We all want to rise higher and accomplish dreams, but as long as we’re only focused on ourselves, we’ll be stuck. God brings people and opportunities across our path so we can be a blessing. It might mean bringing an elderly neighbor food each week, or cleaning up a mess that you didn’t make, or mentoring a young man who doesn’t have a father. When you serve others, God releases a new level of favor to take you higher. We think we have to work our way to the top, but the truth is that you serve your way to the top. The Scripture says, “After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before” (Job 42:10). If Job had stayed focused on himself and all he’d gone through, he would have stayed where he was. Something powerful happens when you are good to somebody else.
When I was growing up, Mr. Davis was a gentleman in his eighties who had attended Lakewood since before I was born. He was kind and friendly, so good-natured. Everyone loved him. I was driving home from church one afternoon and noticed his car was pulled over to the side of the street. Thinking he might have a flat tire, I stopped and said, “Brother Davis, do you need some help?” He said, “No, Joel. I noticed this street sign is so covered with vines that drivers can hardly read it. So I brought my trimmers, a garden hoe, and big plastic bags.” For the next two hours, he worked cleaning up the sign and everything around it.
That made such an impression on me. Brother Davis didn’t have to do that, but he lived to serve. Maybe that’s why he was always so happy and lived a long healthy life. I’ve never met anyone more full of joy than him. When you focus on not just accomplishing your dreams but on serving others, you’re going to have more joy and be more fulfilled. The reason some people are not happy is all they think about is their dreams, their problems, their family. I say this respectfully: you need to take a break from you. It’s not healthy to have you on your mind all the time.
Isaiah 58:7–8 says that when you feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and help those in need, “your light will break forth like the dawn and your health will quickly come.” Too often we’re waiting for the light to break forth—the promotion, the healing, the new level—but we’ve not served anyone. When you make it your business to serve, you’re going to see breakthroughs, promotion, and doors open that you couldn’t open.