Got to Give
November 13, 2010
Let’s pray together in all of our campuses. Remain standing in Miami, Dallas, Fort Worth, Plano, and right here in Grapevine.
Father, you’ve brought us here today for a reason and that is to do business in our lives. And I pray, Father, that we understand your heart and your passion for our lives. And I ask that our hearts would be receptive and open to what you’re going to do in them today. Right now, use my vocal cords, my voice box to communicate your truth to all of us. We ask all these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Now, while you’re being seated I want you to turn around and ask someone, “Hey, do you got the poverty mentality?” I know it’s kind of negative, but ask everybody, “Do you got the poverty mentality?”
I’m in a series called the poverty mentality. And it’s been a kind of unique pilgrimage, because we’ve been arguing around here that the poverty mentality is a mentality. It’s a spiritual issue.
Maybe this is your first time to Fellowship Church. You’re going, “Wait a minute, you’re talking about a poverty mentality. Ed, what in the world is that?” Maybe you find yourself in Miami or downtown Dallas, Fort Worth, Plano, maybe you’re watching this online, maybe you’ll watch this on television and you’re like, “What is a poverty mentality?”
The poverty mentality is simply this. It’s an attitude of ineptitude that leads to ingratitude. It’s a mentality that focuses on what we lack, not what we should leverage. In other words, I’m so into what’s missing in my life, I’m so into what I don’t have and what others have, I miss the majesty of the moment. I miss what God wants to do right now in my life.
The Bible is crystal clear. The Bible says that when we do what God says, God will bless us. In fact, for God not to bless us would be for God to go against his nature. So, he’s gonna bless us as we live the life.
However, we don’t live the life just for blessings. We don’t go, “OK, this is kind of a little game. I’m gonna do, God, what you say and BOOM! I’m gonna be blessed!”
Yes, we will get blessed, but we live for God because we’re hardwired to live for Him. The result of that is to be in the sweet spot of his success.
Whenever you have people living for God, we’re always gonna fight this mentality. We’re always gonna fight this poverty mentality. Focusing on what we lack as opposed to what we can leverage. In marriage, in your career, on the team, in the classroom, the poverty mentality, the poor boy mentality versus the More Boy or More Girl mentality.
Our God is a God of the more. The Bible says that Jesus came for us to have a life of More. I’m not talking about stuff. I’m not talking about materialism. No, no. More. Jesus said, “I want to give you an abundant life.” That’s a life overflowing. That’s a life of more. That’s getting into the flow and the current of following Jesus Christ.
So maybe, just maybe, you’re like, “OK, poor boy mentality. I’m not sure I have it. I’m not sure I’ve got the poor boy mentality.”
All of us struggle with the poor boy mentality. I do, you do. Well how do you know if you’re really into the poor boy mentality? Right about now you’re thinking, “OK, this message is for someone else. This message is for my spouse. This message is for my friend who’s not here and I’m gonna get the tape and give them this tape.”
If that’s what you’re thinking, whoa man, you probably are living in the poverty mentality.
But I wanted to help all of us who kind of go in and go out of the poverty mentality. I want to help us to see if we are poor-boying it. I have written down 10 statements that sometimes we make. And if we make these statements, that’s right, we have the poor boy mentality. Do you want to see if you live in the poverty mentality? I can tell you do! Yeah, I want to see if I’m in the poverty mentality.
#1 – “If I had grown up in that family…” If I had grown up in that family, if they had been my parents, wow, things would be different! You see we’re thinking about not what we have but what we don’t have.
#2 – “If I had that job…” If I worked for that corporation, if I had that position, things would be different.
#3 – “If I had that much time…” Girl, if I had as much time as she had I could look like that! If I had as much time as he had to work on his short game, I’m telling you I’d be right there! I’d be on the tour, man!
#4 – “If I had that talent…” You might have just thought this. If I had that talent. This young girl that sang, she’s like 16 years old! “Oh if I had her voice!” If I could run like that… If I had that strength. If I had that brain…
#5 – “If I had attended that school…” If I had gone there, I’m telling you, I’d be crazy, man!
#6 – “If I had those opportunities…” I mean, look at that dude! Things just fall right into his lap! If I had those opportunities things would be totally different!
