TD Jakes - Commitment
She was so hated that God opened up her womb. He blessed her because of the hatred. And as she begins to give birth, she births four sons, and she births Simeon, and she births Reuben, and she births Levi, and finally she births Judah. Each one of them are given names that, on the surface, represent her struggle to be accepted. She has the first son, saying, "Maybe Jacob will see that I've given him a son and maybe he will love me". The second son, she says, "When he hears I have given him a man child, maybe he'll care about me".
Isn't it funny how you can be in situations where people will deny you the oxygen of love? And there she is, trying desperately to get him to, "Maybe if I do something special, he'll hear about it and he'll feel better about me". And then the third son she has, his name is Levi. "Levi" means "to be joined, to be connected, to be committed". And she says, "Maybe he will be joined to me. I'll call the boy 'Levi.'" It took her four children. On the fourth child, she has Judah, and she says, "Now will I praise the Lord". She said, "I've finally come to the place that I've put away enough of my ghosts, fears, insecurities, intimidations that I'm through doing things to be accepted by people. Now will I praise the Lord".
Okay, now, I wanna go back through these four children because they are the syllabus of what I wanna talk to you about today. Not only does Leah's children have significance to her as a woman and to Jacob as a father, but they also have prophetic significance too. First of all, you cannot be a believer until you see your old life and the misery thereof and wanna change it. You can't be a Christian because it's the new thing to do. You can't do it through cores and where somebody pushes you into do it. You can't do it for your mother. You can't do it for your grandmother. You can't do it for your wife. You can't do it for your boss. You can't do it because rich people come to this church. You can't do it because pretty women are in this church. You can't do it because it would be a good business move to be connected with this church and you could be exposed in this church. It's not, you can't do it like that. You have to recognize that your old wretched man is miserable and ugly and undone, that your vision is tangled, and that you're wasting time and losing life. And until you see it as misery, you will never be able to change and make the transformation that is necessary to become who God wants you to be.
Number two, you have to hear the Word. A lot of people come to church, but they don't hear the Word. They're kinda here. Their brain is in neutral. They left their intelligence in the car. They'll pick it up on the way out. They kinda sit here, you know, and they wait on a big bump to happen or a song to be sung, or somethin' that they like, but they really don't hear the Word of God. They don't let it sink down in their heart. That's why they have no faith. Because, "Faith cometh", oh, I knew you knew your Bible. "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God". It appears to me that this is a good time to teach on this element.
The Bible said, "The engrafted Word of God is able to save your soul". "Engrafted, engrafted". The Word that sticks in your soul, that's the only Word that you can use. The enemy doesn't mind all the Word that flies over your head. That's why he'll try to distract you all while I'm preachin'. He'll have you doin' somethin' that don't have anything to do with it. You'll be thinkin' about what you're gonna wear to work Monday, "Oh, where are we gonna eat when the service is over"? Because the enemy knows you can't fight with Word that goes over your head. You can only use the engrafted Word of God.
Can I go into this a little bit more. Think of if you had a skin graft. That is to take skin from one place, and you put it in another, and you put it there, and you hold it there until a natural grafting takes place so that that that was not there before has become one in a place that it did not exist privately. That is the miracle of God's Word. When I preach the Word or you study the Word or you read the Word, it will take a love you didn't have, a peace you didn't have, a power you didn't have, a confidence you didn't have, and it will graft into your personality. Oh, y'all don't hear what I'm saying. Hearing the Word of God is absolutely life changing.
That was her second son. Her third son is Levi, and this is the one I just wanna sit on and rest a while. "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 of the connection, they forsake the responsibility and walk away from their commitment. 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 yourself: "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. You have people that come to work. They take a job. They 're not committed to the job. They want the check. They want the check. Well, everybody wants some money, baby. I'mma say it again. Everybody wants 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 wants 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 Happy" 'cause I don't have to worry about preachin', "You 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 nothin', 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 were not willing to give. You have never been joined. You just wore the dress, got the plaque, they through 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.
But instead of havin' Levi first, we have a generation of people who skip over Levi and try to have Judah, the praising generation, the shouting generation, the generation who goes for inspiration without impartation. Oh, sit there, I'm comin' for ya. Don't you move. I'll be right on your pew in just a minute. They shout all over the church, but they won't work. They won't give. They won't support. They get married. They want checks, but they don't pay bills. It's gonna be tough in here. Get the babies out, 'cause I'mma start a fight. I'mma start a fight in here right now. You want all the benefits, but you don't want none of the responsibilities.
