TD Jakes — Feed What Feeds You
Feed what's feeding you. Then the Lord said to me, and I'll share it in short order. He gave it to me in long form, but I'll share it in short order. "Everything that I created, I created in a system of cycles. Everything that I created, I created in a system of cycles, and I designed it so that if they obey that one law of feeding what's feeding you, I would never have to create again". Watch this. He says, "I allow the grass to grow up out of the ground with the promise that the grass would feed the ground that fed it, and as long as the grass feeds the ground that fed it, the cycle will go unbroken, and it will always reproduce again. If the ground starts giving more to the grass than the grass gives to the ground, they break the cycle and everything goes black".
He said, "You see the heavens? You see the rain coming down"? He said, "I fixed it the same way. I designed it to cycle. The cloud that burst and gives the rain can afford to release it because as the humidity comes it goes back up and the cycle goes again". What is it doing? It's feeding what's feeding it. Oh, you all got quiet. Are you hearing what I'm saying? You remember when Jesus passed by the fig tree and cursed the fig tree? What is this? Did Jesus kill the tree 'cause he was hungry? I mean, you know, that's like going past KFC and they closed, so I burn it down. "I bet you won't close up again. Brother hungry up in here". That'd be kinda crazy. Did Jesus really just curse the fig tree 'cause he was hungry? No, he cursed the fig tree 'cause it broke the law. He cursed the fig tree 'cause it broke the cycle. He cursed the fig tree because the fig tree was receiving and not giving.
In another text he said, "Why cumbereth it the ground"? Why would you be in the ground and keep growing and growing and growing and not expect to give nothing back to what's given to you? This is not benevolence. This is not generosity. This is circular cycles. You're giving to what's giving to you, and any time you break the law it will die. There will be a curse every time you break the law. If you marry somebody and they keep giving to you and you don't give anything back to them, I guarantee you the marriage is cursed, because any time you don't give to what's giving to you, you will kill the source. Do not muzzle the mouth of the ox. You can't keep working the ox and muzzling its mouth.
Anything that feeds you, you must feed it. If you don't feed anything else, common sense says you feed what's feeding you. You bless what's blessing you. You help what's helping you. You pour into what's pouring into you. You don't need a degree to speak Hebrew to understand that. Everything operates that way. The fields, the crops, the corn, the okra, everything operates by giving back to the thing that gave to it. The ground gave it to me, now I give it back to them. They give it to me, I give it to them. The cloud gives me rain, I give back humidity back to the cloud. Everything is a circular system of reciprocity. Every relationship in your life where you violate that law is cursed.
I never understood why I got such a high... this is just a personal testimony. I got such a high off of a terrible situation. I don't mean it didn't hurt. I don't mean it didn't break my heart, but I got such a high out of taking care of my mother. I got such a high out of it. Of everything I've ever accomplished — I've been all over the world. I've got all kinda trophies and Grammys and dah-dah-dah-dah-dah-dah-dah. The thing I'm most proud of is that I took care of my mother till she died. Above everything else, above everything else I've ever done in my life, it is by far the thing that I'm most proud of, and the reason I am so proud of it is that I got to prove to her that "if the shoe were on the other foot, I would do for you what you did for me".
That is a wonderful thing, so I cleaned her sometimes and washed her sometimes and fed sometime, and when I didn't do it I paid to have it done to make sure that she was taken care of, because when I was a baby she washed me and cleaned me, and I threw up on her. I peed on her, and she still loved me anyway, so I told her, "That's all right, Mama. Don't even worry about it. I got you," because I wanna feed what was feeding me. It says something about your character when you give back to something that gave to you. "Be not deceived" You're not too busy, you're not too big, you're not too important to break this law. "God is not mocked: whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap".
I was driving down the road one day, and I saw a sign on the front of the car, and it says "you're teaching your children how to treat you by how you treat your parents". Whatever you throw at your parents, your kids are gonna throw at you. You cannot sow disrespect and reap honor. You cannot sow hostility and reap love. You cannot sow greed and reap prosperity. "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall, that shall he also reap".
