TD Jakes - It'll Work If You Work It - Part 1
The two texts I have chosen are dealing with how these two men met an appointment with destiny. It is about the passing of the baton. See them as bookends. The first story is one part of it, and the last text is the end of it. The first story shows how it started, the next text shows how it ended. Elijah is outside working in the field. He is oblivious. He is oblivious to the fact that his entire life is about to change. He has no idea that today would disrupt all of his family and change the trajectory of the rest of his life. It's just another day. I'm getting up early in the morning, and perhaps having breakfast at 4 o'clock in the morning. My grandmother would get up before day, morning was dark, and you ate breakfast in the dark because work in the fields starts in the dark before it gets hot.
And Elijah is just working in the field, working in his parents's field, working in the field of the dreams of his parents. Working in the field that he will inherit. Working in the field that he will own. His life is set. It is nice. It is neat. It is traditional. It is orthodox. He is in it. This is just another day. He has no idea that God is about to disrupt his entire life. One text could disrupt your entire life. One phone call can disrupt your entire life. One meeting of one person can disrupt all of your plans and everything about it, and put you in conflict, because all of a sudden, he has to wrestle with what he has imagined to be his destiny. All of a sudden, evaporates through one meeting. Because he exposes Elijah to something that we all secretly need. It wasn't just his mantle, Elisha saw somebody who was like him, and isn't that what we all really want, to find somebody who gets us?
And whatever we're doing while we're waiting is just filling space until we have an encounter with somebody who gets me, who speaks my language, who understands where I'm comin' from. Somebody who represents the possibilities of what I could be. This plow is my father's plow. These oxen are my father's oxen. I'm busy doing what they expected. And I'm talking about having the courage to be yourself. The courage to be yourself sets you in conflict with your environment. Do you hear the words that are coming out of my mouth? The courage to be yourself sets you in conflict with your environment, because your environment is predescribed and predisposed for you to function in predictable ways. And now here comes Elijah, and he throws off the predictable pattern of Elisha's life, and puts him in conflict. Shall I stay with the people who have invested in me all of my life and try to be their dream filler, or shall I go for myself and go after my own dream?
Oh, I want to stay there. I wanna stay there. I know this is gonna be hard for me, 'cause I want to stay there. Because some of us are stuck in that place, imprisoned by expectations. You'd be surprised at the things people do to keep peace. The jobs they don't take. The careers they don't pursue. The entrepreneurial pursuits they don't go after. The churches they won't attend. The religion they won't embrace. All just to keep peace 'cause I wanna be what you expect me to be, so you'll be quiet, keep everything nice, and keep everything neat, and keep everything quiet. And all of you people who need everything to be nice, and neat, and be quiet have contorted yourself and distorted yourself into a mere caricature of who you could've been, because you lacked the courage to be your own person.
I love you, but I gotta be me. You love me, but you gotta be you. And the only reason our marriage has survived is that we have finally grown to give each other the permission to be different, instead of trying to make me be her, or me make her be me. We finally realized that God didn't make a mistake when he made her the way he made her, and he didn't make a mistake when he made me the way he made me, and I am through shutting my mouth to fit in to anybody's expectation. I want you to see how difficult it is for Elisha to make this next move. All of the hopes of his ancestors is on him plowing in this field. Stay right here, this is what we designed for you. We are teaching out of a patriarchal society where the father's word was law, and if daddy didn't approve it, it didn't happen. And all of a sudden, instead of him living up to the expectations of his father, he has to have the courage to confront them and be himself.
You'll never be successful at being me, you'll only be successful at being you. You'll have to figure out who you really are aside from who you are expected to be, and ask God to bless who you are, 'cause God does not even know who you pretend to be. "Adam, where art thou"? Doesn't mean you disappeared, it means you lost your identity. Oh, God, help me, help me, help me. I'm talking to somebody, I don't know who it is. Elijah passed by that boy and threw his mantle on him for a moment, and it was a glimpse. It was a glimpse.
I preached a few weeks ago about glimpses. Have you ever caught a glimpse, just a glimpse of something that didn't even fit your surroundings, and didn't fit your environment, and didn't fit your paycheck, and didn't fit your pedigree, and didn't fit your degree, and didn't fit your background, but you got a glimpse? And it was so attractive, it was so alluring, it was so dynamic, it was so magnetic, it was so sexy, that all of a sudden, that once you have been exposed, you could never be unexposed. That's why the devil doesn't want you to be exposed, because once you know you can never unknow what you know. Once you know it, you know it. There was something about this mantle that spoke to him in such a way that he gathered his courage to go with Elijah.
Wait a minute, Elijah didn't know that Elisha was going to follow him, because God had told Elijah to anoint Elisha, but he didn't say he was gonna have to live with him. And Elijah said, "Look, dude, I'm just supposed to anoint you, and now you have upped the ante and you want to follow me? What have I done to you? Go away". God doesn't give either one of them all the details. And some of you are waiting on all the details before you make your next move. You will die an old lady and not have all the details. God fills in the blanks as you activate on what he has already given you to do day by day. "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord and he delighteth in his way". Away with all your questions of what do we do when we get there? Where we gonna stay? And what do the people think? And what, and what, and what?
You have spent years asking questions rather than obeying commandments. I'm talking to somebody, I don't even know who it is. God is not going to give you all the details, "For the just shall live by"? Good God Almighty, I feel something about to happen in this place. I feel a stirring in the Spirit. This was the call on his life. This was the call, a call to something, or call is in front of you, not behind you. If I say, "Serita, come here," I can't be there and say come here. A call is futuristic, but calls put you in conflict, because in order to answer the call, you have to leave there to come here. Separation, come on. It means you had to leave the familiar. It means you had to leave the comfort of the chair. It means you had to leave your surroundings. It means you had to leave your position. It means you had to leave how you knew yourself. It means you had to step out on something you didn't even know I was going to do.
