TD Jakes - Forensics of Greatness
The temple to Diana was one of the most elaborate temples that was ever built in all the world. It took some 200 years to build that temple. It was powerful, it was amazing, it was significant, it was creative, and it was the offspring from which the city of Ephesus, which was right by the water, was made rich. It was the gateway to Asia, it was set in a position where the influence of the Asians, and the Judeans, and the Romans, all clapped their hands at Ephesus, and seizing Ephesus was very important.
To all of my business people, you will certify the fact that all banking business can be traced back to Ephesus, that the notion of banks and collective wealth-gathering had started at Ephesus, because in Ephesus the silver was made, and the silver was made there because Diana was worshiped with silver. And God planted faith right in the middle of finances, because even then, whoever has the gold makes the rules. And so God wanted an expression of himself in the seat of power, not that he was after money, but he wanted an expression of himself in the seat of power so that his people would not be dominated by people who were stronger economically than them. He puts an expression of himself there, and Paul spent almost three years of his life laboring in Ephesus.
Later, writing back to the Ephesians to make sure that the faith was established, because he says, "After my departure grievous wolves will come in amongst you, sparing not the flock," but, "I commend you to God". As his boat began to sail away and he waved at three years of his labor, he said, "I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and give you an inheritance amongst all them that are sanctified". He commended them to God, and later commended the work to Timothy, hoping that Timothy had been with him enough that he had his rhythm and he had his spirit and he had his pace and he had his fortitude.
One of the biggest problems we have in our organizations, in our business, in our company, is that we choose people who are academically equipped but they don't have our rhythm, they don't have our pace, they don't have our spirit. They see you as an opportunity, and as long as opportunity lasts, they'll be there. And when the opportunity leads to a greater opportunity, they will forsake you, not understanding that it is not your stage that is the most valuable, it is your wisdom, it is your survival, it is your tenacity. But because they are fooled by the brightness of your lights, they settle for lights, but lights fade. That's why the text says, "Be careful". It's not wrong to be rich, it says, "To the rich people, go ahead and enjoy all of your finery," he says, "But riches are fragile and they fade away. It's better to do good than to have a lot of money, because money can slip through your fingers and fade away".
Are you hearing what I'm saying to you? I'm saying that the best part of a person is never in their wallet, it's in their head, it's in their heart, it's in their spirit, and you cannot unearth that kind of treasure quickly. You'll have to do forensics in a relationship, and study long enough and hover long enough to find out that there's more to greatness than talent. I can take you to jail and show you talented people. I can take you to the homeless shelter and show you talented people. I can take you to people who are on death row and show you people who are talented. I'm trying to get you to escape the sad memories of a lost opportunity, because being talented is not enough. Oh God, potential is not enough. You've heard all kinds of people talking to you about how much potential you have. You cannot spend potential, you cannot draw from potential, you cannot use potential, people cannot follow potential. Potential that isn't realized only frustrates you.
To know that so much has been given to you and you have done so little with it is heartbreaking. And eventually, you cannot look yourself in the mirror. And today, we often talk to people about haters and critics and people who are cynics, but that's not really the worst problem. It's not when they hate you, it's when you hate you. And if you miss this moment, if you miss this opportunity, if you drop this mic, if you drop this chance that God has given you to be exposed to power and essence and glory, how can you shave your face and smile? How can you do your makeup and grin when your children got to watch you be given so much and do so little with it? Timothy represents an early church dynasty, a faith that includes his mother, Lois, and his grandmother, Eunice, who had raised Timothy in the faith before he experienced Paul.
So there are certain things that are passed on to him from his lineage, from his parents. You can't see them. No matter how close the camera moves in on me, you can't see them but both of my grandmothers are standing here, and my great-great grandmother who was born a slave is standing here, and my great-great grandfather is standing here, and my father, and my mother is standing here, because I am the sum total of all of them who came before me. Had there not been a Lois and a Eunice, there wouldn't have been a Timothy. And Lois and Eunice had been adept and effective at instilling into him what was to be valued. You must realize that being raised in that kind of lineage aligns him with his destiny. In fact, most do not really fully realize who they are, and they don't really fully understand the value of what has been passed on to them.
