TD Jakes - The Autopsy of a Decade
You can't keep everything the way it was and go forward at the same time, you got to be prepared to boil some stuff and burn some stuff and do without some stuff, and let the other girl be cuter than you for a little while. "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning". You may have to do your own hair, you may have to cut your nails off, I mean, when you really willing to sacrifice... oh, y'all don't wanna hear me, y'all don't wanna hear me. No-no-no-no-no, y'all don't wanna hear that, y'all don't wanna hear that. You've gotta be willing to sacrifice and you gotta be willing to serve, and it was almost 10 years that he walked with Elijah, almost a decade.
Some people will serve you for weekend; if you get sick they'll come see you for a few days, if you stay sick very long, even your kinfolks will get tired. You know, "I'm good for 30 days, on that 31st day you better get well because you know I got a family at home, I got things to do, I can't keep paying these babysitters, I'm praying for you, I'm believing Father". 10 years he served a man he knew little about, in the most personal ways he took care of him for 10 years, and the man wasn't particularly nice, we do know that, 'cause Elijah kept telling him to leave.
Now we're living in a time today that people will leave your church over a member, "I left because somebody in a red hat said something smart to me, back on the 27th row on the right hand corner there was a fat lady in a red hat and she said something smart, and me and my kid left your church". If you are easily offended you will never be awesome, you have to be strong enough to deal with different types of personalities to walk into your destiny. People who are easily offended will never be mighty, you can't be mighty and petty at the same time, you got to decide, am I gonna be mighty or am I gonna be petty? He kept saying, "As the Lord liveth, I will not leave thee," as the Lord liveth, I will not leave thee, as the Lord liveth, I will not leave thee, as the Lord liveth, I will not leave thee.
What produces that kind of loyalty? Let's do an autopsy on this decade, what produces that kind of loyalty? You know, they do an autopsy when they want to know what happened, what produces that kind in an era where loyalty is hard to find, is it just good character that does that? I don't, I don't think so, I think it's need, Elijah needed a prophet in his stead and Elisha needed purpose.
See, if you don't need to serve, the first time I offend you, you will quit, but when you need to serve, when you are called to serve, when you get a sense of fulfillment out of service, you can get your feelings hurt and still show up for work the next day and say, "What needs to be done?" because you gotta have a need to do it. If you don't have a need to do it you wouldn't be able to do it, you couldn't work in our Creative Arts Department if you didn't have a need to do it, 'cause when they really going after something they rehearse every night, every night, every night, every night.
Now I want to sing but I don't wanna sing every night and that's why I'm not in the choir, 'cause I want to sing once a quarter. Once a quarter I will join the choir and sing, but if y'all start rehearsing every night, every night; you have to need to do that, you have to enjoy that, you have to get a sense of fulfillment out of doing that, you have to really be into that. It's more than being able to sing, 'cause there's some people who can sing you crazy sitting out there in the pews right there but they're not really called to it like that. It has to be your daily bread, it has to be what excites you and what motivates you, you have to have a passion for it or it doesn't work.
If you don't have a passion, it's not enough to have a gift, if you don't have a passion, I know some gifted people that's in prison, I know some gifted people that are sleeping up under a bridge. You have passion to go with the gift, or I can offend you and you'll walk away, and let me tell you, God will always test your intent by insults. I'm gonna say it again, God will always test your intent by insult, because if an insult can make you quit, you wasn't worthy of the job in the first place.
Elijah said, "I'm gonna stay," I'm gonna stay. An autopsy is something they do to find out clues, to find out information, to find out information that was not revealed another way they do a forensic analysis to evaluate what is going on. And when they do that forensic analysis they learn, they learn from it, they learn from what is lost. When everybody through with the body, they take the body on in and they learn from what is lost. Since we are crossing a decade...
