TD Jakes - From Rags to Riches
This morning, I came to preach with a symbol. This is not particularly valuable to anybody who doesn't know what it represents, it's just a rag. What good is a rag? It's just a symbol. You might not recognize the value of this rag but this rag is a symbol 'cause a symbol is personal, it means something to the individuals. Some things, you know, you can get insurance on because you can go buy another one, but when they mean something to you they are priceless because you cannot buy the memory of what it represents. This is a symbol, it doesn't mean anything to anybody else, and you're probably wondering what in the world I'm going to do. But this morning, I want to use this symbol and the only person who knows what it really means isn't here today so I speak on his behalf.
This symbol means something to David, it is, the epitome of his journey and his life and his struggling, this rag. This old rag that don't even go with what I got on and don't fit in to where I am right now, but it's where I came from, it's the rag of a shepherd boy. It's the rag of a shepherd boy. A shepherd boy is not of the upper echelon, not in a caste system, he's a shepherd boy, he basically a field hand. His daddy worked out in the field and he was a boy in the house, and a shepherd boy, half the time no wages, would work for food. David was a shepherd boy out there trying to take care of the sheep and didn't have nothing to work with. And a lion came against him and he took a rag, and this is the kind of stuff you make to fight back with when you don't have nothing to fight with.
Have you ever got into a fight and you didn't have nothing to fight with? But you took what you had and you said, "Such as I have, I'm not gonna let you take my stuff, my job, my opportunity, my life, my family's legacy, you're after my family's legacy, I'm not gonna let you do it, and even though I don't have nothing fancy to fight with like a degree or like a million dollars or like a bunch of friends, but I'm gonna roll up what I got and I'm gonna throw it at you". He killed a lion and killed a bear with this rag. This rag, this old, dirty rag had thrown rocks at everything that ever come again him. If you live long enough, a lot of stuff will come against you and you gotta throw what you got at it. You can't throw what you wish you had, you can't throw what your neighbor had, you gotta throw what you got at it. That's what separates the men from the boys 'cause you gotta throw what you got at it.
Don't tell me that you want something if you're not willing to throw what you got at it; don't even get up to preach if you're not gonna throw what you got at it; don't expect me to fall out the floor and speak in tongues if you didn't throw what you got at it. So, this rag represents him throwing what he got at it, and he got a little resume on it; killed the lion, look at that; killed a bear, yeah. Everything that ever tried to steal what he was trying to take care of, he killed it with a rag, don't even cost nothing but it'll bring you down. If the lion could've talked he'd have laughed at David like, "Rah, whatcha got, boy? Throw it at me". And he got a rag but it worked.
Have you ever got a victory with something that didn't make sense but it worked? It didn't even make sense that a girl like you would be in a position like you got right now, but it worked? It didn't even make sense that a guy like you, who came from the background you came from, would be sitting where are you sitting right now, but it worked? If God took something that wasn't much of nothing and blessed you with it anyway, holler at your boy. You don't have to tell your business, but touch somebody and say, "But it worked". They laughed at me but it worked, they talked about me but it worked, they turned up their nose at me but it worked, they tried to get my job but this worked, they said I wasn't qualified but it worked, they said I was ugly but it worked, they said I was stupid but it worked, they said I'd never get here, oh, but it worked.
I was thinking about this rag 'cause this rag follows David all the way to Goliath, the biggest thing he ever had to fight in his life. And somebody in here today is fighting the biggest thing you ever had to fight in your life. It may not be a Goliath that we can see, it might be a Goliath called cancer, it might be a Goliath of an unexpected, shocking divorce. Goliath comes in all kinds of forms. And whenever you got something in front of you like you've never seen before, always use what you had behind you. He took this rag and killed Goliath with it, hit him in the head with a rock, brought him down to his size. David was boy, Goliath was a giant. Tuck this rag and I'll bring you down to my size. I might not have what you have, I might not look like what you look like, I might not can do what you do but if you'll let me use my old stuff I'll knock you down to my size.
