TD Jakes — The Cause
Hello, family. Grace and peace be multiplied unto you. I'm so grateful to God that he's chosen me to share with you and allowed you to be here at this time so we could get into the word and God can bless us. Today's society wants us to focus solely on ourselves, but God is calling us to be so much more. To be givers and not just takers, to learn how to invest in other people. I want to share this message with you today. "The Cause". There is a cause for you, for your life, a purpose higher than yourself. Let's find it as we go into the word. Let's go.
Look at somebody and say, "Is there not a cause"? The definition of narcissism is, one of the definitions is excessive love or admiration of one's self. Just in love with you. Just walk over to the mirror and go... Excessive love of one's self. Narcissistic society is consumed with self. We've never seen it like we're seeing it today. The death of heroism. The death of exceptionalism. The death of commitment.
All institutions that are built on people giving sacrificially are in trouble right now, because people don't do anything that's not about them anymore. The same people who get up before the crack of day to get to work to work a job on time, on time, for $10 an hour, $7, on time, fighting through traffic, dodging people. Moving in and out. Driving your car like it's a motorcycle so you can hurry up and get to work to get a dollar. Those same people sit on Sunday morning on the side of the bed and say, I'm thinking about it. I'm going to get past this part in a minute. Hang on. Just hang on. I'll get past it.
Narcissistic society. A narcissist girl meets a narcissist boy. They get married. They try to have a union. It never works, because marriage is about sacrifice. It's not about you. It's not about what you want. It's not about what you need. It's not about how you feel. It's committing yourself to a higher cause of institution of marriage and relationship. Somebody asked me, "How did y'all make it 30 years"? I said, "Because we believed in something bigger than ourselves". Oh, you don't hear what I'm saying. We fought for something that was important. It was important. Sometimes it lined up with me. Sometimes it didn't line up with me. Sometimes she liked what was going on. Sometimes she didn't like what was going on. But what kept us from walking away is we believed in us and not me and you. There has to be an us.
Is there not a cause? Is there not a cause to tailor your behavior? Is there not a cause to put your shoulder to the plow and fight for something other than a paycheck? What do you fight for other than payday? When all of the saints of the ages gather and those that were burned alive and those that were crucified upside down and those that were thrown in the snake pit for what they believe and they start talking about their sacrifice, what will we say? I couldn't even get a parking space near the door. I had to walk. Somebody talked about me. Somebody, they, they wouldn't let me preach. We're not going to have a testimony, if we do not associate with a cause beyond ourselves.
Do you realize some people don't give anything to anyone? They just take and take and take and take. Write a list, if you will of what you give to other people. See how long it is. See, if you write a list and we ask you to give your testimony, it will be a great long list how God opened doors and made ways and sent help and sent resources. You were out of food. Somebody brought food over to you. You were down to your last dime and somebody handed you one of those holy hand shakes with the $50 bill in it. "Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus". That's wonderful. But when did you reciprocate? When did you do something back for somebody else? When did you sow anywhere in anybody else's life? When did you bring dinner over? When did you scrub somebody's floor? Is there ever a time that you become a giver and not a taker? Do all roads lead back to you?
No wonder you're stuck out there taking care of sheep, David. Until you believe in something bigger than yourself, you will always be stuck on a mediocre job making mediocre money surrounded by mediocre people. Because if you think small, you live small. If you think small, you draw small people to you. Have you ever thought about anything bigger than your own survival? Why should God bless you? What benefit is it to the kingdom to just make you fat? God attaches resources to purpose. Deuteronomy. It's the Lord that makes us rich. Yeah, that's right. That's right. But that riches is tied to a purpose. God is not interested in just making you fat.
So you can live large! That's not the goal. God gives you resources so that you can make a difference. I'm not saying God minds you having things. I'm saying God minds things having you. Where you worship it, you adore it, and the only time you sweat is so you can get some more of it. It's all about you. What do you do that's not about you? I want you to know where this came from. This did not start on earth.