See, we keep having new experiences without doing autopsies on old ones. So we get married again without finding out what went wrong with the first marriage, and so there we are doing again in the second marriage what we did in the first marriage, 'cause the truth be told we're still married to the first person. So when the second person gets mad or does something that reminds you of the first person, you get mad and flip out in an uncanny way that shocks him, because they don't realize you're not really talking to him, you're talking to the other guy that you were married to before because you have never done an autopsy on your past to figure out what needs to change in order to really walk in the newness of life.
You've got a new date, you've got a new dress, you got a new house, you got a new name but that same old attitude continues to live because you have never had the courage to do an autopsy on the past to prepare for the future. There are things you can learn from what you lost, there are things you can learn from what you lost, there are things that you can learn, and so there, we're gonna do an autopsy to understand things better. In theology, there's a term called eschatology, and eschatology comes from two Greek words which means last study, let's do a last study, the study of the end of things: end of an age, the end of the world, the end of nature, the end of the kingdom, the end of an era, the end of a thing.
Look back over 10 years in your life, what happened? What happened, what happened in your life over 10 years and what have you learned from it? Because if you lost it and didn't learn anything from it that means you have no profit from it, and one of the worst things you can be in the Scriptures is an unprofitable servant. An unprofitable servant is somebody who has nothing left from what they lost. They're unprofitable, doesn't mean that they didn't do business but they didn't have anything left from what they lost, they broke even.
I made it, glory to God, it's another year, I made it, it's another year, I made it, it's another year, I made it, it's another decade, I made it, it's another husband, I made it, I got me a new man, I made it, I got me a new girl, I made it, I got me a new job, I made it, I moved into a new city, I made it, I got me a new church, but you still got the attitude from the old church. If you don't learn from what you've lost you have no profit, why would you have that much pain and no profit? To have gone through that much pain ought to demand that you get something out of it that makes you wiser, that makes you stronger, that makes you better, that makes you healthier, that makes you whole.
And so I thought we ought to do, I thought we oughtta do an analysis to begin to understand the journey that they went on because there might be some clues; let me look under here. He took him to Gilgal, he took him to Gilgal. They'd been in Gilgal, Gilgal is that place that stones and knives were in Gilgal, Gilgal is the place where the children of Israel gathered stones as a monument so that their children would know that God was with them when they pass through the Jordan River; so that's why I call it stones and knives.
Gilgal is the place, that when this next generation got ready to cross over they took sharp stones and made knives out of them and circumcised their sons before they went into the promised land, and Elijah and Elisha went through Gilgal, the place of cutting, the place of separation, the place of rolling away. That's what it literally means, Gilgal literally means to roll away: roll away shame, roll away anger, roll away disgrace, roll away hostility. You gotta roll some things away, you've gotta roll them away to make sure that when they circumcise the men, that means some things didn't cross the Jordan with them; they left something behind, they left some things behind, what are you going to leave behind? Are you willing to leave behind the way you talk? Are you willing to leave behind the way you think about your story?
Most people are not and that's why they never have a new experience because they never have new language. We think about our lives in decades, I was from the sixties, all the boomers will tell you right now, "I grew up in the sixties, child". All the boomers, am I right? I grew up in the 'sixties, I grew up in the sixties. Well I grew up in the 'seventies, I grew up in the eighties. We think about our lives in decades but we plan our lives in days; very few people have a plan for the next 10 years. So how can you measure how good was the day when you don't have the decade in mind? How can you measure the success of a year if you don't have a long term goal in mind? Where do you want to be 10 years from now?
You evaluate the year, not whether good or bad happens in a year, which is a message to the church has been teaching for years, "This is gonna be your year," and you shout all over the church 'cause you think that nothing gonna go wrong that year. People are going to die this year, people gonna get sick this year, people gonna have car wrecks this year, people are going to get on your nerves this year, things are gonna happen to you that's not fair this year. That happens every year, that is life.
I'm not talking about life, there will be no magic years where nobody dies, death is a natural part of life; it's painful, it hurts, I'm not minimizing it but understand that that is going to happen. You are not going to pray death away, it's your family today, it'll be my family tomorrow, it'll be that family that next day. Death is a reality, it always has been and will be. There will be no magic years as it relates to life.
