3 Biblical Ways to Dream Big
You know, as though all ambition was self-centered and God-dishonoring in it’s motivation. Ambition reminded me of the Televangelists who preach about dreaming your island house into existence, and after seeing them slice-and-dice Scriptures out of context for the silliest things (it happens that manufacturing a Bugatti Veyron out of thin air through my “faith” is unlikely) I began throwing away ALL forms of hoping and dreaming. Even the good ones.
I have changed my mind about ambition in the past year as I’ve been traversing through some Biblical accounts of big “dreamers.” There are the obvious ones like Joseph, who dreamt that he would go from slavery to the office of a national executive, or John who was given visions of the future.
Many of these popular biblical accounts are objective dreams in which God reveals something to His people. I still believe this happens. But the dreaming I’m talking about is subjective, in which God simply gives us the capacity to desire, feel, or crave bigger things for His glory and the good of others. The Apostle Paul comes to mind.
Paul was a dreamer…
My ambition has always been to preach the Good News where the name of Christ has never been heard, rather than where a church has already been started by someone else. I have been following the plan spoken of in the Scriptures, where it says, “Those who have never been told about him will see, and those who have never heard of him will understand” Romans 15:20-22 (NLT, italics mine)
Three things I’ve noticed in Paul:
- Paul was first meditating on the Word of God as the starting point for his huge aspirations. He says, “I have been following the plan spoken of in the Scriptures” (v21). He also teaches us to transform the way we think by renewing our minds in the Scriptures (Rom. 12:2).
- Paul starts to let his renewed imagination run wild after being immersed in the objective, revealed word of God! His dream was to pioneer a gospel-centered apostolic movement, by going everywhere in the world that did not yet hear about Christ (v20)
- He never made it to every spot in the world (for example, Spain). But he got farther than if he just sat in his living room all day. The point is, we should be willing to risk failure in order to chase after bigger things. Let’s be honest: we will fail along the way. But if Jesus has already performed perfectly on our behalf before the Father, we can live free from the fear of failure, and liberated to attempt great things.
My wife, Brianna, uses a clever limerick to describe this: “Reach for the moon, and if you don’t get there, you can at least grab some stars on the way down.”
The prophet Joel tells us something similar,
It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions. (Joel 2:28, NASB)