This spirit of narcissism started in heaven with a self-enthroned, self-enthroned egotistical angel named Lucifer. Lucifer is Satan's alias name, the name he had before the fall. The fall came. How did he fall? The fall came because of his pride. Falls always will follow pride. Oh God, I'm preaching. I think I'll get it myself. It will always come behind pride. Weakness can be strengthened. Sin can be forgiven. But when you've got a proudful heart, you'll never humble yourself down low enough to get yourself together! Pride comes before a fall. Good God, help me preach.
And there are in Isaiah there's five things that Satan said that led to the fall. None of them was about us or about we. It was always about I. There's the five "I wills" that led to the fall. There are five "I wills" that started in heaven. He said, "I will ascend into heaven". He said, "I'm going to take over the throne of heaven. I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds. I will be the most High God".
Nothing is ever enough. There is no sensation of humility or humbling yourself down. You just want more, more, more, more until finally he says, "I will exalt myself above God". Boom! That's when it started falling down. That's why God said, "I hate a proud look above everything else you can have. I hate pride". God said, "I despise pride". That's something that David understood. David was weak as water and wild as Willie, but God kept using him, because David kept humbling himself. "Against thee, O, God, have I sinned. Have mercy upon me. Forgive me. Wash me. Make me over again. Anything. But don't let me be proud"! I will...
Make a list for what you do for people you're not related to. Scratch all your kids off that list you was making of all the stuff you did, because whatever you did for them, you were supposed to do it. You don't get no trophy for feeding your kids. You're supposed to feed your kids. They didn't come here by themselves. That doesn't make you a hero. You're supposed to feed them. I'm sick of what passes for exceptional today.
Now we want to give trophies for people doing what they should have been doin' anyway. You should have took care of me when I was sick. You should have helped me out of the bed. That's what we got married for, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse, for richer or poorer. You don't get no trophy for cleaning the house. You're supposed to clean the house. Help me. You don't get no trophy for loving your babies. You're supposed to love your babies. What else did you do? What else? What would be on your list if you scratched you and the kids and your kin people, what else did you do? Who else did you help? Can you make a list at all? What have you done with 40 years? Besides pay the rent. All your money spent. What you going to do when the rent is due? I mean, what else, other than the vicious cycle of normal survival.
Jesus is quite clear. He said, "If any man will be my disciple, let him first deny himself. Pick up your cross and follow me". Another place it says, "Until you deny mother, father, all of your kin folk, pick up your cross and follow something outside of yourself, you're not really my disciple". Paul said, "In the last days, men shall become lovers of themselves". He said, "One of the signs of the last times is narcissism". It occurred to me that every, every, every great thing down through history, every great general, every great president, every great civil rights leader, every, every great person that's notable, that's worth studying, that gets mentioned in the hall of fame of excellence is somebody who found a cause bigger than themselves. Somebody who lived for something outside of themselves.
Selflessness. It's amazing. It's hard to even speak about it, because you don't even see it. How shall I describe it? How shall I explain it? We don't see it anymore! Not even in little ways. We don't see it anymore. The desire to serve something bigger than you. And you get no credit. You get no name recognition. You get no special seating. You get no special anything. Jesus laid aside his garments, wrapped himself up in a towel, got down on the floor and started washing feet. Whose feet have you washed? And you wonder why God doesn't bless you anymore than he has. Just sustaining you. Never moving beyond sustenance to success. Why should God invest in you when every effort is about you?
In the last days, men will love themselves. How could you love a woman? You're too in love with you. How could you love a man? You're too in love with you. You're just trying to find somebody to run your fan club! How will we get volunteers who volunteer for more than preferred seating? Who labor and don't get credit and work when nobody is looking and serve something they believe in? Oh, let me go back to that. Do you believe in anything other than you? Because you can't serve what you don't believe in. Are you the Lord of your church? David was stuck tending sheep every day until he associated himself with the cause that was bigger than himself. That's when his life began. That's when God started opening doors. That's when God started making ways. That's when God started giving favor.
