TD Jakes — The Principles of Service
Hello, everybody. I greet you in the invincible name of Jesus Christ our King. I am so excited to share this Word with you today. It will bless your life. Comes from a series I shared at the church. I'm gonna share it with you. It's gonna give you the principles that you need to go to the next level. This week we're gonna be talking about the principles of service. Check this out. I think it's really gonna bless you.
Now, Samuel is in the house of the Lord. We are clear that Hophni and Phinehas do not know the Lord, and now Samuel has come into the house of the Lord, and he has come as a servant. His mother has given him to the Lord. He has become a servant of the Lord. You're not gonna like this word that I'm gonna use, but I'm gonna use it anyway. He was a slave to the Lord. It's not just for a while, not an indentured servant for a period of time. The vow had been made that he would serve the Lord all the days of his life, and he's standing there in the temple, and when we step into this text, it is odd that the writer would start the discussion with a flickering flame, a flickering in the air of the lamp of God.
You must understand that part of Samuel's responsibility was to keep the light going. The light was representative of the presence and the power of the Word of God. The light was illumination through the spirit, and it was Samuel's job to make sure that that light did not go out, because that light embodied the very presence of the Lord, and it is an odd thing in a small book, because the Bible is a very small book for the massive subject that it embraces. The Bible is no more than a pamphlet compared to the years of history it covers. It's just a small book. It has no time to waste with irrelevant details, so if the Bible took the time to mention it, there is something in it that we must look at, because the Bible doesn't waste time telling us thoughtless information.
It tells us, "An ere the lamp of God went out in the temple". The flickering light is indicative of so many things. Perhaps it embodies the fact that we have a flickering light, and we also have a flickering priest. The Bible says of Eli that his eyes had grown dim and his vision was poor. His decisions were spasmodic. Sometimes he does the right thing, and sometimes he does the weak thing, and just as much as the light is flickering in the temple, the old man is flickering, too. He sees the power and authority and clarity is winding down, and the light is flickering, and Eli is flickering, too.
The children of Israel are flickering. They had gotten to the point that they abhorred coming to worship, in part because of Hophni and Phinehas, and in part because of the seduction of idolatry that caused them to be inconsistent in their lives. And so, their conduct toward God was flickering like the flickering flame in the temple, and the Holy Spirit takes the time to remind us that the light is flickering so that we will understand that the light flickering is just a symbol of the flickering inconsistencies in the lives of the people that we're talking about. If our lights in this room could be seen, perhaps many of them would flicker, too.
Before you turn up your nose and condemn the situations in the Scriptures, I just wanted to ask you if your light were visible, would it be consistent, or would you be a flickering flame or spark of light? Would you be the kind of person that was sometimes hard and sometimes cold and sometimes right and sometimes wrong and sometimes strong and sometimes weak and sometimes wise and sometimes a fool? Let's remember the flickering light in the temple. It was flickering, but it was in the temple. It was spasmodic, but it was in the temple.
It was much like many of us who come to church today. We might be flickering, but we're in the temple. We might be spasmodic, but we're in the temple. We might be sometimes on and sometimes off. We might be schizophrenic in the way that we worship the Lord, but we are still in the temple, and God has not given up on us, and every now and then he'll send somebody to keep our lamps. Every now and then he'll send somebody, he'll send a Word, he'll send a song, he'll send a prophecy to keep your lamp trimmed and burning.
I must confess as your pastor there has been times my light was getting dim, and it was starting to flicker, and I almost gave up, and I would have fainted had not I believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living, but ere the lamp of God went out in the temple. God always did something, sent somebody, said something, moved something, fixed something. If I got any light at all, to God be the glory. If I possess any light at all, to God be the glory.
And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple. This boy is learning how to serve. I don't know what happened to us. We don't know how to serve. We came into the country as servants, and now we don't know how to serve. It doesn't seem glamorous to serve. Everybody wants to be a boss. I see it on your t-shirts. I went on your Facebook site and saw it. I saw it on your Instagram. Everybody in here wants to be a boss. For some crazy reason they don't understand that leadership is still servitude.