Yes, it's gonna be a rough ride back home this Sunday. If I was you, I'd just catch the bus. I wouldn't even get in the car 'cause if y'all start talkin' about this, there's gonna be some trouble in here. And don't go nowhere women, because you want a husband, but you don't wanna be a wife. You just a girl who wants a man. You're not a wife. You can't have a man and not change your life. Baby, you can't have a dog and it not change your life. If you bring home a goldfish, it's gonna change your life. How did you think you was gonna get married and talk about, "I got to be myself"? Then you shouldn't have got married.
It's wrong for you to think that you're gonna give an offering and God's gonna bless a business you ain't committed to, bless a marriage you ain't committed to, bless you in school and you won't study, bless you as a saint of God and you won't walk like a saint of God. Who do you think God is, somebody playin' in Vegas? God is not hittin' the slot machine. God is a guaranteed, definite I Am, the mighty God of sure blessings. 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 windows of heaven. I will if you will".
Sit down, sit down, I'm just talkin'. So, four areas I want to talk about you need to be committed. I'll list them for you right now. Number one, your first commitment is to God. The God who gave you life, who blew breath into you, has a right to expect a return on his investment above all others. He gave you life. Mama bought you shoes. Daddy got you a bicycle. God gave you life, and you owe him a level of commitment. You owe him a level of commitment beyond all others. Your God is approached in your spirit, not in your flesh. Your dancin' and your jumpin' and your whoopin' and your hollerin' and your clappin' does not mean you're committed to God. "God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth".
When your insides are given to God, when your heart is given to God, "With my whole heart, Lord, will I follow thee". It's not, "My hands, my feet". "My heart, my spirit, my innermost being is committed to God. I will not face a giant without you. I will not make a major decision without prayer. I will not bring somebody into my life just 'cause they please me. I'll submit myself, my destiny, my future over to you. You are my Foundation. You are my Rock. You are my Fortress. You are my Strength. You are my Defense. Without you, I can do nothing. You are the substratum of every dream I have ever dreamed in my life, and I will take no promotion you don't want me to have, and I will accept no friend you don't want me to have. You're my Rock!
Your 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 then 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 have to be committed through the storm and the rain and the heartache and the pain and the disappointment. You 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 gotta come home when you in love and you gotta come home when you not in love or you not gonna make it. And stay there till the love comes back. It's a commitment.
Y'all don't wanna hear real truth. You wanna hear fairytale, 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. If you die, you're my son. If you're in jail, you're my son. If you're gay, you're my son. If you're a crossdresser, you're my son. It's a commitment, and if you're not gonna be committed, you don't need no kids.
I didn't do you no favor. That's my job, to clean up your vomit, and everything else that comes out of you when you a child. So then, when I turn around and get old, don't you throw me away and not come visit me and take care of me, it's reciprocity. No, ain't nobody teachin' this stuff. Somebody has got to arrest this crazy generation that wants to take everything and give back nothing.
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 join. 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's 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 preachin'"? Yeah, "Is Bishop preachin'"? "Because it's all about what I can get and nothin' 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 give-me 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 is the reciprocity? What do you do give for all that you got? Any relationship that does not have reciprocity will not last. If I'm always the one givin' and always the one sacrificin', always the one pushin' 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.
Why is that some of our best givers never give, and our best singers never sing, and our best workers will not work? And some of our greatest people are sitting out there, always suckin' it up, and find no area of service out of 150 ministries. Not one of 'em fits you? 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. "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".
Number four, commitment to your dream. You cannot get people to believe in your dream until you believe in it yourself. Stop askin' people to invest in things where you have no investment. Stop askin' people to deliver somethin' 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 have to invest in what you dream for. Hallelujah to God. You must be committed to your dream, oh, hallelujah. I'm scared to talk about it 'cause I believe it so bad. You oughtta see, my toes are dancin' in my shoes. Glory to God. I don't have no hair on my head, but my hair on my chin is jerkin' over this right now.
I have never met anybody who became incredibly successful in any area of their life until they had 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. Though the vision tarry, wait for it, hallelujah. Slap somebody and tell 'em, "It will happen. It may take me longer. I may have to take night classes. I may have to start the business in my house, but it will happen". Oh, my God. He's not just Alpha. He's also Omega. He's not just the Beginning. He's also the End. If God started it, he will finish it. Shout YES!