So, you want friends? Show yourself friendly. You know why people don't like you? You're not nice. Let me just cut through it. Let me just cut through the drama. Let me tell you what everybody is trying to tell you, and they can't get across to you. The reason folk don't like you is because you're not nice. You're manipulative and conniving, and they understand it, and they won't play around with it, and you don't need to go to school. You need to learn how to smile, shut your mouth, sit down in your seat, and be nice, and people will always come around nice people. I don't care how cute you are. If you are nasty, nasty will trump cute every time. "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: whatsoever..."
You feed what's feeding you. Your time, your talent, you invest it into what's feeding you. Some people are eating one place and sowing... y'all not gonna talk to me. How in the world can you be eating over here and sowing over there? How can I be your wife, washing your drawers, changing your babies, cooking your food, and hoodie over there getting your money? You eat over here... oh, no, no, I'mma break it down. Don't say nothing. I'm gonna bring it, where, "If anybody was gonna get a watch, it should have been me. If anybody was gonna get a ring, it should have been me. If anybody deserves to go out to dinner, it should have been me". "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap".
If I give to you, why would you not give to me? You think you were gonna have a husband and nothing would be required of you? You were gonna show me off like a watch at the Christmas party? Any time you take in anything living, it has to be feed. So, don't take on more than you're willing to feed and don't expect me to go on sale 'cause you got tired.
Now I got to reduce my value down to your confidence. How many people understand the words that are coming out of my mouth? So, the question is how can you understand that about you and about your life and about your sacrifice and not understand that about your church? Paul said, "If I'm the one making your life better, if the dance and the drama and the stage or the book or the ministry pours into you, why would you call it robbery to feed what's feeding you"? When you go to a restaurant, they don't ask you to pick up the check of the other table, but they do expect you, if you ate, to pick up the check for what you ate. If I feed you, aren't you supposed to feed me? And if you don't, here comes the paddy wagon to pick you up because the restaurant will not be mocked.
Are you trying to draw from something where you have little investment? If you sow sparingly... oh, y'all got quiet on me. Stay with me. Don't leave. See, when I was saying stuff you could use on your spouse in the car on the way home, you was about to dance up outta here, so don't you drop now. You stay right here fresh with me right now. As long as you were shoveling that Word at somebody, you was about to fall, "Oh, tell him, Bishop. That's right. Lord Jesus. Glory to God". You know why you respond like that? Because you have been the victim of that abuse, but what most victims don't know is that many victims become abusers, too, and justify their abuse, because when you do it it's not wrong to you.
Okay, so he says wherever you're being fed. You watching over the Internet, if this is not feeding you, don't you feed it. If Potter's House doesn't feed you, don't you feed it. If the books don't bless you, don't read it. If you don't enjoy the ministry, don't watch it. But if you're gonna sit up there and watch it week after week after week after week after week after week and tweet and talk and take the stuff and put it in your messages and talk about it at work and use it in your marriage and use it in your situation, don't get to the end of the broadcast and click off as if the transaction is over. "Be not deceived; God is not mocked". You owe it. Not to me, to God. That if God uses me or him or him, it doesn't matter who he uses to pour into your life, don't you sit up in the restaurant and eat and belch and wipe your mouth and get up and walk away like you got amnesia, because when the fig tree did that, God cursed it, for it failed to produce on the level that it took.
Let's talk about levels. You cannot draw 60 and produce 30. Simple. You cannot draw 60% and produce on a 30% level. Some people are better takers than givers. If you're gonna draw, give on the level that you draw from, because if you don't give on the level that you draw from, you will slow down the death, but the death will still occur because little by little that depletion just happens. It doesn't happen as fast as the robber who stole everything, but it is a gradual decline until all of a sudden it feels like people have gotten tired of you. They've not gotten tired of you. They've gotten tired of carrying something that's not giving back on the level that it's taking. This is God's Word.
Let's read it again. Go back to your Bible, 'cause I want you to read this in your Bible. I want you to get this. I'm not worried about you shouting. You missed your chance to dance. "Let every man bear his own burden". And the reason Paul is saying this, he's saying it to the early church because the majority of the church worked a secular job, and then he says, "Let him that receiveth teaching communicate to him that teaches in all good things". In God's perfect order, it was not God's will for the man of God to do anything except give himself over to prayer and study of the Word, to relieve him of responsibilities. It's why the deacons were created, so that the apostles would be able to turn themselves fully over to the Word of God, so that when you came to be fed you would get a full meal without the restriction of them being distracted to take care of their own needs.