So, help me, God, I'll bring you down where I can handle you, I'll bring you down, I'll take your sword from you and cut your head off with your own stuff. Here, he walks away from it with a rag, old, dirty rag; same old rag he used before has brought him to where he is now and knowing how to use this rag is what changed his life. If you learn how to use what life handed you instead whining about it and complaining about it and fussing about it and medicating about it and going through trauma about it, if you just take the fight, Yes, I came from a single-parent home but I'm gonna learn how to work that thing, I'm gonna learn how to work that thing. Yes, I came from the wrong side of the track but I learned how to work that thing. If you'd just back up and let me work it. Oh, y'all don't hear what I'm saying.
Touch somebody and say, "I came here on the rags of life," the rags of life. Yeah, I'm just a raggedy woman sitting here, a raggedy man, raggedy man, made it with this that and the other, took not enough and made it work for me, took it and made it work for me, took it and made it work for me. I know I look good right now but you don't understand, up under all of this stuff is a bunch of rags, a little bit of this and a little bit of that and a little bit of the other. Oh, I wish I had some raggedy people, some raggedy people, some raggedy people. Yeah-yeah, I'm raggedy. You hating on me now but I'm raggedy, I came here on rags, that's why I learned how to not have you. Yeah, 'cause I made it on rags I'm used to making do. You don't like me, I'm cool with it, I'm used to it, I can make it by myself. I wish I'd hear some raggedy people. Raggedy people are tough, they're strong, they're relentless, they've cried themselves to sleep more than once. You hear them at night, you'd think they wasn't going to work in the morning, but early in the morning you hear the radio come on 'cause we back in the fight again.
Raggedy people, holler at your boy. I came all the way here with nothing but rags, just the old stuff I've been through. In the Bible, the Bible said that God brought David to the palace through David's ability to work his rag. Have you ever had God bring you into something amazing through something crazy and you can't even explain to people how a person like you ended up in a situation like that? And here you are, in a whole new world that doesn't fit your background or where you came from, and doesn't make any sense. And if anybody knew where you came from, they wouldn't believe where you are right now but them little rags brought you all the way to what I call, "Such a time as this". Have you ever had the ranks bring you to such a time, such a time as this? Look at me, after all these years I get my hair done, but I had to do it myself, had to pin my skirt up, pull my pants up and make do. But look what the Lord has done, he healed my body, he saved my soul.
So, I thought I'd preach a message, "From Rags to Riches". Down at Disney, you know when you get ready to ride the rides, you don't need money, you need tokens. If you have a token, you can get a ride; if you have a token, you can get the bear. You play a game, you get so many tokens, you get enough tokens, enough symbols, enough tickets, 10 tickets, you get the bear; five tickets, you get the cup. If you got a symbol, you can exchange it for something else. Yeah, all they give you is tickets and coupons and symbols, it's not even money, it's just symbols. And I didn't know when I picked this up that this was gonna be a symbol, a token, a voucher, that would bring me into another dimension. That's really what I want to talk about, I want to tell you what to do with what you got left. I want to tell you that everything that you went through was a voucher, it was a symbol, it was a sign of what you're gonna do with what you got left.
Now, I wonder, can I read a little Scripture to you? Just I wanna read a little Scripture to you, it's just a little quick Scripture in 1 Samuel 18:2-5. I'm almost finished, you all are just getting in here in time for the benediction, I'm almost done. 1 Samuel 18:2-5, it says, let me see, "And Saul took him that day," talking about David, "And would let him go no more home to his father's house". He didn't want to go no way, they didn't even like him at his father's house and the house was raggedy anyway, it was raggedy. You go no more back to your daddy's house. Sometimes God'll get you out of something you didn't want to be in no way. Uh-huh. Saul decreed, "You can go no more back to that raggedy house". He didn't want to be in the raggedy house any way. I stayed out in the back field most of the time I could to stay away from that old, raggedy house. They didn't like me no way. An eighth son of Jesse, misfit, questionable origin, I was mama's baby and daddy's maybe.
