TD Jakes — Committed
Hello everybody. I'm so glad to have the opportunity to be blessed to be in your home, and to be part of your life, and to talk to you just very practically today out of the Word of God. I believe it's gonna bless you in a significant way. We all want changes. We want changes. We want changes over here and over there. In some area of our lives we want God to do something. But, without commitment nothing really happens. So, today we're going to talk about commitment. Buckle your seatbelts. You're in for a ride, commitment.
Levi means to be joined, to be connected, to be focused, to be committed. That is something we don't see anymore. Oh, we have the ceremonies. We still have weddings. But, people don't get married anymore. I mean, even the people in the wedding, the bride and the groom. We throw rice at 'em. We give 'em a certificate. But, they don't get married. They move in together. They get the tax deduction. But, they're not married. They're not joined together. Because, the first little wind, the first little storm, the first little problem, the first little weakness, the first little test they are out of there. They have no root. They have no connectivity. They are not joined. They are not committed. They don't have it in their character to withstand anything. They are only there for convenience. And, when they don't see the convenience or the connection they forsake the responsibility and walk away from their commitment.
We seldom see real church members, people. I've seen people come. If everybody who joined this church came one Sunday, it would kill us. They'd come down here. They'd sashay down here. They'd walk over there. They'd get all of the stuff. They'd go through the little orientation, shake the hand. And, some of them people you never see 'em again. We go through the actions of commitment. But, we're not really committed. We're not really connected. We're not really joined, because we have no understanding, check this, of our responsibility to any relationship.
Write this down, you cannot have relationship without reciprocity. You cannot have true relationship without reciprocity. You cannot get into a relationship to get and not give. And, I want you to ask yourselves do you give as good as you get? Add up what you're getting and weigh it against what you're giving. And, then you will know whether you're really joined to anything. Yeah, people 'll to come to work. They take a job. They're not committed to the job. They want the check. They want the check. Well, everybody want some money, baby. I'm gonna say it again. Everybody want some money, baby. I'm just here for the check. That's why it's not gonna work for you. You don't understand the reciprocity. Anybody want some money. But, if you're not willing to give at least as good as you get, it will not last.
And, that's why you can't stay anywhere or work for anybody. Because, you've never had Levi. You may have had Reuben. You might have had Simeon. But, you've never been joined to anything. So you collect anniversaries. You've got a lot of birthdays. You've got some plaques on the wall, But, you've never been the person that you could be. Because, the could be is locked up behind commitment. And, until you're committed you'll never get the could be.
I'm glad the choir sung "You're Happy". I don't have to worry about preaching "You're Happy". You know what I thought to myself? I thought, "I would hate to live and die and never know what would happen if I ever committed myself to anything". Some people have never thrown their whole self at nothing, not at school, not at work, not at marriage, not at church. Oh, my God. You've had one foot in and one foot out of every dream all of your life. And, you've never seen what you could be if you ever really connected and threw everything.
And, that's what's gonna make your death so sad. That's what's gonna make it so sad is that you never lived first. You never fully engaged. You never fully studied. You never fully invested in anything or anybody. You wanna get something that you are not willing to give. You have never been joined. You just wore the dress, got the plaque. They threw the rice. You joined the church. You took the job. But, you've never seen what you could be if you threw your whole self at your dream. You go to this church. But, you're not joined. If you don't have reciprocity, you're not joined. If you're not really bought into it, if you don't really feel like it's my church, oh I come here cause I get a Word. Reciprocity.
What do you give back for what you get? Without reciprocity no relationship will ever reach it's apex, because you're not fully invested in anything you do. So, you catch some crumbs that fall from the master's table but you don't get the children's bread. You get the puppy dog blessing that comes from being in the right place at the right time. Because, you are not joined into the connectivity that produces the real blessing of God in your life. And, you're getting older. And, you're running out of time, and running out of excuses, and running out of people to blame. Wonder what would've happened in school if you'd been committed. Wondered what would've happened in your marriage if you'd been committed. Wondered what would've happened in your church if you'd have really thrown your whole self.
You've always been casual. And, never been committed. And, some of the most casual people are talented people. Because, talented people will lay on their talent and use their talent as a camouflage to cover up their lack of commitment. And, because you're talented enough to be able to float by on broken pieces, you will fool and indiscriminate lie into thinking that you are committed. You're not committed. You're just talented. You'll never know what you could've been if you would have really committed yourself. You're just talented enough to get over. And, you faked 'em out. And, you've been at 30 or 60-fold when you were created to be a 100-fold person.
