What is in a dream? As a child, living in San Francisco, with all the beautiful buildings around me, I always dreamed to be an architect. I wanted to be able to design and build my mother a home of her own, instead of the little apartment we lived in for about a third of a century. I never obtained my “dream” job.
Although I still think it would be a rewarding career, and there is a sting of regret because I did not give my mother that home, I am far more honored, enriched, and pleased to preach the loving Gospel of Jesus Christ. Still, what happened to my dream?
Why My Dream Fizzled
I dreamed a reasonable dream. But I did not understand the realistic expectations of obtaining my dream. A fantasy is something that we imagine with joy, but the event will never happen. No matter how much we imagine the future to be, it is pure fantasy to think it will happen by accident. I did not invest time and energy.
I dreamed an accessible dream. But I failed to lay a foundation to gain access to the training I needed to be an architect. I was truant par excellence, being a freshman for three years. I did not train myself to received education, and the educational process was the way to gain access to becoming an architect.
I dreamed a heartfelt dream. But I gave no follow through to my dreams. I wanted to be an architect, but I did not give adequate attention to the mathematical sciences governing design and construction. How could I function as an architect, if I avoided learning the basic principles which govern that profession? I would be a complete disaster as an architect, and no building of mine would be built to last.
Keep Moving Forward
The thing about unrealized dreams is that there are always new ones on the horizon. The important thing is not to remain complacent, or be overcome with failure. We must keep moving forward to new dreams and new aspirations.
At the end of Pixar’s Meet the Robinsons (2007), Walt Disney has been quoted as saying:
This was the philosophy which Disney brought to his movie company, and can even be seen in the song he commissioned, “When You Wish Upon A Star” of Pinocchio (1940).
The Lord’s Dream for the Church
The church is not a movie company, but the Christians who make up the church bring beliefs as to how the church should function. It is highly important to remember that the Lord has told us how the church should function in this world. It is His church (Matt. 16.18; Acts 20.28). And, the Lord is the “head” of the body, the church (Eph. 1.22-23; Col. 1.18). Therefore, we must obey His will (Luke 6.44).
The Lord has commissioned his disciples to go into the world with the Gospel and make disciples (Matt. 28.19-20; Mark 16.15-16; Luke 24.44-49). From this we understand that we must be active in this world, we have a message, and we have a responsibility. In the sharing of the Gospel, we are sharing the truth of our origin and in our need of redemption, and ultimately of the love of our Creator (1 Tim. 3.15).
How shall we be actively sharing the loving message of the Gospel to the world? This is the question before us. Guided by the explicit teaching of Scripture, we may dream of simple or creative ways to practice the principles of “true religion” (Jas. 1.27). So the question is not about what we can envision for the work of the congregation, but will we find a place to fit into the work of the church?
We may dream reasonable dreams for the work and life of the congregation. But, will we understand that the church will only grow spiritually if we grow spiritually? Consequently, we must put our hearts into building up the local work (2 Cor. 8.5). Ironically, brethren put trivialities as priorities over the needs of the Lord’s church (cf. Matt 6.21), and then they wonder why activities are attended so poorly.
We may dream accessible dreams for work and life of the congregation. But, will we lay the right foundation in our lives in order to build the congregation we know God can make of us? Will we take our families to the all the services of the local congregation? Will we be at activities to create the atmosphere needed to be that “dwelling” place for God (Eph. 2.21-22)?
We may dream heartfelt dreams for the work and life of the congregation. But, if we have no follow-through then what good are our dreams for the congregation. Solomon once wrote:
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going. (Eccl. 9.10)
We must not believe, that the congregation will be what it ought to be, if we fail to be a part of the work. Instead, we must be the dream makers in the church, taking principle and turning it into action.