"Oh-oh, wait a minute, Bishop, you don't understand how negative my background was". That can teach you as much as the positive. Somebody showing you what not to be, what not to do, is just as important as somebody showing you what to do. You cannot have good mathematics without good problems. The answer only becomes the answer because the problem precedes it. Some of us are made by the power that preceded us and some of us are made by the problems that preceded us, and we never would've been the answer if we had not been exposed to the problem. Let's dig down into this greatness, let's go into this forensics a little deeper and begin to understand why gifted people end up in jail on one hand, and other ones end up on the stage in the other, and why, why does the caged bird sing. It is possible that the negativity that came behind you equates in the answer that you are.
Some of the greatest people I've ever met were the first in their family. God knows that glory isn't achieved by heritage alone, he knows that sometimes he supplements what we didn't get with who he introduces us to. All respect and honor is due to Lois and Eunice, they had instilled the faith in him, but not the rhythm, not the pace, not the flow, not the feel. They had not taught him how to withstand the stones at Lystra. They had not taught him how to withstand the opposition of other thinkers and the other theologians and hold to your convictions, they had not taught him how to be rejected by your own fellow apostles and still hold firmly to your convictions, they had not taught him how to fight. They had taught him faith, but not fight.
They could not teach him how to be an apostle, they could not teach him how to be a great leader, they could not teach him when to stand and when to run and what to fight over and what to die over. And it's not that Timothy didn't have a father, his father was a Greek. Consequently, Timothy had Christian faith but he was uncircumcised. And one of the first things Paul did because he knew, not that the law required that Timothy be circumcised, but the vastness of his ministry required that he be circumcised so that they would not use it as an excuse to reject his message. Some things we do, not because we have to, but we do those things because of the wide scope of our vision. And God is going to send us into so many arenas where we are being evaluated by different standards, and the metrics of their evaluation requires that you be able to be able to condescend and ascend with all types of people, and to be versatile enough that you are not rejected on a technicality.
Paul ensures that Timothy can hang with him because Paul is going to go places where circumcision matters. And though Paul is the one who fought against it being required for Christians, he is the first one to have Timothy to be circumcised, because you have to become all things to all people that some might be saved. I want to park here a moment and I want to talk to you about broadening, about broadening your community. I wanna talk to you about broadening your community. I wanna pause here and talk to you about broadening your community, that you might be in a circle where little is required, but in order to go to the next level, in order to become global in your thinking, your method may have to change even if your message does not.
Can I go deeper with this? I got to hurry, we gotta get from this legacy to point two, you gotta have language, you've got to have language. Look at Corinthians, 1 Corinthians chapter 4, verse 16 and 17, where Paul writes these words. They are so profound. He says, "Therefore I urge you," he says, "I urge you to imitate me". Oh, oh my God. Paul said, "I urge you to imitate me. For this reason I have sent to you Timothy". Wait, you told me to imitate you, and you send Timothy? He said, "Yeah, I want you to imitate me. Therefore I sent Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus". In other words, he speaks the same language, "Which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church". He's in alignment with what I teach, he has my language. The language is important when it comes to how high you go. Ask Nimrod.
"If they speak the same language, nothing can be withheld from them," even God said, "I'll never be able to stop them, they'll build a tower toward heaven if they have the same language". Your church must have the same language, your team must have the same language, your board must have the same language, and you've got to teach it over and over again. And you know why we're not getting the same language? because you're too busy preaching. You think they're going to get it through the sermons you preach, they will only get it through the vision you cast over and over and over and over and over again, until they get the same language.
