TD Jakes - We Are All in the Same Boat
Paul says, I know both how to be abased and I know how to abound, everywhere and in all things. I am instructed. Oh, God. I am instructed, both to abound, we do good teaching that part, but I'm also instructed to suffer, need, loneliness, frustration, turmoil, aggravation. The same God that orders blessings, he instructs me to suffer. And because we don't teach this, we have a church in shock. We have a church in shock, because we told you, if you got saved you'd have a Mercedes in a month, all your kids would graduate, you'd be happily married the rest of your life, everything would fall in place and your back would never hurt. And now all hell is breaking loose, and you're shocked. But I am instructed both to be full and I am instructed to be hungry.
I want to talk to my hungry people. Sometimes God will order hunger. He will put you in a situation that hurts, and leave you in it, and let you struggle. He will let me be hungry both to abound and to suffer need. Everybody in this room, streaming online, Zooming in here, I don't care how you're making contact with me, in some area of your life you are in need. He says he has learned to be content. It's not just that he's enduring, he has learned to be content, he has learned to chill, he has learned to enjoy his own company, he has learned to celebrate himself, he has learned contentment in the storm. Now, contentment doesn't mean the absence of aspiration, and contentment doesn't mean apathy, it doesn't mean indifference. More aptly, it means to make peace with the process, to make peace with the process.
If it takes this to get to the other side, I can do it. If I have to go through lightning to get to my destiny, I can do it. To make peace with the process is contentment in the program that God has designed for my life. If we are to maintain, then, our aspirations and be effective, we must do it without developing frustration. Some of you have aspiration, but you're cancelling it out with frustration. We must avoid the temptation to be defined by our current status, whether it is positive or negative, it simply doesn't define me. I will not be defined by what's going on around me, storm or not, wind or not, good or bad. I learned not to get drunk off of success, because if you get drunk off of success, you get drugged by failure.
I learned that neither my successes nor my failure define me, that I am centered by what is in me and not what's around me, that the things that I think are lovely and pure and true, those are the things that stabilize me, not what I wear, not what I drive, not where I live, that could come, that could go. I've gotta be stabilized by something that's solid and stable. I'm learning not to live with the myth that means changing my situation will change my realities. I am who I am, whether I'm married or single. I am who I am, whether I'm in a storefront or a cathedral. I am who I am, whether I'm driving a truck or a Bentley. I am who I am. My situation is not defined by my circumstances. Oh, y'all don't hear what I'm saying.
So quickly, I'm almost close. The boys are on the boat, and there's three ways I want you to look at it. I want you to look at the boat, I want you to look in the battle, and I want you to look at the bread. The boat, the battle, and the bread. The boat, the battle, the bread. The boat, the battle, the bread. I want you to look at all three of them in the text, the boat, the battle, and the bread. Somebody say, the boat, the battle, the bread. Say it again. The boat, the battle, the bread. Say it again. The boat, the battle, the bread. The boat I want to talk about, because God has this thing for boats. All throughout Scriptures, when he deems something valuable, he always put it on a boat.
When Noah found favor with God, God said, Noah, I'm going to get you through this on a boat. If I put you on a boat and I shut the door, don't come out 'til I open it, 'cause all my treasure will always be on the boat. When Moses, the baby Moses, had gotten too big to be hidden, and when he could no longer be hidden, his mother made a little boat for him called an ark, and put him in the river. And no matter how many alligators or snakes or serpents were in the water, as long as the baby stayed on the boat, as long as the baby stayed on the boat. It might get rocky, but as long as the baby stayed on the boat, he'd survive. When Paul was traveling toward Rome, and everybody was getting ready to leap off the boat, he said, even if the boat falls apart, stay with it. Any little piece of the boat will get you to your destination.