When God calls you, you don't know what's gonna happen next. You didn't know I was going to call you. You didn't know what I want you for. You don't even know what I'm going to do now, you just obeyed because I called you. Give God I praise. That's what he wants. That's what he does. That's how he moves. That's how he works. That's how he speaks. That's how he delivers. You got to have courage to walk away from everything that's comfortable to you and do what God called you to do. I call you. Elijah, come here.
It followed him, even to Jericho, and they're having a walk in Jordan. They're just walking along, and Elijah asked Elisha late in the journey, not the first year, not the second year, not the third year, not the fourth year, the fifth year he says, "What shall I do unto thee"? And he says I would like to have a double portion of your money. Oh, I'm sorry, a double portion of your platform. A double portion of your contacts. A double portion of your stage. No, he says I want a double portion of your spirit. Do you know what to ask for? Are you asking for the wrong thing? Are you asking for the thing that is covetous rather than prophetic? What you call faith the Bible calls coveting. You are not to covet your neighbor's oxen, you are not to covet your neighbor's wife, you're not to covet your neighbor's state. That is not what he wanted from Elijah. He didn't want Elijah's stuff, he wanted his unction.
I want the unction. I see the unction. If you'd give me the unction, I can get my own stuff. Give me the unction. I want a double portion of your unction. I want a double portion of your power. I want a double portion of the power of the Holy Spirit. And Elijah says to him, "You have asked a hard thing, because only God can give a transference of spirit". You have asked something that is beyond my ability to give. Just because I like you doesn't mean I can make you what he didn't create you to be. So how dare you feel rejected of me because you have asked me for something that I can... I tell you what, if you see me when he shows up, if you're still here when the boss shows up, if you are still there when he shows up, and they're just walkin' along, and suddenly the heavens opened up.
I don't know who I'm speaking to, but God said you're gonna get a suddenly moment. And when God gives you a suddenly moment after years of service, you're gonna have a suddenly. Service, suddenly, service, suddenly, stability, suddenly, nothing, and then suddenly. After years you said, "It's not working. It's not working. It's not working". Don't stop doing what's not working, 'cause it will work if you work it. It will work if you work it. It will work if you work it. It will work if you work it. It might not work on year one, it might not work on year two, it may not work on year three, but if you stick to your guns, it'll work if you work it. And suddenly, somebody shout, "Suddenly". Somebody shout, "Suddenly". Somebody shout, "Suddenly". That's how your prayers are gonna be answered. That's how the door's gonna be opened. That's how the mountain is gonna be moved. That's how the way is gonna be made. I don't know who I'm talking to, but I'm talking to somebody in this room. God said I'm gonna give you a suddenly. Nudge your neighbor and say, "Suddenly".
After years of looking like you weren't getting anything, after years of being overlooked, after years of being ignored, God said he's gonna give you a suddenly. A suddenly is gonna break out in your marriage. A suddenly is gonna break out with your child. A suddenly is going to break out in your ministry. Somebody give him a praise for a suddenly. The heavens opened up and the chariot came. Now the guy who, watch this, stand on your feet 'cause if you don't, I'm going to keep going. Stand up, you gotta stand up. You gotta stand up, 'cause I'm fired up about this. Suddenly, the guy who wants a double portion of Elijah's spirit, when he got to the place that he could get it, he suddenly realizes I don't want the mantle, I want the man. "My father, my father, the chariots of Israel have carried you away, and now I realize what a privilege you are. Oh, my God, I will see you. I will see you no more. I will have to walk the rest of the way without you".
He wasn't crying out, "The mantle, the mantle, the mantle," he was saying, "My father, my father, my father. Everything I learned, I learned it from you. Everything I understand, I understand from you. Everything you taught me, it made me who I am, and I will see you no more. Oh, God, I will see you no more. How can I do this without you? The chariots of Israel have carried my father away. You see, I left my other father, and you are the closest thing to a father I have, and I will see you no more. Forgive me for valuing the mantle more than I did the man, 'cause it's gonna be hard to be you without you. In fact, it's gonna be hard to be me without you. Everything I ever did, I did it with you. Everything I ever learned, I learned it from you. Everything I ever accomplished, I accomplished with you. You got me into Gilgal. You got me into Bethel. You got me into Jericho. You brought me across this Jordan River. We just crossed over, and I don't even know for sure that I know how to get back without you".
And he rend his garments, which in the Old Testament, the ripping of your garments is a sign of utter grief. He ripped his clothes off, and he snatched his father's mantel, and he raised it high, and he said, "Where is the God of Elijah? Where is the God of Elijah"? What that means is will it work for me? You have been hearing me preach for years, but it doesn't mean anything if you don't learn how to make it work for you. Will it work for me? And God says nothing back to him. He gives him no assurance. He gives him no promise. It's not like Joshua, where he told Joshua, "As I was with Moses, so shall I be with you". God shut his mouth and left him to discover that it will only work... it won't work because you listened to it, it won't work because you took notes on it, it won't work because you shouted about it, it won't work because you spoke in tongues, it will only work if you work it.
And so, what he did, he did what his father did. Not just heard what his father said, he said, "Let me see". He bound up the mantle, he took the mantel and he bound it up like the old man had bound it, and he took it, and he smote the water. And when he smote the waters, the waters went hither and thither, but they only parted because he worked it. And the Lord told me to tell somebody who's been praying to him, I don't know whether this is gonna work. He sent me through all of this to tell you he heard your prayer. C'mon, c'mon, he sent me through all of this to tell me he understands your anxiety, your insecurity, your uncertainty. But in order for there to be real succession, we have gone through sacrifice, we've gone through service, we've gone through stability. Succession, it will only work if you work it.