Robert Morris - Living Beyond Blessed
So we're going to begin a new series called "Beyond Blessed". It'll be four weeks. I'll preach all the weeks. And, the title of this message is "Living Beyond Blessed". Now you might think, well, what do you mean by beyond blessed? I mean, if you're blessed, aren't you blessed? How can you be beyond blessed? So, I thought of a little natural example and it relates to where I am in my stage of life. If you have a grandchild, that's blessed. If you have nine of 'em, that's beyond blessed! So, I'm beyond blessed. So, what I mean by beyond blessed is that God so blesses us. I'm not talking about materialism. Please hear me. But, it's so that we can be a blessing. It's so that we can bless others. And this started, this is actually - "Beyond Blessed" is the sequel to "The Blessed Life".
In some ways, it's the prequel. They go hand in hand, and I'll explain that, but let me give you a little history of "The Blessed Life". We started the church in 2000. In 2001, James Robison's ministry came to me and asked me to come on the program and teach on giving. And the reason was, James said, because I teach giving, the way I teach giving. He was talkin' to me, he said the way you teach giving is that you teach that we get to give, we don't give to get. Everyone get that? And there's a lot of give-to-get teaching going on right now. And so he said, you know, I want you to come on and teach on that. And then he said, and if you can write a book, that would be good. And so I said, well, when are you talking about airing these programs? He said in about three to four months. Okay.
So, I actually went to a friend's vacation home and dictated "The Blessed Life" into a tape recorder in three days, and then gave it to a guy in our church who's an editor and ghostwriter that helped put it in, you know, written form for me, who still works with me to this day. He helped me on "Beyond Blessed," a very, very gifted writer. And so, anyway, we had it out and we self-published it. Now, let me give you a little background. I believe in giving the first to God. I believe the Bible teaches that. We'll talk about that a little bit. And when I laid my hands on the manuscript for "The Blessed Life," I felt like the Lord said, will you give this one to Me? And so, I gave that book to Gateway Church. Gateway Church owns "The Blessed Life".
Now, this is something that's so amazing about this. Debbie and I have never taken a dime from it. This is gonna shock you, what I'm about to say, and I wondered whether I should say it or not, because it is a big number, but I just want to let you know how God's used the book. Gateway Church, it brings in... about a half a million dollars a year, that one book to the church. So, it's unbelievable what God's done with the book. And I believe it has helped spark a movement of generosity in the kingdom of God, and many pastors would agree with that. But right after I wrote the book, I started getting a lot of e-mails and questions, and people would say something like this. Pastor Robert, I'm giving, but I'm still in debt. And for me, I didn't understand that, because giving is only one part of being blessed. And it's almost like saying, you know, when you talk about grooming, you know, you need to brush your teeth, and wash your hair, and use deodorant, and you know, all sorts of things for grooming, but it was almost like someone was saying to me, you know, I comb my hair, but I still stink.
Well... You know, there's more to it than simply running a comb through your hair, you know? So, giving is very important, generosity, but there's a huge second component, and that's what we're gonna talk about in "Beyond Blessed," and it's stewardship. Now, please hear me. Stewardship is not a bad word. It's not a bad word. Many times we have a bad connotation of it because a church'll say we're going to do a stewardship campaign. That means we're gonna raise money for something. Or, I'm gonna bring my annual stewardship message. That means he's going to preach on money, you know. But, stewardship has to do with every area of your life. So, let me explain to you about living beyond blessed.
Let me tell you point number one. Point number one is it takes two legs. It takes two legs. Here's what I mean by that. I didn't name "The Blessed Life". I didn't name it "The Blessed Wallet". I didn't name it "The Blessed Checkbook". I named it "The Blessed Life," and a life walks on two legs. If you're going to get somewhere, you've got to be able to move forward by moving one at a time. So, it's the same thing with being blessed. The two legs are generosity, which I covered in "The Blessed Life," and stewardship. Let me say it this way. If you are generous, but you're not a good steward, God will never open the windows of heaven over you. Here's the reason why: because you won't manage it right. He can never give you a lot of resources because you don't understand stewardship. You're not managing. You won't manage them. And so, it'll get wasted. On the other hand, if you're a good steward but you're not generous, by the way, we call that "tight". Go ahead and nudge. Okay. Then why would God bless you either?
