know there's people here that are hurting really, really bad. But I love Psalm 37 1, 2, and 3. It says, "Fret not yourself over evil doers for they shall soon be cut down like the grass". Listen to this, "Trust God and do good. And you shall be fed in the land". It's very simple. What do we do when have a problem? If we can do something about it, do it. If not, you pray about it. You trust God. But, in the meantime, while you're waiting on God, you do good. You sow seed for your harvest by helping somebody else. Hello? Well, I gotta buncha notes up here, but I don't seem to be needing 'em, but God is faithful. And, it's one of the things that we love about him the most.
How many people do you know that you can trust to keep a secret? How many people do you know, that if you really needed to tell somebody something but it's very important that nobody else knows, how many people do you know? I'm blessed. I know about five people like that. Some people don't know any. Be faithful. Be a faithful friend. Don't just be in a relationship for what you get out of it. You know, I made a decision about 10 years ago. I got fed up with one-sided relationships. And, I won't have 'em anymore. I'm talkin' about personal relationships. I am not gonna have personal relationships where I do all the giving and somebody else does all the taking. You know why? I don't think that's healthy. I don't think you're helping the other person when you do that. You're not even making people show you respect when you do that. Be excellent. Be a person of integrity. Keep the strife out of your life. Stop getting mad about every little thing that doesn't go right. "A house full of sacrifices with strife is an abomination to the Lord".
I remember when Dave and I would come to church and fight all the way to church. Get to the parking lot, they had people out in the parking lot helping people park their cars and greeters at the doors. And, we'd fight all the way to the church. But, the first Christian we saw, "Well, praise the Lord. Thank you, Jesus". You know, you can sing the songs on the overhead and not even know what you're saying. I remember standing, I was in the front row, 'cause I was in leadership and I had a seat with my name on it. Nobody sat in my seat. I was a church, "Pillar". And, I can remember singing the songs on the overhead and thinking, "If he thinks I'm cooking him anything to eat today, he's got another thing comin'. 'Cause I know what he's gonna do. He's gonna go home and watch another football like he does every Sunday. And I'm gonna do all the work". ♪I surrender all♪.
Come on, let's get real. Let's quit playing games and start becoming Christ-like. I'll tell you a good prayer to pray. "God, tie me to the altar and do whatever you have to do to me to get me to act like a Christian, but please don't let me act stupid, anymore". Oh, this is so exciting. My gosh, I'm so excited with my message. Alright, one little last bit here, I guess, and then I'll have to go home. Faithful men and women stay under God's mighty hand. And, they wait until God promotes them, they don't promote themselves. And, when they are promoted they step into that place with fear and trembling not with a haughty attitude.