A friend was called as minister of a downtown church in a major city of another state last June. In determining the long-range planning for his church, he surveyed his leadership through a questionnaire.
Among the questions asked were, “What are your dreams for the church?”
The answers, without the names of the authors, were printed for distribution to the congregation.
One of the responders answered the question, “What are your dreams,” by writing, “I have no dreams.” I felt this to be among the most pathetic statements I have ever read.
When a person looks at the future and has no dreams, he may still eat, breathe and move about, but he is dead. “Where there are no dreams the people perish.”
Dreams are the mystic threads from which the future is woven. They focus on what yet might be, and give impetus toward the fulfillment of visions.
Dreams begin early in life and change as life progresses. Some are fulfilled as dream becomes reality.
Some are discarded as understanding grows and priorities are reordered. Some are unattainable but hang like guiding stars to give direction.
We come this week to the beginning of a New Year. Traditionally it is a time when we examine life and make resolutions. For most of us resolutions are short-lived. They usually have two components – a guilty conscience and a half-committed will.
I would suggest a different approach. On January 1, instead of making resolutions, let us take time to dream our dreams.
As I survey the past year, there is much of which I am not proud.
Too often the focus has been self rather than others, on recognition rather than serving, on expediency rather than righteousness. My motives have been not so much bad as mixed.
For the New Year I dream that my life would be purer, more serving, more filled with love.
In much of the world I see strife, division, wounds. Nations war, self-interest groups contend, families bicker, prejudice divides, and there is conflict within the heart.
For the New Year I dream of peace. I dream that I may have peace, share peace, and be used as an instrument of peace.
These, of course, are only part of my dreams. There are things that must be reserved for the inner recesses of the individual heart.
It is enough, however, for you to understand the drift of my meaning.
What are some things that you have considered among your resolutions this year?
Would they include breaking some habit, controlling the temper, taking up needed physical or spiritual disciplines, improving relationships, reordering priorities?
The problem with resolutions is that they usually relate to specific changes in action. Dreams relate to changing of the inner person.
Resolutions deal with the volition only, while dreams involve mind, conscience, will, and heart.
You will come closer to fulfilling your dreams than you will to keeping your resolutions.
Rev. Dr. Fred Andrea is Aiken’s First Baptist Church’s pastor.
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