TD Jakes — The Odds Against Wholeness
Hey everybody, I'm so excited to have this opportunity to drop by and share the Word of the Lord with you. Many of you know that we're hustling, getting ready for our pastors and leadership conference. All roads are leading to Orlando, but I had to stop and share with you how important it is for those of you who can't go to check out this word. The message is called "The Odds Against Wholeness". Go into the Word, and now let the Word of God go into you.
Jesus says, "If you have the faith as of grain of mustard seed, if you have the faith..." That's why I like to come to church 'cause faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. And as mouthy as I am, I'm going to drop so much Word that you got to get something. Even my enemies got to get something. "I can't stand Jakes, but he was on yesterday". You're going to catch me on one day or another. You going to tweet something sooner or later. Yeah. Faith cometh by hearing, hearing by the Word.
When the Word gets down in you, it's going to produce some faith, even if it's just a little bit of faith. Jesus said a little bit is all you need. Somebody say, "A little bit is all you need". To get through life, just a little bit of faith, just a little bit. Faith the size of a grain of mustard seed. If you have just a little bit of faith... you don't got to have no whole mountain, no tree amount of faith. If you just got a seed, just a little drop of faith, a mustard seed faith, just a little bit of faith.
If you could keep a little bit of faith in the middle... I told you fear lived next door, and doubt lives across the street, and weakness is around the corner, and sin lives in the apartment... in the garage apartment up on the rooftop. But in the middle of all of that craziness in your community, if you could hold onto just a little bit of faith, a little bit of faith to pull you out of all kinds of trouble, all kinds of pain, all kinds of turmoil, just a little bit of faith, all you need is a little bit. Touch your neighbor, say, "All you need is a little bit". Just a little bit of faith. You can do all kinds of amazing stuff.
Jesus said, "You can deal with the sycamine tree if you have the faith of a mustard seed". Tree, seed, it's right there in your Bibles, tree, seed. He said you can tear down a tree with a seed. Oh, y'all don't hear what I'm saying. See, you're used to us preaching about if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you can speak to the mountain, and the mountain shall be removed into the sea. And that's a great text. And when Jesus was speaking about mountains, and the ability to speak to mountains and cause them to be moved, it's totally different from this text because he uses a tree for a reason. A tree has to grow. And he's talking about the stuff that grows inside of you. Yeah, you did something. You did something. And whatever you did grew, and turned into a tree. And Jesus calls it a sycamine tree.
Why did he say sycamine tree? I'm so glad you asked me that. I was counting on you asking me that when I came here today. I'm going to tell you why. The sycamine tree had a very large and deep root structure. It was a very unique tree. Primarily in the Middle East, it could live in various types of climate throughout the Middle East because it was a sycamine tree. Sycamine trees have deep roots, deep roots. Roots. Isn't that the name of that movie with Alex Haley, "Roots"? Alex Haley called the movie "Roots" because it was deep. And he said, "What you're dealing with now has deep roots". I bet you by the time you get your age, what we're dealing with now has deep roots. The fear I got has deep roots.
That's why the sycamine tree was hard to kill, 'cause it had deep roots. You could cut it all the way down to the ground, it'd sprout back up again. Because you cut the top of it off, but the sycamine tree has deep roots. Your sycamine tree has deep roots. You didn't come here like that. Look at that. That's what all you got to kill. The roots have gotten so deep down in there that it has a system that you can't saw it down, you can't hack it down, you can't trim it down, you can't even cut it down because you're cutting down the manifestation. But you never got down to the root. The tree gets 30 feet tall. The tree gets 30 feet tall in there. It's a fairly tall tree. But what's on top is not as tall as what's underground. Tree has deep roots. You got a liar, tree has deep roots.
It was interesting to find out the sycamine tree was used in Jesus' day to build caskets. The sycamine tree was the most popular tree to build caskets. Jesus used the sycamine tree as what makes you bitter, or cold, or protective, or disconnected. That's what they make caskets out of. If you don't kill the sycamine tree, the sycamine tree will kill you. They build caskets out of sycamine trees. Bitterness unresolved will shorten your lifespan, kill your creativity, kill your potential of loving or being loved. It will kill it every time. They build caskets out of sycamine trees.