I just think it would be terrible. I can't be committed to everything. I can't join everything. I can't be married to a thousand women. I can't work a thousand jobs. I can't join five churches because I take my commitment too seriously to spread it around loosely. Your life is a false advertisement. Full color, big glossy ad, promising product you don't carry in your inventory. You'd be shocked how many people sitting out there that can really sing. But, they're unwilling to make the commitment to make the rehearsals and do what it takes to be upfront. And so, they sit there on their talent. And, they won't do for God what they are asking God to do for them. And, they wonder why prayers are not answered.
Touch three people and say, "Commitment, commitment, commitment". You take a half committed man and a half committed, trifling woman and put 'em together. And, they'll have some half committed, trifling kids. And, the whole house will be half committed because children will be what they see. Stop fussing at your kids. They're a reflection of you. Your whole life is a facade. The whole thing is a fake. The whole thing is a front. Your whole life is a camouflage. And now, you're getting older. And, you'll never get to see what you could've been because the cost of getting to see it is the commitment that you've never been willing to pay.
You're trying to get somebody to fall in love with a you that you've never discovered yourself. You come to the altar and you raise your hand. And, you say, "Lord, I give myself to you". But, you don't. You walk down here and join the church. And, you say, "Now, I'm a member of the church". But, you're not. You marry somebody and say, "You can count on me. I'll be there through the thick and the thin, for better or for worse, for richer and poorer, in sickness and health". You didn't mean it. Half studied, half worked, half labored and then wonder why, "I thought I'd be further than I am today".
Let me tell you why you are not further. It is not the devil. It is not witches. It is not demons. And, it sure God ain't haters. You are not any further than where you are right now because you have never thrown your whole self at anything in your life. And, you think greatness goes on sale. But, true quality never goes on sale. Greatness costs what it costs. Oh, my God help me in here today. I feel something about to take over this place. Somebody in this church is ready to receive this Word. You're ready to get your breakthrough. My God, I feel a miracle coming in this place today. I wish I had a hundred people that would give God a praise. He told Abraham, "I swear I'm gonna bless you". Ain't no chance. Ain't no doubt. Ain't no joke about it. If I told you I was gonna bless you, I will open up the window.
The first commitment is to God. Your second commitment is to family. Your second commitment is to family. And, it's a very important commitment. It's a very important commitment. You better be committed or you ain't gonna make it. If you can only love me when you like me, we ain't gonna make it, 'cause sooner or later I'm gonna pluck your last nerve. And they'll say, "How you like me now"? It's to your family, crazy as they are. If you're not committed you're not gonna make it. Even the ones with the personalities you don't like. You'll have to be committed through the storm, and the rain, and the heartache, and the pain, and the disappointment. You'll have to believe in the "we" and the "us" and not the "me" and the "you". Or, you're not gonna make it. It's a commitment. It's not a feeling.
You got to come home when you're in love and you gotta come home when you're not in love or you're not gonna make it. And, stay there 'til the love comes back. It's a commitment. Y'all don't wanna hear real truth. You wanna hear fairy tale, Hollywood, shake and bake stuff. But, in reality it's a commitment. You're my son in my house. You're my son when you took the money. You're my son in the hog pen. You're my son in the whorehouse. You're my son on the road back home. It's a commitment. And, if you're not gonna be committed you don't need no kids.
Commitment to God. Number two, commitment to family. Number three, commitment to your church. I have never seen anything like this generation today. They don't commit to anything at all. You're lucky if you see them again after they joined. And, if you do see 'em it's only gonna be on Sundays. And, don't talk too long, 'cause they got to go. Forget Sunday night. Wednesday night is out of the question. We'll hear about the revival next Sunday. We sacrifice nothing for our church. We will serve nowhere. And yet, "Is Bishop preaching"? Yeah, is Bishop preaching? Because, it's all about what I can get and nothing about what I can give. And, if I think I'm not gonna get what I expect to get I won't even show up. Because, I have a "gimme" mentality. I never came to give.
Oh, I lost y'all on that. I lost the whole house on that. Because, you consider with great contemplation, where you can go to be fed that's good. But, where's the reciprocity? What do you give for all that you got? Any relationship that does not have reciprocity will not last. If I'm always the one giving, and always the one sacrificing, always the one pushing myself over the limit to be there for you and I don't see that in return, eventually my patience will wither. My hope will die. And, I will give up. Any relationship that has no real reciprocity will die. Strong people will keep giving to you a long time. Eventually, when they don't see it coming back in similar capacity they will eventually become convinced that the investment does not warrant a return.