Now, please hear me. Because His purpose is to get the resources to the people who need it. See, think about the need, all the people who need food, water, the gospel preached, churches built, missionaries sent, all the need. Over here, all the supply. Supply and demand would be God. God owns everything. He owns everything. He owns everything in the world, and out of the world, for that matter. He owns Mars. You know, He'll be at Mars when Elon Musk gets there. So, He owns everything, okay? So, God owns it all. Here are all the resources, right? All of them. All of them. God has it all. Here's all the need. What's in between? You are, because God channels, directs, funnels His resources through His children. So, He's trying to get it over there, so He'll bless you, but if it doesn't get over there, please hear me, He's gonna move on to someone else. He's gonna find someone who will be a river, not a reservoir, 'cause He's trying to help those people who need help.
So, He blesses so we can be generous, but here's what happened with "The Blessed Life". A lot of people caught generosity, but then they did not catch stewardship, or the management of their resources well, and so the blessing didn't last very long, because when they got blessed more, they didn't handle it well. They didn't manage it. That's what a lot of Christians are like. They're either generous, and they just keep going in circles, or they're tight, and they just keep going in circles. But, you have to have both. You have to be a good steward and you have to be generous, and here's the reason why it takes both legs to be blessed. It goes all the way back to our patriarch in the faith, Abraham. Genesis 12:2, "I will make you a great nation". This is God talking to Abraham. "I will bless you". Notice the idea of blessing a person was God's idea. God said, I will. I want to bless you, "And make your name great, and," here's the reason why, "you shall be a blessing". I will bless you so that you can be a blessing.
See, God wants His kids to be beyond blessed. We're so blessed that we get to give it away. We get to help people. We get to minister to people. Again, you have to have both. You have to be generous and a good steward. Now, I got three kids, Josh, James, and Elaine. And James, the best way to say it was he was tight growing up. All of my kids are good stewards, but let me just give you the analogy. So, I told all of my children when they were growing up, whatever you put in the bank, I will match. James almost broke me. He put everything in the bank. When he was 12 years old, he started working part-time at a dry cleaner's after school, just a few hours a week, and he said to me, "You told me you would match everything I put in the bank. Now, not just gifts from grandparents, but what I earn, too, right? Like when I earn chores, when I did chores you did it, so now I'm working here, you're gonna do it". I thought, well, it's just a few hours a week.
Well, he started working more in high school. He had thousands of dollars in the bank, and I mean multiple, multiple thousands of dollars. Josh and Elaine borrowed from him. I borrowed from him. But I quit, because I couldn't afford the interest! He's so tight he would squeak when he'd walk! You know, he just was tight, and everybody knew he was. I didn't know he was generous though, until a lady wrote me a letter. So when we published "The Blessed Life," remember it was Gateway Church that published it. So, Gateway Church was the only place you could get it, and we didn't have but just a few hundred members. And so, you had to come to the church to get it.
So, one day this lady comes to the church. James was 16 years old. He was the janitor. He was our first janitor. So, he was cleaning the church building. She comes to the church to buy some books, and she tells the receptionist - she's asking where the bookstore is. She tells the receptionist, I didn't know the Lord, and my husband and I were separated and we were just a few weeks away from a divorce, and I read "The Blessed Life," and I got saved. I gave my life to Christ. And I said to my husband, I will give you anything you want in the divorce. I'll take no money at all if you'll do one thing for me, but you have to do this one thing. I want you to read this book. He read the book and got saved, and they called off the divorce. That's pretty good. Because they understood to give their lives to the Lord, okay? So, she's telling the receptionist this. She said, and I want to buy 10 books to give them away to my friends that don't know the Lord.
So, the receptionist, they talked for a while and then she tells her where the bookstore is. She goes down to the bookstore, they've already got the 10 books set out. And when she goes to pay for 'em, the lady at the bookstore said, "It's taken care of". I would have never known this, but the lady that got these books wrote me a letter and told me. And she said, what do you mean, it's taken care of? She said, well, did you see the young man that was standing behind you that was taking out the trash when you were talking to the receptionist? She said, yeah, I saw him. She said, that was Pastor Robert's son, and he came down and paid for the books for you. I've watched God bless him in supernatural ways - supernatural ways. Why? Because he manages well what God gives him and he's very, very generous, and he never tells anyone what he does, he just does it.
