February 23rd, 2009
Focus Text: Proverbs 12: 11 (NLT)
11 A hard worker has plenty of food,
but a person who chases fantasies has no sense.
Stop Here and Reflect Before Reading Ahead
I’m a dreamer. That’s no surprise, I know. I rarely have ideas or concepts that don’t require hours of preparation coupled with divine intervention if they are to actually happen. As you’ve read before, I come by my ambitious lifestyle honestly. My parents are also hard workers . . . and dreamers as well. My beautiful wife is no stranger to her own lifestyle of overachievement, continually rising to the top at whatever university she has attended or at whatever hospital or company she has been employed with. Yeah, I’m pretty proud.
Even my little girl seems to aim high. Rolling over at five weeks old. Reading and speaking fluent English at six months . . . with my assistance and personal translation, of course. I’m confident of her brilliance.
Even the metropolitan area I live in is a beacon of hope to dreamers. Music City, USA. Nashville is the hub of the country and Christian music industries. Writers, artists, and would-be stars from all over world sell their worldly possessions and relocate to Nashville. often to live poverty-stricken existences for just the miniscule chance that someone will discover them and give them their big break.
I think that dreaming is very important. Even Biblically, God often planted huge dreams in the lives of unassuming individuals. Those dreams were always unattainable without the involvement of the Dream Giver (the title of one of my favorite books by Bruce Wilkinson.) From Joseph to Moses to Mary to Paul, the crazy call of God was always the stuff dreams are made of. It seemingly could only happen in a fantasy world.
But it did happen . . . just not as they expected it. For Joseph, years in slavery and prison paved the road to his dream being fulfilled. In the midst of those times, Joseph took the onus for his role in God’s dream. He worked hard. He remained faithful. He put his full effort into whatever was laid before him, even when the task at hand was being a good prisoner . . . even when he was falsely accused.
He didn’t let the unfairness of his situation deter him from his responsibility to be faithful to the Dream Giver, not the dream. I theorize that a true dream from God (I speak in terms of a plan or an inspired idea more than a literal nighttime mental vision) cannot be accomplished in the natural. Just like Joseph, the tapestry of life will be woven in such complicated patterns that only the eyes of the Dream Weaver will be able to look past the mess to see the work of art that will soon emerge.
For Joseph, the years of faithfulness and hard work one day landed him smack dab in the middle of his dream. Was it sudden? To the onlooker, sure. To Joseph, I doubt it. He would probably say that the dream within him was steeping in the hot water of God’s providence for years. It wouldn’t have been ready until just the time it happened. Not suddenly, but over time and through the tea bag’s (Joseph) willingness to remain in the scalding process of God’s sovereignty.
Hence this passage speaks volumes to us dreamers: “A hard worker has plenty of food, but a person who chases fantasies has no sense.” The wisdom for us is the realization that a dream doesn’t free us from hard work, rather it propels us straight into hard work. Sure, only God can make divine dreams materialize, but we must be found faithful in whatever Potiphar’s house or prison we find ourselves in.
We mustn’t be lazy and just wait for our dream to one day overtake us. It just doesn’t happen that way. Now, don’t misunderstand me. It’s easy for dreamers to make idols out of their dreams and to pursue them at any cost . . . including their faith, family, and future. Reckless abandon to one’s dream at the expense of these things can easily become idol worship.
Our dreams don’t make very good gods, but our God makes very good dreams. The wisdom then is to not “chase fantasies,” but rather to chase God and work fervently within the process where within He has placed us. Then our dreams are entrusted to the only One capable of making them happen. And when they do happen, their purposes have been refined and purified in the steaming hot pitcher of God’s process. They are pure and useful instead of selfish and entitled.
So dream away . . . just don’t stop working hard at following the Dream Giver whenever the path puts you behind bars . . . spiritually, of course. You never know what kind of refreshing concoction the Father is steeping in you through your dream.