I was talking to my son the other day, and I told my wife, I said, "Talking to my son is like talking to myself," he finishes my sentences. Before I can get something said, he says it. He gets angry about what I get angry about, he likes what I like, he doesn't like what I don't like. We understand each other so good that sometimes we don't even have to talk, we just look at each other and say, "Mm," and we know exactly what we're talking about 'cause you speak the same language. I can listen at either one of my daughters preach, and grab the mic at anytime and continue to flow, because I may not be the same person but we speak the same language, we look at things the same way, we flow in the same vein, there is a continuity. That's what you want to be connected to, people who have your language. Am I helping anybody today?
Paul wants to make sure that Timothy has the right language. So many scholars think that Timothy not only carried his bag, but assisted in some of the writing and worked as a scribe with him so that he would develop Paul's speech. If you have a son, a little boy, three years old, and you ever watch him, he'll get right behind you and try to walk like you. He'll get in your shoes when you're not at home and be clomping around in your shoes because he has watched you to figure out him. You know why you speak English? You don't speak English because they taught it in school, you speak English because your mama spoke English and your daddy spoke English, and it became your language, and you didn't have to learn what you were exposed to.
If they would've taken you as a baby in the crib and dropped you in China, you would've spoke Mandarin. You speak the language you're exposed to. So if you're exposed to poverty and negativity all the time, you'll speak in those terms, you'll think in those terms, you'll watch those kind of movies, you'll follow those kind of people. You love smut, it feeds your spirit because it talks your language. If you want to change your direction and you want to go up, you gotta change your language. Somebody holler, "Change my language". If you change my language, you change my direction. You cannot talk down and go up. Let me put it in biblical language, "The power of life and death is in your tongue". Whatever you say it is, it is.
You know why the woman with the issue of blood didn't die? It wasn't that Jesus passed by, it was what she said to herself, Jesus didn't even know she was there. It was what she said to herself, "If I may but touch the hem of his garment, I will be made whole". There ain't no scripture say that. There is no scripture that says, "If you touch the hem of his garment, you'll be made whole," but it is the language she told herself that stopped death from attacking her, and she couldn't die because of what she said to herself, and her language made her whole.
What are you saying to yourself when nobody's listening? I'm not talking about what you say when the mic is on, I'm talking about what you say to yourself in the bathtub, I'm talking about what you say to yourself while you're driving to work, because your life is headed in the direction of your tongue. Every idiom of thought has a language, architects have a language, archaeologists have a language, theologians have a language. Do you hear what I'm saying to you?
Business people have a language, media has a language. Have you learned the language of your dreams, or are you still speaking in the language of your past? You need to learn the language, the terms, the tools that are used in the area of your dreams before you get there. Because once you get there it'll be too late, because you'll get there and can't talk, you'll get there and you won't know what they're talking about, you'll get there and you won't be able to comprehend their language, and you'll have to speak in metaphors and similes because you don't have the language of your dreams.
So I want you to read into your dreams, I want you to watch TV shows about your dreams, I want you to make friends that are doing what you would like to do, not for the opportunity, just to be exposed to the language. I want you to look up words you don't understand. I want you to stop excusing yourself and allowing yourself and giving yourself a permission to be ignorant about something that you have the nerve to pray for. I want to point your tongue, glory to God, I feel the Holy Ghost, I want to point your tongue in the direction of your destiny. I want you to talk like it even though you don't have it. Even though you don't have the resources, even though you don't have the building, even though you don't have the funds, I want you to start talking in the terms of the direction of your next move so that when God opens the door you are prepared to speak in a situation that you could never speak in before.
Suppose Peter would've got up on the Day of Pentecost and started apologizing for betraying Jesus and denying him. Pentecost would've never fell. But he spoke to the same people that he had betrayed Jesus in front of and said, "Let the house of Israel know assuredly this same Jesus". You gotta talk like you got power even when you've been through shame, you gotta talk like you've got power even when you've made mistakes, you've gotta talk like you're getting up even though your bones are still in the valley, you've gotta talk like you're going somewhere. And Paul says, "I send you Timothy in my replacement because I wanted you to imitate me. I sent him 'cause he has learned my language to the point that I need not go myself".