#7 – “If I lived there…” If my daughter had been brought up in Hollywood she would be on the silver screen right now! That’s a problem. I’m living in Miami or I’m living in north Dallas. I’m telling you if we had been in Hollywood, or if I had grown up in Manhattan, or Hawaii, or wherever…
#8 – “If I had started with that much money…” I know a friend of mine, he’s a trustafarian. A trust-fund baby. He just started out with a hunk of money. No wonder he’s so successful! Or no wonder she’s this or that!
#9 – “If I had those contacts…” Yeah, man, but look at his contacts! Look who she knows! Look who their family is related to!
Now this last one, before we put it up. Do not, like, shake your head, or laugh or raise your hand. It’s highly, highly convicting. Just lock eyes with me. Act like everything is cool, OK… the tenth one…
#10 – “If I had married her…. or him.” Don’t laugh too much.
The poor boy mentality! You’re focusing on what you lack rather than what you have! You’re focusing on, oh yeah, if I was married to her or him. If I had that job, that opportunity, that education, that bank account, things would be different!
The poor boy mentality is something we all struggle with. It’s the attitude of ineptitude that leads to ingratitude. It’s focusing on what we’re missing rather than what God wants to do right now in our lives.
If you have your Bibles, turn to the book of John 12. This is a classic, classic text on the poverty mentality. The situation is this. Jesus is on his way to the cross. It’s about a week before the Passover. He’s stopping in Bethany at a friend’s house, Simon, the leper, a guy that Jesus had miraculously healed. This guy had a lot of money. His friend Lazarus was there. Lazarus, the guy that Jesus had just brought back from the grave. Martha was there, cooking. Mary was there. The disciples were there. All the Jewish people were there. Why were the Jews there? They wanted to get up close and personal with Jesus but also with Lazarus. They wanted to see this guy because the rumor mill had it that Jesus had brought this guy back from the grave. And the bloggers had been talking about it, and the Jewish people had seen some tweets or whatever. So they went to the house of Simon, the leper, to see if indeed this was true. Sure enough, it was, and they were blown away.
Well, we have, in effect, the poor boy mentality in John 12. If you ever wonder about it, if you ever think the poor boy mentality is a new thing, no, no. It’s an old thing!
Once again, the poor boy mentality once again is not a tangible thing. It’s an intangible thing. Materialism is not tangible. What? No, no, no. I ask you, what constitutes materialism? What size house? What neighborhood? What model and make of a car? What size diamond? What kind of watch? What kind of vacation destination makes you materialistic or makes me materialistic? Answer: You don’t know.
Materialism, though, begins where your income and my income ends. “Oh, she’s materialistic. She makes $1 more. He’s materialistic, he makes $1 more.” The poverty spirit, the poverty mentality is all wrapped up together. So we find here this mentality in John 12, back in the day.
Well here’s the deal. Poor boys fail to see opportunities. That’s so important. Say that with me. Poor boys fail to see opportunities. They have jacked up eyesight. They can’t really see. Let me read, John 12:1-2. “Six days before the Passover feast Jesus went to Bethany where Lazarus lived.”
(Lazarus, the dude Christ raised from the dead.) They had this party for Jesus celebrating, worshiping. I mean it was an awesome time! Martha served the food. Lazarus was one of the people eating with Jesus. So what I want you to get is this. Jesus was in the house. He was in the house. Mary saw this opportunity and here’s the situation.
People who are more boys and not poor boys take advantage of the opportunity. When they have an opportunity for Jesus they jump on the opportunity. When they have an opportunity in life they’re not worried about the opportunities others have. They’re not worried about the opportunities they’re missing or they should have had, no! They’re going, “You know what, God’s blessed me. Here’s an opportunity, I’m there!”
So when you think it, say it. When you think it, do it! That’s what Mary did. She saw an opening, she saw an opportunity, she saw a chance to worship Jesus and every time you see Mary, Mary is always at the feet of Jesus. Always, always! What a place to be, at the feet of Jesus. She worshipped him. She thought it and she did it.
