Have you ever imagined how an idea, invention or innovation of yours might improve something or someone, increase productivity, and/or inspire you and/or others to greater things? What ever happened to those dreams? Did they come to fruition or did they get inadvertently set aside and forgotten about or simply dismissed and left to wither and die?
When we live out our calling to serve God and His people, we are commissioned to not only be His ambassadors (2 Cor. 5:20) but His image bearers, worshippers, and world changers. Jesus clearly taught that the Father desires us to be maximally fruitful (John 15) as we strive to live for Him and disciple others for the Kingdom. And as inventive and innovative as Jesus was by revolutionizing and redeeming the world, He had just challenged the disciples to aspire to even greater things than He accomplished (John 14:12)! So what does that look like and how do we go about it? How do we dream that largely?
No great or lasting contribution to humankind or to God’s service happens by accident–without plan or purpose or without effort and exertion. Yet we are rarely, if ever, taught how to be intentional, strategic and purposeful about how to become all God intends and designed us to be. What are your gifts? What do you believe God would have you do for the Kingdom if you weren’t afraid of failure, sacrifice and/or the investment of time, money and energy necessary for success?
I believe the Creator created His creatures to be creative. Furthermore, I believe God has uniquely blessed and gifted each of His people with amazing and awesome potentials. Yet no Olympic gold medals are won by merely sitting on the sofa and watching; much sweat, soreness and sacrifice is invested in the attainment of anything worthwhile in life.
I want to challenge you today to prayerfully consider what dreams you have been given by the Lord which will not only bless and benefit you but others and will ultimately bring glory to Him. We are to be managers of His resources and are accountable as to how we use them. What follows is a brief, simple formula which many have found useful to actualize and accomplish their vision: spelled out by the acronym “DREAM:”
- Dedicate yourself completely to God. It’s only human for our own ego, pride, flesh, ambition and agenda to be involved in the inception much less production of any dream. Make sure you can fully and freely pray the Gethsemane prayer (“not what I want, but what you want”) to make sure you are accomplishing God’s will and not just your own. A wise person once wisely wondered how much can be accomplished for the Kingdom as long as no one cares about who gets the credit!
- Remember God can do anything. Our human limitations are endemic to our nature. But not to God’s. He is the transcendent, omnipotent, unchanging, almighty miracle worker who created the cosmos by the powerful proclamation of His Word. Our feelings of inferiority, inadequacy and incompetence lead to many of our fears of failure along with our all too frequent individual and collective passivity, reluctance and ultimate disobedience to the work He has called us do.
- Evaluate yourself objectively before God. All of us are fallen, flawed and feeble in many ways. And none of us can ever be fully aware of all of our blind spots. After we prayerfully contemplate our motives, goals and intentions, we need to listen to His still, small voice as well as submit ourselves to receive helpful feedback from trusted, safe, neutral and nonpartisan others.
- Associate with people supportive of your dream. One of the many reasons for the necessity of the Body of Christ is for support and encouragement of its members. Surround yourself with people who speak life and health into you and your dream.
- Make it happen. At the end of the day, making a dream materialize must move beyond inspiration and incubation to perspiration. As we all know, if we want to walk on water, we have to step out of the boat. An old adage says we are to work as if it all depends upon us and pray as if it all depends upon God. If it is God’s desire for our dream to become reality, then after we have done we can do, we need to be patient and pray for His perfect timing and application.
So…dare to dream! And dare to dream big. God and His universe are big. Remember the Apostle Paul’s prayer for us as believers: “Now to Him who is able to carry out His purpose and do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes or dreams, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen” (Eph. 3: 20-21, Amplified, emphasis added).
Don’t waste your life, your gifts, and your impact. Aspire to inspire before you expire!
Dr. Jared Pingleton