History says that there was some ambiguity in Jesse's mind as to the authenticity of the sonship of David; though we know that he was, his father wasn't sure, and some suggest that that's what he meant when he said, "In sin was I born; and in sin did my mother conceive me". It might've had a double-edged meaning. Maybe that's why Jesse didn't call him to the house, one of his sons, 'cause David came from a little raggedy situation. Have you ever had a little background thing that you couldn't tell nobody about 'cause you thought that Mr. Wilson was the milkman, but later found out he was your daddy? Oh, y'all don't want to talk to me. I'm talking about people came from a little raggedy situations, and little raggedy, jackleg situations. Grandma had to raise you 'cause mama was locked up in jail, and this happened and that happened. And now, you're up here, you're all dressed up, looking good, but you can't tell the kids the background story 'cause it was some raggedy; some of us still not sure where we came from.
If Aunt Lizzie die without telling you, you ain't sure right now, 'cause you came from some raggedy situations. And you said, "It was a raggedy situation, a raggedy situation, it was raggedy. And no wonder I had to fight with rags, 'cause I came from rags. And my daddy thought I was a rag, that's why he didn't bring me into royalty, 'cause I was the eighth son with the raggedy background and all my life I had to fight". And you see, something happened, the raggedy boy from the raggedy background took a raggedy weapon and fought his way to the palace and drew a line in the sand. And all of a sudden, it says, "You shall go no more back to your raggedy house".
I came to prophesy to somebody this morning: You shall go no more back to your raggedy house. I don't know who that's for, I don't know what you had to come from to get where you are right now, but I want you to know this Sunday closes the deal. You will go no more back to that raggedy situation. Let me say it this way, the enemies that you see today, you shall see them no more. Slap somebody and tell them, "I'm outta here". Tell poverty, "I'm outta here," tell depression, "I'm outta here," tell discouragement, "I'm outta here," tell confusion, "I'm out of, I ain't coming back no more". "And then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul". And this is the craziest thing in the world 'cause Jonathan made a covenant with David, and he loved him as his own soul. And there's a whole lot we can say about that but the thing that gets me most is how could Jonathan love a guy he don't know? He loved David, you're talking about an odd couple.
David didn't grow up in the palace, David didn't go to Jonathan's school, David didn't eat lunch with Jonathan, David had never been in the palace before. And here, a palace boy meets a pauper kid and he loved him. You know, one of the sure signs that God has something for you is when he makes somebody love you that don't make sense. Have you ever? Oh, maybe not. Have you ever had somebody just take a liking to you and it doesn't even make sense why somebody like that would like somebody like you, and it's hard to believe it at first? Have you ever got a love you wasn't used to? No-no, is there anybody in here? There might be about 10 people. Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as his own soul, and this is what I want, "And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bowl, and to his girdle".
And that's that's what I wanted to tell you, is that the raggedy boy from the raggedy house with the raggedy background, with the raggedy clothes, has now come into the palace and he's come into something. Watch this, he's come into something, his gift has brought him into something that is background doesn't validate; his gift has brought him into an arena of people that he has no association or understanding; his gift has brought him into a place where he's in a palace where he hasn't been taught protocol or discipline or routine, but he's gifted enough to be in there, but he's not trained for where his gift brought him. He don't know who to bow too, he doesn't know what fork to eat with, he doesn't know the servants from the maids and he doesn't have nothing to wear for where he is. All he had was the token, and he didn't have anything to wear, But when David saw him, he stripped himself, just leave it. He stripped himself, he took the prince's robe off, and he stripped himself.
That's what Jonathan did, he stripped himself, Prince Jonathan stripped himself in front of the raggedy boy. Hey-hey-hey-hey-hey-hey, somebody must be praying for me because I feel something hit me. He stripped himself for the raggedy boy, and he took his robe and he stripped it off of himself, and Jonathan became naked so that the raggedy boy could be clothed. You must understand that Jonathan is a prince and he's in the shadow of another prince, only this prince was the Prince of Peace, who the Bible said stripped himself. I was a raggedy boy, he was the prince of heaven, but he stripped himself that through his poverty I would be made rich. Slap your neighbor and say, "You don't even understand, for me to be here today I've gone from rags, I've gone from rags to riches". Every blessed person in this room spin around. I gave him my old, filthy garment, and he gave me a robe of pure white.