See, y'all don't like us when we tell the truth, and that's what makes us lie. That's what makes us lie, because we like to be lied to and preachers like to be liked, so they say what you want to hear rather than what you need to hear, and then you wonder why your faith doesn't work. You need somebody to tell you the truth. There will be no magic years where everything goes right, and everybody likes you and everybody treats you good and everybody treats you right, and you get everything you're going after. There will be no years like that, there's always gonna be somebody getting on your nerves, there's always gonna be somebody talking about you, there's always gonna be somebody fighting you, there's always gonna be something to solve, there's always gonna be bad news, there's always gonna be shocking news and there's always gonna be years full of good and bad.
So how do we monitor whether the year is successful? We monitor it by how close it got us to the decade, and the goal we set for the next 10 years. All those other things are distractions, all those other things are distractions. God said I will fight, in fact, I will take the bad things and make them work for your good if you have purpose. If you have purpose, "I will make all things work together for the good of them that love the Lord;" even the bad things, even the things you've cried over, even the people who died, even the people who left you, even the people who forsook you.
God said if you keep your mind on what your purpose is, I'll make it work for your good. They'll curse you and I'll make it a blessing, they'll fire you and I'll open up a way for you, they'll walk over top of you and I'll choose you and bring you from the back row to the front row, because I am God, I bring up one, I take down another, I'm God all by myself. Am I in the right church tonight? Am I talking to the right people?
I want to get you ready, I'm tired of giving you junk food and trying to get you to believe something that ain't never gonna happen. There's always gonna be somebody crazy in your family, there's always gonna be somebody who disrespects you, there's always gonna be somebody who don't want to treat you right: that is life. So success is, regardless of these distractions how close am I getting to being a better person? How close am I getting to being a better man? How close am I getting to what God created me to be?
I want this year to propel me into my destiny, if it's just but one step, I want to make one step closer into what I'm supposed to be so that when I get to the next 10 years, when I get to the decade, I am ready for that stage of my life. And so he walked him to Gilgal and said you got some cutting to do, dude. You got some flesh gotta come off of you, you got some things that need to be rolled away off for you for you to be the person that you need to be, and I don't care how much money you make, it won't be enough to substitute for you cutting yourself. You're better at cutting cows than you are at cutting you.
So he's teaching him discipline, and he goes to Gilgal, and then he takes him to Bethel, and Bethel is a place where Jacob lays his head on a stone and the heavens open up to him because he wants him to know, "You always have access to God". This is something I want you to see, this is really big, a lot of preachers won't tell you this. Bethel is the place where Jacob laid his head on a stone, and the heavens opened up and the angels ascended and descended, and he called it Bethel because he called it the House of God 'cause he literally thought he had found this spot that opened up to the heavens, he thought it was the spot. It really wasn't the spot, it was the space he was in.
Any spot is the spot if you're in the right space. You can go in the bathroom and shut yourself up in the stall and it can be the right spot if you're in the right space. It could be in your car, you could be in your car riding down the road and God will come in the car with you. Bethel is the place where you learn you got an access to God, Bethel is the place where you learn you don't have to call your prayer partner, you don't have to call your prayer sister, you don't need your pastor to come by your house, you don't need the bishop to bless you, you don't need to kiss the Pope's ring; that wherever you are, if you stand still and call on the name of the Lord, God will show up in your life right there.
God don't have no special people, God don't have no special people, you're just as much God's child as I am God's child, God will hear you just as fast as he will hear me. Away with this notion that God has special people, you are the one that God has given access. He wants the prophet to understand you can ring him up wherever you are and God will come to you. God will come to you when your mouth is taped up, God will come to you with a tube down your throat, God will come to you when you laid out on a stretcher, God will come to you in a nursing home, God will come to you in a homeless shelter, God will come to you wherever you are. God will come on the bus with you, God will get in the mansion with you, God will come in the middle of a wheelchair with you. God will come in your crisis, God will come into the jail cell, God will come into prison, God will come in unemployment line, God will come when you're blind, God will come when you're deaf.