Illus: A couple of weeks ago we were getting ready for church. Lisa walked out and she had on a beautiful outfit. And I thought to myself, “Man, my wife is hot! She looks great!” I thought that. I didn’t say it, but I thought it. We went to church, several people said, “Oh Lisa, you look great today.” We went out to lunch and some other people said, “Lisa, you look beautiful today.” We got home, I don’t know it was about 4:00 and I thought, “I’m gonna say it.” I said, “Lisa, you look great today!” She looked at me and she said, “You’re too late. Why did you wait so long to tell me?”
Hey guys, why are you waiting so long to tell your spouse how great she looks? Ladies, why are you waiting so long to do something unselfish for your husband? Parents, why are you waiting so long? Don’t just think it, do it! We have an opportunity for God; we have an opportunity for God, right here, at this great church. Step up and do it!
The poverty mentality, man, the poverty mentality will mess you up. You fail to see opportunities. You’re so focused on other people’s opportunities. You have this entitlement mentality, this “something for nothing” mentality that it keeps you incarcerated, it keeps you on the banks of the river watching the current flow as opposed to getting into the current and doing what God wants you to do.
Let’s see something else about the poverty mentality. Look at John 12:3-4. If you have the poverty mentality you’re always going to dam up the flow. You’re gonna dam up the flow. What did Mary do? Mary let it flow. What did Mary do? She bought some seriously expensive perfume. She brought the bottle out and Jesus was there and she poured this perfume on the feet of Jesus, anointing his feet for his burial. And this perfume, ladies, was so expensive it cost a year’s worth of wages. That’s some expensive cologne. Mary didn’t hold back. She saw the opportunity, she went for it, then she poured it out.
When we are in God’s economy, when we’re in God’s flow, when we’re in God’s currency, what are we doing? Things are coming out. Things are getting to us and through us. We’re affirming others, we’re loving others, we’re being unselfish with others, we’re in the flow. We’re in the current. The poverty mentality always dams up the flow.
Illus: My family and I live sort of on Lake Grapevine. We live back from the lake. Lake Grapevine is one of the most beautiful bodies of water in the world! People come from everywhere to see Lake Grapevine. It’s one of the few places in the world where you can enjoy a nice chicken-fried steak while you watch the white bass and gar swim around. We live back from the lake. You can see the lake in the distance but there’s a pond in the Corp of Engineer property right in front of our house. And this pond has a little creek that snakes its way into the beautiful turquoise waters of Lake Grapevine. We have lived in this house for six years.
Years ago I remember walking outside one evening and I looked at the pond and I have a hard time seeing in the evening because I have a stigmatism. And I’m like, “What is that swimming in the water?” I see this big old bucket-head of an animal swimming, kicking up a wake! You know what it was? A big old beaver. Then I saw the beaver’s wife. Two beavers. I mean these things are huge. I took a picture of one time, I don’t know where it is. But this thing was like ears pierced, goatee, some tats right there. Unbelievable! I’ve seen these two beavers year after year after year.
One time I thought they were gone. I hadn’t seen them but sure enough. These things work. They work and work and work and the poor beavers, they’re trying to dam up this little pond. And I’m thinking, they have no idea really in their little beaver brains that this giant lake is out there. But here they are trying to mess around with a little pond, with their little environment, their little deal, it’s all about them. Two big old mature beavers.
Beavers dam up the flow! Poor boys dam up the flow. Always damming up the flow and they dam up the flow and it gets all algae and amoeba everywhere and it’s just gross. It’ll make you sick.
Are you someone who dams up the flow? Are you standing on the banks and watching the current go by and always damming up the flow? That’s what Judas did.
Judas didn’t like the fact that Mary was in the flow. Mary let the perfume flow, expensive perfume. And Judas was like, “What are you doing, man? What are you doing wasting that perfume?”
Why was Judas saying that? Why was Judas Iscariot, the guy who would later betray Jesus, why was he saying that to Mary? The Bible says that he said, “Hey Mary, we could take that perfume, put it on Craig’s List, sell it, and pocket the money. And we could then give the money to the impoverished, to the poor people around the world.” Come on, Judas! What are you smoking, Judas?