What you got growing in you right now, they gonna bury you in it. They're gonna bury you in it. If you don't get it by the root, you're going to be entombed in it. It will destroy you. The sycamine tree grew in any climate. It was accessible to all people. Anybody could get it. Everybody has access to it. The sycamine tree is an equal opportunities employer. It's deep. Touch your neighbor, say, "It's deep".
The other thing about the sycamine tree, it grows quickly. That's why it was common. That's why they used it for caskets. You could grow it in any climate, and it could grow fast. It could grow quick. You can get bitter quick. Bitter quick. You could be married to somebody for 3 years and be bitter about it for the next 30, grows quick. Don't need no fertilizer. Doesn't have to have a certain climate to grow or operate in. It grows quick. It can mess up... your entire future destroyed. God busy trying to bless you, you busy canceling out. You did something. Whatever it was they did was quicker than what it cost.
The after-effects of what you did left me messed up for years. And so, it grew, the tree grew quick, and it went deep. And now, I have to go to church and listen at the bishop say that what I will not resolve and what I will not let go will kill me. It will kill my opportunities. It will kill what God has given me. It will kill my future. It will kill my destiny. It will kill my love. It will kill my peace. It will kill my power. The sycamine tree was preferred for building caskets because it needed no rain. It could grow in dry places.
Can I talk about your dry places this morning just for a minute? The dry parts needy, needy places. Sycamine flourishes in what you didn’t get, and what you don't know how to do, in excuses you make to remain bitter. Sycamine thrives in that climate. It flourishes in that climate. Had a branch all the way out and touch your kids, touch your opportunities. It'll reach so far to touch what you could have been. You could have been, but the roots got it. You could have been happy, but the roots got it. You could have been free, but the roots got it. You could have been blessed financially, but your roots... that's why they let you go, your roots got it. Your roots, your roots got it.
If you permit bitterness and unforgiveness to grow in your life, it won't be long until their attitudes have killed your joy, stolen your peace, canceled out your spiritual life, kill your morale, your excitement, your enthusiasm, your commitment, your tenacity. You can't focus. And when you can't focus, you can't win. And when you can't win, you'll watch other people win, and then you'll start to become bitter about other people's success. You can't celebrate anybody else's success because you didn't get that root. Uh huh, you didn't get that root. And now, you become a hater. I didn't want to say it out loud or nothing. A hater is just somebody who wouldn't uproot their tree, and now they're mad because you're winning.
Can I teach you just a little bit more? The sycamine tree was pollinated by wasp. It was pollenated by wasp. Find your wasp. It's the thing that connects what happened to you to what could happen next. It was pollenated by wasp, yeah. It wasn't naturally pollenated. The reason I brought the babies up is to show you what you were so you could compare with what you became. You didn't come here like that. You became like that. Am I talking to somebody this morning? What was your wasp? Yeah. You see, the wasp was the only one who could pollenate the sycamine tree because in order to pollenate the sycamine tree, you had to have a stinger strong enough to get to its fruit.
So, I'm really asking you what stung you. Because whatever stung you, it got to your fruit, your possibilities. And there's nothing worse to get to than my possibilities 'cause I lose hope. And if I lose hope, I've lost life. That means that whatever I become is less than what was intended. And part of my bitterness is in the back of my mind, I wonder what I would have been had I not been through what I went through. And my success doesn't feel successful because you stung me. Have we ever been stung?
I remember one time I was going down the path, up the road behind the house, and got in a bunch of bee's nest or something. And they stung me, and it would hurt. Oh God, it hurt when they stung me. It hurt, I was screaming, and crying, and jumping, and hollering. It hurt when they stung me. But when that thing started swelling, it went to another level. I don't think the sting was as bad as the after-effects. The swelling in your hand gets all hot, and it swells up, and it becomes disfigured, and you can't move. I couldn't move my fingers good because I'd been stung so bad. I want to reach you, but I've been stung so bad that my ability to hold on to anything or anybody is difficult.