I don't care what your circumstance is, if you go to Bethel, Bethel will come to you. You can turn your bathroom into a chapel, you can go down in your basement and God will come in your basement, you can be in an outhouse and God will come in the outhouse. Wherever you call on the name of the Lord, God will show up. I wish I had a 100 radical people that will start calling on God. Yes, yes, I want you to be so low that you tell your neighbor, "Whenever I call him he shows up". Whenever I call him out he shows up, whenever I call him he shows up, whenever I called him he shows up. He's right there whenever I need him.
Somebody give the Lord a praise right now. C'mon-c'mon, praise him, c'mon-c'mon, praise him, c'mon-c'mon, praise him, c'mon-c'mon, praise him, c'mon-c'mon, praise him, c'mon-c'mon, praise him. He's there, he's there, he's there, he's there. Hadi, I don't understand me, they think I mean that he's coming, he's not coming, he's there. His name is Jehovah-shammah, Jehovah-shammah means I am present. I'm not on my way, I'm not coming, I'm not fixing to come. Boom, I'm there. I'm there in the fiery furnace, I'm there in your depression, I'm there in your discouragement. Boom, I'm right there.
You cannot be my prophet if you cannot provoke my presence, you cannot be my prophet and lead the congregation to get in the presence of God, you cannot be my prophet and lead the organ to get into the presence of God, you gotta be able to bring him about all by yourself. So why are you taking out slop jars and cleaning counters and washing my underwear, I'm still teaching you something, so, "Despise not the day of small beginnings". While you're working a job that's half paying you the wages you really wanna be paid, God says I'm still teaching you something, I'm still showing you something in the middle of that.
I didn't bring you there for the money, I brought you there to learn something, I brought you there to be a witness, I brought you there to be a testimony, I brought you there for you to learn something. I'm getting you ready for something that's bigger than where you are right now. You keep talking to me about where you are right now, I'm getting you ready for where you're going. There's a reason I put you in that situation, there's something I'm trying to show you about yourself, there's something I'm trying to show you about your situation. It's not about the money, don't worry about the money, when the time is right I'll give you the money.
Right now I'm trying to give you the experience of understanding me in another level. If I'm talking to you, give him some kind of praise, oh. Yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah, yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah, yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah. Yeah, I'm not happy, you're not supposed to be happy, you're not gonna be happy every day. You're not gonna be happy married, you're not going to be happy single, you're not gonna be happy in the penthouse, you're not going to be happy in the basement. Every day life is not supposed to be for your joy, it's supposed to be for your experience. God wants to give you an experience that draws you closer and closer to him. Oh my God, I feel the anointing in this place, somebody on this side is praying, open your mouth up and give God a praise right now.
Hallelujah, touch your neighbor and say I can ring him up. I would love to have your help but if you don't help me I could help myself. If you don't call him I'll call him myself, if you don't praise him I'll praise him myself, if you don't love him I'll love him myself, if you're not anointed I'm anointing myself, if you can't get a prayer through I'll get one through myself. Somebody open your mouth and help me praise him, open your mouth, come on and open your mouth, yeah, somebody open your mouth in here, somebody open your mouth in here.
And so he comes down, I feel like preaching now. He comes down to the Jordan, and when it gets to the Jordan he says, If you see me when I'm taken up there are some things you can't get from me in a week, you can't be my best friend in a weekend. There are some things you can't get from me early, I got to know you, I got to see you mad, I gotta see you hurt, I gotta see you depressed, I gotta see you lonely. Oh my God, let me stare at you a while 'cause I need to know whatever we go through there's some things that remain consistent in your life. I need to know that I can count on you even when you're depressed, even when you're feeling low. If you're gonna be my prophet, whew, if you're going to be my prophet you gotta be consistent.