So, he says, "Let him that receiveth teaching communicate to him that teaches in all good things". Then, "Be not deceived; God is not mocked". And the reason it says "God is not mocked" — and I want you to get this. I said it, but I wanna underline it again. God put in a system, a cycle so delicate, that man's tampering with one of God's systems breaks it down, a system. "'Let there be light,' and there was light, and it was good; and the evening and the morning were the first day. And God said, 'Bring forth,' and the earth yielding forth seed after its own kind, each producing after its own kind, and God said it was good". That's not just creation. Those are systems, circular systems. That once God put it in motion, as long as you don't mock him that system will go uninterrupted.
"Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together". As long as you don't violate it, as long as I throw you the ball, you can throw it back to me. As long as I pass it to you, you can pass it back to me, but I can't stop passing it and then say, "Why aren't you giving it back"? God is not mocked, the system. Now, I'll quickly close with this. "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap". What areas in your life are you underfunding and over expecting? Are you expecting more out of a career than what you're willing to study for? Are you trying to get something out of the piano that you didn't put into it? Are you trying to get something out of ministry that you don't put into it? Do you realize you can't come once a month and get what you need?
My tree died. It wasn't that I didn't feed it. I just didn't feed it often. I put it in the light when I was home. I gave it water when I gave a chance and little by little the little green things just fell off, and I hated it 'cause now it didn't look good, and I had to hide it 'cause it looked bad, but the way it looked was a result of how I treated it. I was over expecting and underfunding. Wow!
Don't take on more than what you can afford. Don't overextend yourself beyond your willingness to invest. Don't take five dogs, three cats, and a poodle when you know you are not gonna take care of them. Don't take 'em in and then complain 'cause you gotta walk 'em. Common sense tell you that if you have it, you gotta take care of it. Don't have a baby because of the baby's daddy, because the daddy may not stay, and you still got the baby. "You so fine. I wanna have your baby". What kinda drug are you on? What are you smoking, girl? What are you hitting? What are you taking today? Something is wrong with you.
You're looking at him, but you're gonna get this and diapers and doodle and throw-up and going to the hospital and to the doctor and bicycles and class and school and ballet practices and choir rehearsals and exams. And if you don't wanna get up and drive after you get off work and taken 'em to all of that stuff, then shut down the shop, close down the doors, pull down the blinds and say, "See ya. I'm not ready to be ya". To those of you who didn't understand that, what that actually means, that a life filled with promiscuity and indiscretion ends up in total despair and degradation. It is wise, then, for us to be contemplative before we make such decisions that end in ruin. I got you. Let him that receiveth give back.
We have a responsibility, and I'll close with this. Our generation has a responsibility. I am tired of hearing my generation talk about the younger generation. I'm sick of it. We talk about them and their antics and their foolishness and their ways as if they were not our kids. Whatever is wrong with them and whatever is right with them, they are our children. It happened while we were doing our thing and going about our business and dropping it like it's hot. And because we left them to be raised by computers and they had nobody to love and nobody to talk to and nobody to stand by them, that's why they didn't turn out like you did, 'cause your mama put more into you than you put into your daughter. And if you wanna change the outcome, you have to change the investment, so shut up talking to me about these kids. They are our children, and they didn't get here by ourselves, and because we were more interested in making money than we were making people, we left them home alone, and they figured it out the best way they could. And the only way to fix it is to go back and do your first works over and repent and say, "I know I wasn't there for you like I should have been, but I'm not gonna leave you in this mess by yourself. Mama made some mistakes and daddy did some crazy stuff, but I'm in this mess with you and whatever it takes to work it out".
So, we owe it, because this is the first generation in history that is biblically illiterate, because this is the first generation of young people who never went to Sunday school, never went to vacation Bible school, never went to the Sunbeam Choir, never were in the Tom Thumb weddings. You know why? We didn't take 'em. Now they don't know anything about God, and we don't understand why, and before we die that's why I wanna build a youth center. That's why I wanna educate our children. That's why I wanna put 'em in classes and put some faith down in them, because now that we got enough sense to come out of the strip club and finally admit that we are grown people, let's go back and parent them the way we should have done 20 years ago and raise up something so that we can put in them what mama nem put in us, 'cause I don't want them to face the world without understanding what God is able to do. Shout, "Yes".