That's when everything changed. His address changed. His status changed. His income changed. His influence changed. His attitude changed. His gifts got stirred. He found out who he was. He found out what he was able to do. He could never find it out just taking care of the sheep and going home and taking care of the sheep and going home and just working a job. All of a sudden, he started giving himself to something bigger than himself. He said, "Is there not a cause"? With our marriages failing and the likelihood of our children graduating dissipating and our sons and daughters locked up in jail and crack and cocaine becoming a norm and killing becoming something that you sit and eat dinner while you rattle off who all got murdered last night, is there not a cause, or is this just another event center, a social gathering for us to come together and perform with Christian overtones?
Why should God bless you when all you do is about you? What kind of return will the kingdom get from you being blessed, or are you building your own kingdom? Nowadays, as soon as they learn three Scriptures, they start a church. Oh, we got so many churches. I'm going to start. And the name will be bigger than the whole thing. The Christian Coalition of Social Entrepreneurs of Ambassadors by Faith in Christ Incorporated in your living room. In your living room.
When you could be a part of something that's bigger than you, that affected your generation, that changed the world. But because your ego has to be fed every day, you don't get enough acknowledgment in this environment. Your pride gets crucified in this environment. You've got to come out where you can be seen, even if it's an audience of two. Is there not a cause? Will you invest in something that's not about you? Serve something that's beyond you? Because if you will do it, God will open up the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing that you won't have room enough to receive.
What I want you to see, I'll make this point and close, is that David was stuck with the sheep. Playing the role of a little undershepherd. Sheep dung in between his toes. Wool all over him. Dirt and dung. Until he heard about this uncircumcised Philistine that stood up against the armies of Israel and was making mockery of God. And David didn't have any money. He didn't have any title. He didn't have any recognition. He didn't have any position, but he was outraged. Any time you are outraged about something, any time you got passion about something, that is an indicator that you're about to step into your purpose and into your destiny.
He said, "I don't know how I'm going to get in there. I don't know what I'm going to do, but I'm going down there to make a difference. I'm going in. I'm not coming in at a high level". He came down there as an errand boy, bringing somebody lunch, but he got around the conversations of greatness. You can't be around the conversations of weakness and become great. You've got to be connected with the conversations of greatness, because greatness is contagious. He got down there, and he was running errands. Running errands, bringing lunch. And all of a sudden he said, "Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he would come up against the armies of God"?
And all of a sudden, when he found his cause, doors started flying open in his life. As long as he was just getting the wool off the sheep and taking care of himself, no doors opened in his life. But the moment he found a cause bigger than himself, all of a sudden doors began to fly open. I'm going the spend the last few moments of this message preaching to people who have found something bigger than themselves. Get ready for the doors to fly open in your life. Get ready for God to make a way out of no way. Get ready for God to fight off your enemies. You ain't got to fight your enemies. God's going to fight your enemies. Get ready for God to open up doors and make ways and move mountains in your behalf. I dare you to praise God where you are! I found my cause. I found my purpose. I found my destiny. I found myself. Shout, "Yes".
I was flying into Washington the other day, and we hit an air pocket, and the plane began to rock real bad. I've been flying a long time, but this is real bad. We hit a pocket, and everything we had started falling over. The devil said, "You going to die right here today on this plane". I told the devil, "You're a liar and the truth is not in you". Not because I've been so good. Not because I've been so holy. Not because I've been so special. But I know I can't die yet, because I'm not finished. I've got something else to do. I got something else to say. I'm not finished. I can't die yet.
Tell the devil, "I'm not finished". Tell every witch, "I'm not finished". Tell depression, "I'm not finished. Tell every hater, "I'm not finished". Tell every liar, "I'm not finished". Tell every doubter, "I'm not finished". Shout, "Yes". Your giant is waiting on you. Kick off your house shoes. Let your hair down. And get started on the ride of a lifetime.