Judas, don’t put your junk in my trunk. Judas was trying to get the spotlight off of himself and onto Mary. He did not care about the poor. Are you kidding me? That’s the oldest trick in the book. He just wanted everything off of his envy and his greed, and Mary reminded him of what he was not. Mary was in the flow, he was damming up the flow.
Are you damming up the flow? Are you stopping the flow? Or are you in it, are you about the current. Poor boys fail to see opportunities. They dam up the flow.
I love the last part of John 12:3 where it says, “The fragrance filled the house.”
As you think about your life, what kind of fragrance are you giving off? A fragrance of generosity? Fragrance of more boy mentality or the poor boy mentality. Because if you have the poor boy mentality and you call yourself a follower of Christ, you can give the body of Christ B.O.
The poor boy mentality is a mentality that creates diversions. That’s what I’m trying to say that Judas did. Yeah, they mess up opportunities and they dam up the flow but they create diversions.
Read John 12: 5-6. This perfume was worth an entire year’s wages. “Why, (say why with me)…. Why wasn’t it sold and the money given to the poor.”
Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? That’s the language of the poor boy. Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Add an –ine to it.. whine! Why-whine? Something for nothing. This entitlement mentality. Why? Why? Why? Those, though, who are more boys say, “Why not?” Say it with me. Why not?
And let me tell you something leaders. You better have people around you who are why-not people. Because if you’ve got a why-baby around you, you will never ever discover the placed and the zones that God wants you to go to because you’ll be surrounded by these why-people.
Judas, don’t put your junk in my trunk! Judas, who you hatin’ on, man? We want to get the spotlight off of ourselves and onto others. We create a diversion. You show me somebody that expresses their love to God and I will show you a critic. Every time you have an act of worship or an act of sacrifice, there is always a critic who will complain.
Have you seen all of this bullying going on? Have you heard about it? Have you read about it? Students being bullied all the time. Students standing up for what’s right, standing up for the Lord, being bullied, taken advantage of, and messed around?
You know, students, that means you’re doing something right. You’re gonna have haters. You’re gonna have people who will complain about you. There is always gonna be a Judas at your table. You’re gonna get betrayed. It’s part of it. You only get betrayed by people you trust. You can’t get betrayed by someone you don’t trust.
Illus: I had something crazy happen to me years ago. I’m gonna share this with you because this is just an amazing story. A friend of mine called me and he said, “Ed, God told me to give you and Lisa a brand new Suburban.” At the time Lisa and I had a bunch of younger kids. We have a bunch of kids now, four, but they were young. And I said, “Hey, thank you so much for your generosity but I don’t need a Suburban. I just bought Lisa a car. I’ve got a car, I don’t need it.” He goes, “You don’t understand. I didn’t hear an audible voice but I know God told me to give you this Suburban. Whether you like it or not the Suburban is being delivered to your office tomorrow.”
What do you do? There’s a brand new Suburban. I’m thinking to myself, we’ve got to clap. Right now! Someone just giving you a car, come on! I did not even need it. I definitely don’t deserve it. Brand new Suburban, black, beautiful car. So I thought, “OK, I will sell the car I just bought Lisa and pocket the money. That’s pretty smart, isn’t it?” Clap right now. That’s smart. Oh yeah, Ed’s gonna make some money!
Well right when that happened, this is how God works, I walked down the hall from my office to another office and someone said,
“There’s a family at Fellowship Church, pastor. They have two physically challenged kids. They need a van.” I said,
“They need a brand new van to carry their kids around in. Do you know anybody who has the money to buy them a van?” You know what my first thought was? I will tell you, I want to keep it real.
“Oh crap.” That’s what I thought. And I knew that God, again, I’ve never heard an audible voice, was leading me. “Ed, sell the car, take the money, buy the van. You and Lisa bless a family with the van.” So I knew it. I sold Lisa’s car, pocketed the money, and now, there’s always that fear of the unknown when it comes to generosity. Am I right? It’s fearful out there! Whoa! Those currents, wow. If you have the poor boy mentality fear will trump faith. If you have the more boy mentality faith will trump fear.