So, it takes two legs to live a blessed life and to live beyond blessed. Here's number two. Why talk about money? And I want to answer this question, why talk about money? Pastor, I don't think you ought to preach messages on money, and I really don't think you ought to write a book talking about it. Well, have you ever read the Bible? Now really, I don't mean that wrong. Have you ever read the Bible? It talks a lot about money. You say, well, I don't know about that. Every time someone worshipped, watch it, they brought an offering. God commanded offerings. God set up tithing. That was not thought up by a preacher, even though you might think it was. A preacher didn't think it up; God did. God put tithing in the Scriptures, that heaven and earth will pass away, but the word will never pass away. It's pretty amazing. So, God did this. As a matter of fact, Jesus talked about it so much, it probably would have upset you, too. 16 out of 38 parables talk about money and ossessions.
So, here's a good question. Was Jesus trying to get their money? Okay, before I answer that, am I trying to get your money? I mean, let's just come straight out and answer the question. Am I trying to get your money? Now, I never want to be mean, but sometimes I like to say things straightforward. I'm just going to say it straightforward. I don't need your money. I have never needed your money. Now you might think, well, you needed it to build this church. No, I didn't, because God built this church. And you might think, well, yeah, but He used my money. No, He didn't, He used His money. And I would be very careful about calling the money in your account "yours," because He'll let you know whose it is pretty quickly. "The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof". Matter of fact, that's the content of the whole book, is whose is it, who does it belong to? Who is the owner and who is the steward, and God's the owner.
So, God has it all and He directs it through those who will be good stewards and who will be generous, because He's trying to get it to a need. He knows what He's trying to do. So, I've never apologized for preaching on giving. The reason is, I know it's actually a blessing for you to give. I know that. I believe it with all my heart. I wouldn't apologize when I preach to you on marriage. I wouldn't apologize when I preach on prayer. Why? Because I'm helping you. I know in my heart I'm doing this to help you, and I know it will help you. I know it will. So, let me just go back to this question. Was Jesus trying to get their money? No, He was trying to get their hearts. That's why He had to talk about money and possessions. And let me read it directly from Him, Matthew 6:21. This is Jesus speaking. "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also".
How many times do we get that backward? I've heard pastors even get it backward. They'll say, you know, the Bible says where your heart is, and they're doing it right before the offering, you know? Where your heart is, there your treasure will be also. That is not what it says. It says, "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be". In other words, it's not there now, but it will move there once you put your treasure there. "There your heart will be also". There's one pastor said to me, I know if I can get the people's hearts in the church, then they'll give. I said, no, actually if you can get them to give, then their hearts will be there.
Another pastor, I travel and speak, you know, in other churches and conferences and things. And so, I was in this church one time and the guy said, listen, if you see anything in the service that, you know, that can help us, you know, please let me know. So, after the service we went out to eat and I said, yeah, I did see something and I want to kind of put it straightforwardly to you so it'll make an impact on you. And so, he said, okay, great. And I said, well, I realized that you don't believe in your heart that giving is a blessing for people. And he said, really? So, tell me why. I said, well, when y'all were giving an offering today, you got up and you were talking about it, and you said, you know, it's time to give the offering. And then you said, but this is not for guests, this is just for members. And I said, so that would be the exact same thing to me as next week you'd get up and say, now we have a bunch of 18-wheelers in the parking lot, and they are full of new clothes from Macy's, and Neiman Marcus, and Saks, and Nordstrom's, and they're brand new and they're all free. They are free!
Now, this is not for any of you guests. This is just for our members. I said, see, when you said that, you let me know that you don't believe giving is a blessing, because when I give people an opportunity to give, I'm giving them an opportunity to be blessed so that they could be a blessing. So, that's why we talk about it. And here's number three, being a blessing. We've talked a little bit about it, but I want to cover this a little bit more, being a blessing. Now, God blesses us for two reasons. I don't want to leave out the first reason. He blesses us because He loves us. You bless your kids because you love your kids, and God does love you, and He does want you to be blessed.
And by the way, there's nothing wrong with wanting to live in a safe neighborhood, nothing wrong with wanting to have a bigger home, more bedrooms so the kids don't have to share bedrooms. There's nothing wrong with having more bathrooms. There's nothing wrong with wanting to be in a better school district for your kids. There's nothing wrong with wanting to give them braces if they need braces, or help them with college, or drive a dependable car. There's nothing wrong with any of that. And what happens is the enemy comes along and it seems like any of those thoughts you have, the enemy says, well, that's just materialism. You're supposed to give up all for Christ. And he just tries to speak condemnation to us all the time. There's nothing wrong with wanting something nice for your family. That's not wrong. So, God blesses us because He loves us, but He also blesses us to be a blessing.