God does everything by boat. When he got ready to create life, he put it in the mother's womb, which is a boat, and allowed the baby to float in her belly. Because anything that God thinks is precious he puts it in a boat. When he got ready to come in the flesh, he came in to Mary and said, let me borrow your boat. And he climbed up in her womb and he floated nine months and came out the baby Jesus, because anything God thinks is precious he puts it in a boat. When he met Peter and he got ready to preach, he came down to the seashore and said, Peter, let me borrow your boat. And he started his preaching from a boat. Because anything that God thinks is precious he puts it in a boat. And he put the disciples in the boat and said, I'm going up to pray, you go ahead, I'll join you later. We are all in the same boat. Rich folks, poor folks, black folks, white folks, educated, illiterate, articulate, intelligent, we are all in the same boat.
Stop feeling cheated. To all you haters out there, the reason you are haters is because you think that the people you're hating on got somethin' that you didn't get. You think that they have no struggles, you think that they have no suffering, you think that they have no pain, you think that your life is the only one that hurts. The one that you're hating on hurts too. There's no need in you being a hater. You don't get through this world without storms and struggle and pain. Calm down. Calm down. We are all in the same boat.
If you got COVID in a trailer park and you can't breathe, it don't make it better if you're in a mansion with goose down pillows, if you can't breathe. Pain is pain. One person asleep on an old foam pillow, and all the foam has become so weakened that it's almost flat, but if you can't breathe, it don't matter where you lay your head. One person's got nurses and attendants and maids, another one's got the grandma shovelin' food through the window of a trailer, but if you got COVID it don't matter the circumstances. Stop hating on people. Life is just, we are all in the same boat. The battle, the common human struggle. You think, Lord, if you would have made me differently, I wouldn't have the pain I got now. Yes you would. The circumstances might be different, but you would have pain.
Single people say, I'm tired of being by myself, if I could just get married I'd be happy. No you wouldn't. You'd just have somebody to argue with, instead of arguing with yourself. Married people think, I'm tired of being married and I want to be single. Skinny people, praying, takin' all kinda stuff tryin' to gain weight. Fat people running all over the house tryin' to be small. Everybody gotta struggle. Black folks gotta struggle, white folks gotta struggle, Democrats gotta struggle, Republicans gotta struggle. Everybody! You don't get through this world without struggle. Calm down! There's no way to get to the other side without the struggle. So they are battling.
Somebody shout, battle! Somebody shout, battle! I didn't say, say it, I said, shout battle! When you shout battle, you let the devil know, I'm gonna fight back. When you shout battle, you let the wind know, I'm not just gonna let you take me under. Somebody shout, battle! That means if you jump on me, you got a fight on your hands. If you come in my house, you got a fight on your hands. That means I'm not gonna lay down and die, that means I'm gonna battle. Somebody shout, battle!
And they battled on the boat. And here's the thing that gets me. This text is the only text that tells the story without telling about Peter. Did you notice, when I read the text, there is no mention of Peter walking on the water? And all of a sudden I began to think, this is strange. Mark doesn't focus on Peter, or mention him at all. And I had to rethink in my mind, because all of the 43 years of my ministry I have always applauded Peter for getting out of the boat. I thought he was better than the rest of 'em, 'cause he got off the boat. I thought he was stronger than the rest of 'em, 'cause he got off the boat. I thought he had more faith, because he walked on the water. It never occurred to me that, for him to get off the boat, might be to leave the place that he was instructed to stay. And maybe we got too many people who are asking God for permission to get off the boat that God instructed you to stay on.
Mark doesn't mention Peter, because it's not God's will for you to run from the fight and leave everybody else struggling. It's not that God told him to get off the boat, he asked to get off the boat. Some of y'all keep jumping off of boats every time the storm rises, you want to walk away. When are you gonna grow up and sit your hips down and wrestle with divorce and fight your way to the other side? Holler at somebody and tell 'em, I'm through running. I'm through running. I'm gonna stay right here on this boat, rocking and reeling and pulling and towing, 'til I get what God wants me to have. Who says that Peter was right to run? There is no Scripture in the Bible that applauds him for running. And when Jesus saves him, he only had to save him because he got out of the boat. Oh, y'all ain't gonna talk to me this morning.