I can't hold you 'cause I've been stung. It hurts, let go of me. Stupid. You touched where I was stung. Don't grab me no more. You touched me where I'm stung. The sycamine tree was pollenated by wasp. And anytime you've been stung, and life demands something from you in a place where you are stung, you get mad. You get mad. You asking me to do what I can't do. How dare you ask me. How dare you grab me, grabbing my hand. I was preaching good till you grabbed my hand. How dare you grab my hand. Don't you know I've been stung? Was he wrong for grabbing it, or was it wrong that I was stung? Are you mad at the wrong person? Are you angry at the person who touched you? Or are you angry at the wasp that stung you?
Misplaced rage is I'm angry at you for reminding me that the wasp... wonder how many times you've been stung. Your stingers have had stingers. If you pull out your resume to justify your bitterness, it would be a long resume. It ain't just Willy, it was Bobby, it was Susie May, it was Cousin Johnson. And you remember what Aunt Sida did. And all of that, you got a long resume of stuff that you've collected. By the time you get 30, your train fills the temple. You got a long train, baby, of all kinds of stuff. And you're just waiting on the... But isn't that a casket?
And for all of that with the odds stacked up against you, the roots are deep. You've been carrying it for years. It ruined your 20s and 30s. It got into your 40s and 50s. It ruined your childhood and your teenage years. And with all of those odds against you, the fact that it reached out and affected the way you parented, reached out and affected the way you perform as a wife, reach out and affected the way you relate as a husband, with all of those branches, the odds are against wholeness. And when Jesus challenged them, he challenged them not in their relationship with God. He challenged them in their relationship with people. 'Cause you know what?
Let me tell you something I've been thinking about. Just me and you, we're just chilling. I mean, we can talk for a minute, tell you something. Jesus said that all the laws and the commandments, the whole dadgone book could be concluded in two things. If you love the Lord thy God with all your heart, your mind, and your soul, and love your neighbor like you love yourself, Jesus said you got the whole book. He said you get these two Scriptures, you got the whole book down. The whole book is down. If you give God your everything, your heart, your mind, your soul, give him everything, the way you think, the way you function, the way you feel, if you open up all of your heart and give it to God... and that's the first problem.
See, you come to church, you won't even worship. Because in order to worship, you have to give everything to God. And you've been closed so long, you'll sing, but you won't worship. You won't open up your belly, open up your belly, open up your root system. You won't put any water in those dry places. You just will stand there because you haven't opened up for years. But Jesus said if you would release everything you got to God, and then if you would just love me like you love you, you love you with all of your craziness. Love me with all of mine. If you can love you with all of your craziness, you can love me with all of my craziness. And Jesus said if you love your neighbor like you love your crazy self, the world would be a better place.
The world would be a better place. Your house would be a better place. Your heart would be a better place. Your job would be a better place. If you would just love me like you love you, you'll find a way to love you. I don't see how your love for you could be so strong that you climb over everything to get you out, and leave me screaming down in the pit. Jesus said, "They will know you are mine when you find a way to love them like you found a way to love your crazy self". And for all of this, all you need is a little bit of faith to balance out the odds when the odds are stacked against you.
Jesus said, "I'm not sending no angels to fix this. I'm not sending no archangels to come down and rescue you. You can get up off your knees and stop asking me to fix your mess. You have the power within yourself to arise above this storm and this situation. I gave you enough faith to get out of the struggle you're in right now". I don't know who I'm speaking to today, but maybe the devil's been telling you you didn't have enough love, you didn't have enough mama, you didn't know your daddy, you didn't grow up in a good school, nobody loved you right.
You don't need none of that to make it through life. All you need to survive what all you didn't get is a little bit of faith. No mama, but I got a little bit of faith. No daddy, but I got a little bit of faith. Didn't finish my degree, but I got a little bit of faith. I want everybody in the room that's got a little bit of faith to open your mouth and make some noise. Listen, you all, I've got to run, but I pray that God has blessed you, that he's challenged you, that he's spoken to your heart in the unique way that only the Holy Spirit can do. Take the Word of God into your spirit, and have a blessed day in Jesus' name.