Steven Furtick - Don't Diminish Your Gift
This is an excerpt from: Flip The Bag
When you start thinking, "I don't have anything to feel good about right now. I don't have anything to be proud of right now…" I just want you to look at the Devil some this week when he's telling you you don't have anything and you are not anything. Only you and the Devil will know what this means. Say, "It's still a million". I got really arrogant one time, because the church was growing, and we had a holiday weekend, and there were only 8,000 people in church. One staff member showed me my million. They asked, "How many people lived in the town you grew up in"? It was 6,000. What I needed was to break down my blessings, to break down my bag and remember, "It's still a million". Here's what I mean. If God never does anything else for me, he has been so good to me.
Let me explain it to you. He canceled my sins. He did not treat me as my sins deserve. No, I'm serious. He gave me a purpose for living. He gave me a hope. He called me. He brought me into the kingdom. He put a crown on me. He gave me 750 million breaths, and I ought to use a few to thank him while I still can! You ought to thank him right now for your million! You ought to thank him right now for your bag! You ought to thank him right now for your blessing! It's still a million. Break it down. You have a lot once you start counting it. Come on, let's count to a million. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten… See, when you break it down, it doesn't sound so little anymore. Break down your blessings, and then invest it back. Flip the bag. One becomes two. Two becomes four.
See, I found this out. Would you rather have a million dollars today or a penny today but I'm going to double it every day for 30 days? I asked Graham last night. He thought for a minute. The first thing he said was, "Is this a real offer or is this hypothetical? Because how much do I need to think about this"? If we do it, and you can probably imagine, the first day that we double it, it's still not going to be much. It's still going to be significantly less than a million dollars. It's going to be two cents. If you just double it… That's 4…times 2, times 2, times 2, times 2, times 2, times 2, times 2. Now, it's still only $10.24, but what if you double it and keep doubling it? All discipleship is is doubling. All we can do as parents is try to double the values we think are important imperfectly as we model them before our kids and apologize when we think they're wrong and just try to invest something that has been invested in us.
All my mom did raising me was try to take what she had and apply it toward what she saw. And I'll be honest with you. It wasn't much. She would set aside $15 every week to send me over to Jack Cribbs' garage to learn guitar. Before that, my dad would cut Harold Staley's hair to get him to give me a guitar lesson. I think at that point it was hard for them to afford the lessons, so it was an exchange. Then my mom dipped pine cones and sold them around holidays, dipped them in scented wax, and then she would sell that and put that money aside and drive me to Jack Cribbs. Jack Cribbs' garage… He would sit on the freezer for the lesson, and you would get the chair. It was a really high-class operation there, but that was a good man who taught me beach music.
I didn't want to learn beach music, but beach music set the foundation for punk rock. I didn't learn a lot of chords. To this day, I don't know a lot of music theory. I know a little bit, but it's not how many chords you know. It's not how many bags you have. It's not how much education you have. It really isn't. I promise you. There are educated fools, and there are brilliant idiots. I've written songs now that God has graced, because one way you flip the bag is you collaborate. My favorite collaborator in the world is Chris Brown. There's nobody creatively I would rather collaborate with than Chris. It's not how many chords I know; it's whether or not enough people can come together, put their preferences aside, and move something forward and flip the bag. It's still a million. I'll tell you, I don't know that many guitar chords, but compared to most of y'all, I'm Mozart. Do you understand? If Billy would have just kept on…
"Oh, man. Well, this is not much". You don't have to stay stuck with what you started with. Look. I'm still going. That's over 10,000 now. It's still not a million, but we haven't gotten to 30 yet. If I keep doubling it, if I keep showing up… "Okay. I didn't get much out of church this week. Honestly, I was distracted by Pastor's shirt. It was bright and it hurt my eyes, but if I keep coming…" If I keep doubling, in 30 days… Now it's over 20,000. Now it's over 41,000. Oh, now it's getting interesting, because now I see we started two services so we could start two campuses. This is not a church growth seminar. I'm trying to get you to think about the time you have, the talent you have, the treasure you have, the friendships you have, the skills you have. Double, double, double. We're almost there. If you would have taken the penny, you could have had $5,368,709.12. You're like, "You can keep the change". No, don't keep it. Flip it!
You saw what we could do with one. If we take 12 and do that 30 days… Do not allow the Devil to diminish the gift God gave you. Do not allow the Devil to tell you your best years are behind you. I came to declare your blessed days are still up ahead. Flip that bag! In the name of Jesus, it is not nothing; it is more than enough! There is a gift inside of you that man did not deposit. It came from the Master. "Flip the bag" starts with your belief about God. B-A-G: belief about God. Until you flip that, you will always operate in fear like Billy instead of faith like Freddy. You will always hide what God gave you. The way the text ends, where you were like, "Oh, that doesn't sound like my loving, good, good Father…" Throw him out? Gnashing of teeth? That was his experience of the master that was based on his perception that was not rooted in reality.
Do you know how I know? Here's how I know. He said, "I knew you were a harsh man. I knew you harvest where you didn't scatter and you reap where you didn't sow". See, he thought God was trying to get something out of him that God didn't put in him. Here's what I know about God. Here's what I believe about God: he never makes a withdrawal where he did not make a deposit. The proof of God's power and presence and provision in your life is the demand. The demand proves the deposit. It shows you that he trusted you with something. I want to trust God, but I have to start understanding he trusted me. Just like you trusted me with your time today by being here, and I take that very seriously, God trusted you with something. How seriously do you take it? God trusted us with a church, and it could have stayed one service. It wouldn't have bothered me much.
When I had that dream and I was seeing the church small again, I was like, "Oh, that was fun". It wasn't complicated. I mean, honestly, if we didn't double the church, what bothers me about it is you wouldn't be here. I don't know what you've received through this ministry, but I know it started with a bag. It started with a belief about God. It starts with a belief about your gift. The biggest flip in the passage is just to see that all three of them received something, to see it as a gift. So, where the Enemy comes and goes, "Hey, man, that's not enough time to do that…" A lot of us don't spend time with God because we keep waiting on a week. You might have to catch some time with God in the car. You might have to turn off (I'm going to personalize this message to me) Sirius XM satellite radio Channel 34 Lithium where they play the 90s music that God likes. Turn off the worship music. Sometimes you'll be like, "This is all the time I'm going to have today to breathe".
When I was in college, I remember I used to go into the bathroom sometimes between classes and just go into a stall and try to take 3 to 5 minutes, because I wasn't a morning person, so I would sleep right up to class, and I didn't get my time with God then. So then the Devil would be like, "Oh, you didn't spend time with God. He's not going to bless you today". I'd be like, "I'll meet God in the bathroom. God will meet me right in there in that stall". To stay in a scarcity mindset is the Enemy's objective to get you to think about all of the things that other people have. To be honest with you, it's going to go psychological as well. You're going to start to feel like, "I'm just a messed-up person. That's the problem. I'm just not one of these good people. I'm just not one of these stable people. I'm crazy. I was raised by crazy. I was raised by third-generation crazy. Crazy came before. Crazy begot crazy begot crazy begot me".
If that's going on in your mind too, you will hide what is his. What I mean is when we live afraid and when we don't double what we've been given, not only do others miss out but we end up in a place of darkness and isolation, wondering what we could have done with one bag. So, I want to say to you that as I look over my life today, I think I've done a lot with what God gave me, yet there comes a point where all of us must decide if we want to double it again or if we should stay in a scared place or a scarce place.