Well I’m getting ready to buy the van. I have it picked it out and the fear gets bigger. It turns into like Goliath. Because my accountant calls me on the phone. This was years ago. She goes, “Ed, I’m so sorry.” And those aren’t words you like to hear from your accountant. I thought you owed this much but you owe like double what I thought. So here’s what you owe.” I’m like, I can’t buy this van! I’ve got to put four kids through school. I’m not gonna do it. It would be ridiculous, crazy, stupid. And I told Lisa about it. She said,
“Ed, God told us to do it. I know it’s crazy. I know it’s a bone-chilling gift. God told us to do it. We either trust him or we don’t.” I said OK. So, we bought the van, blessed the family with the van. Our little kids were out there, they watched this take place. It was one of those unbelievable, God-ordained moments. To this day I don’t know why God allowed that to happen but it was a cool, cool deal. And the family drove the van until literally the wheels fell off of it. It was a great, great thing.
So after that happened I thought, I need to share that with Fellowship. It just happened out of the blue! It just, boom, happened! So years and years ago I was standing at Fellowship Church, share the whole story, the story I just shared with you and people were like, “Wow that’s awesome!” and I talked about generosity and the struggle that I have and that we all have. And I shared that Saturday and also Sunday.
On Tuesday I get an e-mail from someone who was at church. And I read it and it’s one of the most hateful, mean-spirited, arrogant, condescending, super-spiritual emails I have ever received in my life. It was ripping Lisa and I and our family apart for doing that and for sharing that.
Whenever, whenever you do anything or I do anything at the feet of Jesus, whenever we pour out our lives we’re gonna have a critic who will complain. That’s OK. That reminds you and me that we’re doing what God wants us to do. So just go for it!
There’s one more. Poor boys fail to see opportunity so we dam up the flow. We create diversions. Oh, man, I don’t want you to see my greed or my envy so I will just push it off on Mary. The last thing we do, the fourth thing (I could go on and on, that will be next week). Poor boys take snapshots.
Look what Jesus said in John 12:7. Jesus answered, I mean he’s coming back in Judas’ face, I mean he’s up in his grill right here. “Leave her alone! It was right for her to save this perfume for today, the day for me to be prepared for burial.”
And after this, you keep reading, you know what Judas did? Judas left, bolted, met with the religious leaders. The whole 30 pieces of silver thing and he planned the betrayal of his savior. Right after this. What was Jesus saying?
“Judas, you still don’t get it! You’ve just taken a snapshot of Mary, who has been blessed, pouring out expensive perfume on my feet, preparing for my burial. You still don’t get it!”
Illus: I have a friend of mine, he’s a phenomenal photographer, his name is Pat Ford. Pat sometimes will e-mail me these pictures. I will just scroll through them on my iPhone. Like, whoa! Wow! Look at that! How did he get that shot? I’m going on and on through these pictures. If I’m not careful I will just look at the snapshots and go, “Oh, epic picture! Oh cool! Look at that!” and I will just go on about my business. What I should think, though, is all of the time and energy and effort and expense that Pat went through just to snag that photo. I can’t base that photo just on the snapshot. I’ve got to think about the whole thing.
When I get into my poor boy mentality and when you get into your poor boy mentality, we’re just focusing on the snapshot. We’re missing the process. We’re missing the entire movie. And the enemy wants us to just lock in on the snapshot because he knows if we see the whole movie it’ll motivate us and stimulate us to leverage our blessings for greatness.
It’s time to turn into a more boy or a more girl. To speak life, truth, vision, to seize those opportunities, to go with the flow. To say, “God, I want to be real before you. And I want to see your redemptive plan you have for me.” Because when we do it we’ll be in the sweet spot of God’s success. When we do it God will bless us and we’ll discover what he has for us as we know about the glorious riches that we can tap into in Christ, Jesus, our Lord.
I don’t know about you but I needed this word today. It’s something that I struggle with and we all do. Next time (you’re gonna love this) we’re gonna talk about our words. We’re gonna talk about how we can speak words of life versus words of death. Think about your relationships, think about your career, think about your kids. Are you speaking life or death? Generosity or poverty? We’re gonna see what God says about our speech. Because as we have talked about, everything comes from the heart. Do you have the heart of Mary or Judas?
[Ed leads in closing prayer.]