Anybody who leads and doesn't serve, they won't last very long at all. You're just serving from a different position, but servitude is God's only job that's open. It's the only job that's open I applied. How about you? Even Christ himself, the apostle Paul would tell us, that he took on him the form of a servant. He taught his disciples by girding himself with a towel, and Jesus, the Lord of glory who commands the host of heaven, got down on the floor and washed his disciples' feet, and you require... what? "Oh, I don't wanna walk too far. I don't wanna come if it's raining. I must have a special seat. I must sit in a certain place. I must have a parking space". You require more than Jesus.
Something happens to Samuel while he serves that is only a gift to people who serve. People who just come to church, they will get some level of blessing, but they will never get this. There is something that you get when you serve that you don't get when you watch. Considering God made himself a servant, I think there is a kinship between his servitude and ours. That when you serve, you see more, he reveals more, he shows more. He magnifies himself. Really, this is the essence of the text, "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up on wings like eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint".
See, the problem with us is that we misinterpret the text. We think that they that wait upon the Lord means that you ought to just be sitting here, waiting on the Lord, but if that's what the text means, why would I run and not be weary and walk and not faint and mount up on wings like eagles? Because if I'm waiting on the Lord, I should just be sitting here waiting like grandma waits on the bus to come, but that is not the right type of wait. It is this kind of wait. "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength". It means the more you serve, the stronger you get. You shall mount up on wings like eagles. You shall run and not be weary, so you go ahead and sit there and be important, but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. Sometimes you get out of trouble just because you waited on the Lord. Sometimes he'll heal your body just because you waited on the Lord. Sometimes he'll protect you from the enemy because you waited.
Samuel was trying his best to rest. The problem is, is that God will disturb your rest. If you believe in God, you must understand that God is not a La-Z-Boy chair for you to curl up in and read a book. He is not concerned about your comfort. In fact, you are too comfortable. You are too comfortable, so God doesn't say, "I won't bother him till morning 'cause he needs his rest". No, God is not polite like you. He doesn't worry about being politically correct.
The moment the boy gets the pillow up under his head, and he gets in the fetal position and prepares to really get one on, God said, "Samuel". And Samuel leaps up out of the bed because he's a servant, and when you are serving, and you hear your name called, you jump into duty because you have been trained to activate. At a moment's notice you will go right into it. When you're not a servant, you'll go and cover your head up and ignore it. But when you have been trained to serve, you snap into duty. He snapped into duty, and he ran to Eli and said, "You called me"?
What is the Holy Spirit telling us? That when we first begin to walk with God, the voice of God will always sound like your teacher. It was not Eli that called him. It was God, but the voice of God will always sound like the one who taught you, because all of the Word that you have from God has come through that voice. So, when you hear that voice, you think it's Eli, and he goes to Eli and says, "You called me"? Eli says, "I called ye not. Go back to bed and lay down". He goes back, and he lays down in the temple, and God said, "Samuel". And he leaps up again, and he runs back to Eli and says, "You called me"? He says, "I call you not".
Some of us are stuck right in this phrase. It is God that is calling you, but it's flesh that you're running to. I'm gonna let that soak in for a minute. It is God that is calling you. It is God that is disturbing your rest. It is God that is letting you know, "I've got more for you than what you've got right now". It is God that is telling you, "There is something missing out of your life". It is God that is telling you, "I have a higher purpose for your life," but you keep running to flesh. Flesh can never respond to the call of God. Flesh will always send you back disappointed, because what God is about to do, no flesh can handle. That's why you're disappointed, because you need help from God, but you keep falling into the arms of flesh.