And so, when we talk about that, I want to show you. There was a book a long time ago, very popular, a great book. I met the guy that wrote it, and we talked and shared, and he's a great guy. But it was a little book called, "The Prayer of Jabez". Do you remember that book? Okay, so it comes from two Scriptures of the Bible, great Scriptures, and I want to show you those Scriptures, all right? 1 Chronicles 4:9, "Now Jabez was more honorable". I just want you to notice that the Bible calls him honorable, even more honorable, but "honorable than his brothers. And his mother called his name Jabez, saying "Because I bore him in pain". Now, the word "jabez" in the Hebrew means pain, hurt, or sorrow. Okay? That's what his name meant, was pain. "And Jabez called on the God of Israel," or prayed to God, "O, that You would bless me," notice he's asking God to bless him, "and enlarge my territory," or increase my income, "that Your hand would be with me, that You would keep me from evil," watch, "that I may not cause pain".
Can I say that another way? That I could be a blessing to someone, that I wouldn't cause pain but I'd cause blessing. "So God granted him what he requested". Okay. So, I just want you to notice, an honorable man prayed to be blessed and God granted him. Why? So he could be a blessing. Are you all following me? So, is it wrong to ask God to bless you? Please hear me, I want to shout it from the rooftops! No! It is not wrong to ask God to bless you so you can be a blessing! That is not wrong!
Let me give you an analogy. Let's say you live in a community. It's kind of a farming community, and there's a guy in the community that's a mechanic, and he works on people's cars for them, and he will fix single parents' cars for free, and widows' cars for free, and he even pays for the parts himself. Good guy, he helps other farmers when they bring in the harvest. He brings his whole family and helps, his kids and all, but they just kind of struggle to get by. He just doesn't make that much. And so, the dairy farmer gives him milk, and the chicken farmer gives him eggs. And let's just, for this analogy, let's say that you own an apple orchard and you give him apples. And, then one day another family moves in and you think, you know, I probably should help them, too, and so you help them, then another family, and the community grows.
Pretty soon you're helping five or six families. And then you look at a piece of land that you have that you've never planted, and you think, you know, if I clear those stones out and fertilize that soil, I could probably plant some more trees and I could help more people. So, you plant the seeds and then you pray and you ask God to bless you. Is that wrong? Are you all following me? It's like the enemy has so messed us up that we should never ask God to be blessed, and that if anyone even preaches on being blessed, or even talks about finances, oh, that's that prosperity stuff. That's out of whack and that guy's materialistic. It is not wrong to be a blessing. It's not wrong to steward your finances in such a way that when you see a need and God leads you, you can meet that need.
Are y'all following me? That's what I'm talking about. That's what beyond blessed is about. Beyond blessed is about being a blessing, not being blessed for selfish reasons, but being a blessing, being blessed so we can be a blessing. Let me tell you one more story that happened to me. Debbie and I have some land, you know, outside the Metroplex, and we were driving in one time and we were gonna stop and get gas on the way, and go to the bathroom and all. And I started thinking about, now, this is gonna sound bad, but I'll explain it in a moment. I started thinking about this drink that I drink about twice a year, that someone introduced me to in high school. I told you it was gonna sound bad. And I started thinking, when I stop, I'm gonna get that drink.
So, let me go ahead and tell you what the drink is, all right? It's a Dr. Pepper with peanuts in it. So, I went to the counter to pay for it, and there was a lady in front of me who was counting coins out, no paper money, just coins. She bought $1.32 worth of gas. So, I did what any of you would do. I know you. You'd do the same thing. I went out to the pump. She was about my age, maybe a little younger, and she had her son and daughter-in-law there, and she was buying, that was all the cash they had. And I said, I'd like to fill your car with gas.
And then, many of you know that I give $100 bills away when the Lord prompts me, and I said, and I want to give you a $100 bill, and the reason I do this is because I used to be very messed up. I was on drugs. God saved my life, and God prompts me every now and then to give someone a $100 bill, but you have to know that this $100 bill is to remind you that God knows where you are, that He loves you, and that He wants to change your life. This mother of these two grown young people said, she gave me a hug and she whispered in my ear, "You'll never know how much they needed this right now". That is living beyond blessed.
Think about living like that every day. Every day, if the Holy Spirit prompts us to meet a need that someone has, we have the funds and we have the resources to do it. God wants us to live beyond blessed, again, please hear this, so that we can be a blessing. So I want to encourage you. Get the book. Get the messages. Let God take this truth and put it firmly into your heart so that we can be a people that live to bless other people.