And then he says, ye of little faith. I thought he would call him of little faith 'cause he's safe, could it be that his faith, little faith, was running from the struggle? This is the Word of the Lord to somebody, you will not run from the struggle, you will stand flat-footed in the struggle. And no matter how your toiling and how tired you are, you will stop asking for miracles to get you out of what God puts you into. You will get in that struggle and you will grab them oars and you will deal with the struggle, because God has instructed struggle in this season for your life. I'm almost done. Mark does not mention Peter at all, because Peter missed the battle. And, my God, Peter has a habit of missing battles. When Jesus got to the cross, he missed the battle. He denied him and said he wasn't a disciple, he missed the battle. He ended up ashamed and disgraced, he missed the battle. I'm just saying, it could be possible that he should have stayed in the battle.
Have you fought hard enough? Have you resisted under blood? One final thing. He doesn't mention Peter, he only talks about the boat, he only talks about the battle. And then, at the last moment, he brings up the bread. And now I understand it! I never understood why Jesus told them to gather up the fragments. We don't hear where they ever used them. We don't hear where they ever ate them. We only hear that the fragments were on the boat. And it is this gospel writer that makes us understand why. The fragments were on the boat to remind them of what God had done before in their life. And the Bible said that they forgot the loaves because of the hardness of their heart. The loaves were there to remind them of what God had done in the past. And Jesus said, take the scraps with ya. I'd never could, because my mind draws pictures, I never could figure out, who wants to eat this stuff? These leftover scraps in baskets where everybody been eating off 'em and throwin' it away did not sound appetizing to me.
So I thought, maybe I'm frivolous, but it seemed like to me, you know, Jesus, if I'm going to work for you for three years, you could give me something fresh to eat. What are we gonna make with these scraps with fish in it? If it was just day-old bread I could make some bread pudding or something, but what am I gonna do with this old fish and this old bread? God left the fish and the bread so you could remember what he brought you through before. And God knew that a storm was coming in your life, and he said, I want to leave an evidence in your life that when you needed me before, I've always been there. And every time you've ever been in trouble, I brought you through.
Everybody that's watching me, if you've ever been in trouble and God brought you through, give him a praise right now. If you've ever been in trouble. Come on, somebody, give me some in the house. If you've ever been in trouble, if you've ever been in trouble. If you've ever been sick and God brought you through, give him a praise. If you've ever been broke and God brought you through, give him a praise. If your child's ever been in trouble and God brought you out, give God a praise. If you've ever been jobless and God provided, give God a praise. And the Lord told me to tell you, wherever you go, whatever you do, whatever you do, wherever you go, whatever you do, wherever you go, always carry your scraps with you. Your scraps are a testimony that if he did it before, he'll do it again. If he did it before, he'll do it again. If he brought me through that, he'll bring me through this. If he brought me through it, he'll do it again. Hallelujah!
The battle, the boat, the battle, and the bread. I want every believer who's got some scraps, some old testimonies, some old evidence, some old signs that God did... Some of you were supposed to die as a kid, you were supposed to die in your crib, God kept you when you didn't even know Scriptures, before you ever even got baptized. God saved your life when you was in the street. Some of you, God saved you when you was drunk and you was a dope dealer and a pothead. And if God did all of that, won't he do it right now? I want you to get in your scraps. Get in your scraps. Get in your scraps. I can do it. I can do it. I can do it. I've got evidence. I've got evidence. He may not come when you want him, but I got evidence. That's why the Bible said, let the redeemed of the Lord say so. You got to say so. You got to say so. You got to say so. You got to say so. You got to say so. You got to say so. You got to say so.
Hey! Let the redeemed say so. I don't expect a liar to say so. I don't expect the nonbeliever to say so. But God said, I left you with evidence that I have always made a way, and you won't get out here and doubt me now. The boat, the battle, the bread. Look at your bread. Look at your bread. Look at your bread. Some stuff God did for you when you wasn't even saved. Some stuff God did for you when you was a baby. And you mean you won't get in this season and give up over a little wind and a little storm? We're all in the same boat. We are all in the same boat. We are all in the same boat. Lift your hands and open your mouth, and give me two minutes of the craziest praise you got. Come on! Come on! We bless you, Lord! We bless you, Lord! Hallelujah! Thank you, Jesus! Thank you for the struggle. Thank you for my battle. Thank you for my test. Thank you for my trials.