I tell you before you lose again. If you don't learn to give like you learn to get, every area that there is not reciprocity, it will die. If I had time I'd take you all through the ecological system. It's not just biblical. It's ecological. It's science. It's everything. Anything that takes more than it gives will eventually destroy the soil. I would show you how God commanded the farmer to let the ground rest. Because, you have to put something back in something that you're taking something out of.
See, somebody has never taught you how to give. They teach you how to take. Are you demanding more of your God, or of your family, or of your church than you give? Because, any area that you expect more than you invest, you will live in a perpetual state of disappointment. You're committed to God. Number two, you're committed to your family. We gonna get through this. That should be the language you approach your family with. We will get through this. We may have to bunk up. We may have to move in together. We may have to put our backs up against each other. We may have to both get part time jobs.
We may have to come out sideways. But, we will get through this. When you get me you get help. If I walk in the room, help came in the room. I'm 'a add something to you, I'm 'a add something to you. I'm 'a add something to you. I will not take something from you unless I add something to you. I will be an asset and not a liability. If I stay in your house, you gonna miss me when I leave. I'm gonna add something to you. I'm not gonna take something from you. If I join your church you gonna feel the impact that something has been added to you. The only number that doesn't add to the sum total of the equation is a zero. What do people get when they get you? If you can describe it, define it, and deliver on it you'll never be without. Everybody wants an asset. Liabilities get left behind.
Number four, commitment to your dream. You cannot get people to believe in your dream until you believe in it yourself. Stop asking people to invest in things where you have no investment. Stop asking people to deliver something to you where you're not willing to go to the wire for yourself. Nobody's gonna put into your dream before you put in. You'll have to invest in what you dream for. Hallelujah to God.
A golf club is just a golf club. You can pay $500 or $5,000 for it. It's just a golf club until you put it into the hands of Tiger Woods. When you put it into the hands of Tiger Woods, the value shoots up. It's the same set of clubs. All you added was commitment. When you would get it into the hands of somebody who is committed to a dream, who's been working when they was 5 and swinging since they were 6, and swinging when they were 9, and swinging when they were 12. Oh, yes you're going to get a great return because there is a great investment.
Do you have anything that you are dreaming that you are willing to be committed to enough to see it happen? Or, are you throwing pennies in the wishing well of life? Wanting to receive on credit something that you are not willing to pay for. You must be committed to your dream. Oh, hallelujah. I'm scared to talk about it 'cause I believe it so bad you ought to see my toes are dancing in my shoes. Glory to God. I don't have no hair on my head buts my hair on my chin is jerking over this right now.
I have never met anybody who became incredibly successful in any area of their life until they have suffered, and sweated, and sacrificed, and kept their focus, and fought through tears, and trials, and tests. And, if you have a dream and you commit to it, it will come to pass. Those of vision, tarry, wait for it. He's not just the beginning. He's also the end. If God started it, he will finish it. Shout "Yes"! Committed to your dream. Yes. Committed to your dream. Anybody can dream it. But, you'll never see it until you're willing to be committed to it.
I was telling somebody the other day when I didn't have anything, church didn't have any members, I'd get off work, working at Carbine. And, drive up the road. And, work on the church 'til I had to turn around and go back to work. We worked when we didn't have food. We worked when we didn't have lights. I was putting my whole check in the offering. All of it, trying to keep it going. When I finally got some staff I went on the road preaching. And, whatever I made on the road preaching, I brought it home to make the payroll of the staff. And, sometimes I got them paid and couldn't pay me.
Commitment. Looked like a fool. Didn't have any clothes. Suits was falling off me. Lining wore out my clothes. Couldn't send 'em to the cleaners. Had to wash my suit in the washing machine. They laughed at me. Look like an old raggedy country preacher. I had holes in my shoes. I couldn't kneel down. I couldn't kneel down and pray because if I knelt down to pray, they would see holes in my shoes.
They laughed at me. They said, "That boy's lost he mind. He'll never be nothing. He stutters. He's got a lisp when he speaks. He'll never be a preacher". I don't care what you say. If you are committed to what you believe you'll never, never, never bring down somebody who is committed. Because, somebody who has really been committed has been down before they ever got up. Yeah. You can't scare me off with trouble. I started in trouble. I grew up with dirt up under my fingernails. I'm used to folks not liking me. I'll fight for myself. Hallelujah. Commitment!
I've got to stop. This is a big subject and many people struggle it. They mean well. They have sincere hearts. They promised so much more than they're able to deliver because they don't understand commitment. What if you threw your whole self into the vision that God has given you rather than just hitting at it? What would you achieve? You cannot conquer what you're not willing to commit to. Take that Word with you today. And, may God bless you and strengthen you. That's my prayer for you.