The principles of service. There are certain things that are only revealed to those who serve. It's amazing. You're stronger than you think you are, but the strength doesn't come until you're serving, while you're doing it, while you're giving it. Things that you thought you couldn't take, you can take it. Things that you thought would break you don't break you. Things you thought you couldn't put up with, you can put up with it, but you never find out what you got, you never know how gifted you are till you serve. You never know what you can do till somebody needs you. You never know what's down inside of you until a situation calls on it. You never know it till you serve, so all of you who come and watch, you miss the power of what happens when you serve. When you serve, sometimes God will fix your situation just for your service. "I have need of him. I have need of her. No, devil, you can't touch her. I can count on her". Some of you got blessings not even because you were talented, but because you served the Lord.
Who am I preaching to this morning? Now, watch this. Can I show you something else? I'mma show you something else. I'mma throw this here for free. I'm not gonna charge for this. I'm just gonna lay this on you. Young people, hear me. Samuel was young and strong and promising and vibrant, and he could hear a sound that Eli could not hear. He could hear it. Glory to God. He could hear it. He could leap out of bed and say, "Let me at it". He was young. He was raring to go. He could hear a sound that the old folks slept through.
Youth makes you sensitive. Youth makes you bright. Do you not know every major revolution that has happened in this country has happened in the mouths of young people, who said, "We are sick and tired of it, and we are not taking it anymore"? From women's rights to civil rights to every other kind of injustice, it was a bunch of young, radical people who were willing to break rules to bring about change and say, "Hold up. No more. You can't beat it out of us. You can't whip it out of us. You can't dog it out of us". Your revolution happens to the strongest degree while you are still able to march and fight, and Samuel was strong, and he could hear something calling him. He could hear it, but only Eli could understand it.
Now, maybe Eli was old and maybe Eli had made some mistakes and maybe Eli couldn't jump out of the bed like Samuel did and maybe Eli's best days was behind him and maybe Eli's ears were going just like his eyes were going, and he could no longer see the flickering light, nor could he hear the sound of the voice. He couldn't hear it, but he could understand it, so the Bible says on the third time, when Samuel came to Eli and said, "Did you call me"? the Bible says Eli perceived. He didn't hear it, but he perceived. He couldn't hear it anymore, but he had enough experience to know, "There is something calling that boy. The reason he's so disruptive, the reason he's up and down and back and forth and in and out and right and wrong, there is something calling that boy".
Some of you got boys at home that are up and down and in and out, and the teacher said they're BD and LD. The devil is a liar. The Lord is calling your child. You have to be old enough to perceive you didn't have a bad child. You have a called child. The Lord is calling. The Bible says Eli perceived that the Lord had called him, and ere the lamp of God went out in the temple. The old man told him what to do. Even though he couldn't hear what he heard, he knew what to do about what he heard, so he said, "Boy, go back".
Young people, you will not get there without us. Shake all you want to, drop it like it's hot, if you will, get more degrees than a thermometer, but you will not get there without us. I know we can't even see the remote control without our glasses, but you will not get there without us. I know we don't know how to program our phone, but you will not get there without us. I know we don't know how to search Google, but you will not get there without us. You can hear what we cannot hear, but we know what to do about what you heard. You're gonna need us for your destiny to come to pass, for it is not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit.
Oh, my God. I feel glory in this place. Eli says to Samuel, "Go back and lay in the same spot you was laying, and this time when you hear the sound," Brother Robert, "this is how you respond". That's what mentoring is, is teaching you how to respond. "I can't tell you what all you're gonna go through, but if you tell me what you're going through, I can tell you how to respond to it. When it happens again, this time say, 'Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth'". You know what God wants? He wants your attention.
Oh, I've gotta stop there. There is much more to it than that, but I've gotta stop. I'm outta time. I wanna thank you for joining me today. It's been very telling that Jesus didn't have his disciples pray for lost souls, but instead he had them pray for laborers. Today everybody wants to be a boss, but real leadership requires service. If you've been on the sidelines watching others share the gospel and serve the body of Christ, I wanna encourage you to find a place to serve and don't be a "Burger King, I want it my way" sort of servant. Humbly find the need that you have the ability to address and start right there. You are the answer to someone's prayers, and God always reveals himself to his servants.