Untapped Potential March 8, 2017
For many years I kept a special file folder in an office cabinet. It was my “dream folder.” This file wasn’t for my dreams, but for the ideas of others. People would stop by my office and excitedly tell me about their vision to plant a new church, or start a ministry to addicts, or to construct a retreat center. They would present me with a document filled with demographic studies, pie charts, a philosophy of ministry, and a mission statement. They would excitedly describe how their project would be unlike anything that had been attempted before and how it would meet enormous needs in society. I kept all of those documents in my dream file. After a while, I received so many documents that I had to start a second file.
Many years later, I was moving from Canada to South Carolina. As the movers were charging me by the pound, I decided to jettison as much unnecessary weight as possible. I came upon my dream files. It occurred to me that there was no reason to pay to move dreams that had never become a reality. So I began sifting through each document. Those that were never realized or that no longer existed were consigned to the garbage. Before long, my modest office garbage bin was overflowing and I had to obtain a large plastic bag. As I lugged the mass of discarded dreams to the trash bin, I couldn’t help but wonder how the world, and God’s kingdom, would have been enhanced and improved if only people had seen their dreams become a reality. Sadly, history is filled with great ideas, noble endeavors, and creative ministries that never achieved their intended purpose. Too many dreams die an ignoble death.
Nine disciples were once left behind in an obscure village. They had not been selected to accompany the Messiah to the Mount of Transfiguration. Perhaps their pride was wounded. They may have felt that their assignment to minister to the villagers was less significant than what was apportioned to Peter, James, and John. Nonetheless, they were tasked with bringing Good News, healing, and freedom to the villagers. That day a man brought his son who suffered from an evil spirit to the disciples. None of the disciples were able to set the boy free, despite the pleading of the boy’s father. Eventually the disciples gave up. When we give up on tasks, we reveal our beliefs about God’s power. The disciples concluded that nothing could be done for the boy.
When Jesus learned of their failure, he declared: “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you?” (Matt. 17:17). Jesus then proceeded to set the boy free. Later, the disciples approached Jesus privately and asked why they had failed. Jesus replied, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting” (Matt. 17:20-21).
Jesus was saying the task they viewed as hopeless had indeed been possible! Sure, they might have needed to fast and pray, but they gave up too soon. They walked away from a miracle.
God’s people can’t afford to walk away from any miracles! The world needs to see God’s powerful reality. The world needs to see more than well-intentioned Christians giving up when things don’t go as planned, just like unbelievers do. They need to see God accomplishing what only He can do in and through the Church. Just imagine what the Church and the world would be like today if every person had seen their God-given dream become a reality.
Has God granted you a vision of what He wants to do through you, your family, your church, or your business? Do you truly believe He can? Are you living as if you believe it? Are you praying? Fasting? Are you staying with your heavenly vision until it becomes a reality?
Imagine how people will be blessed if you see your God-given dream come to fruition. Consider the advances it will bring to God’s kingdom. Contemplate the glory it will bring to your Lord.
Don’t tell God that something He told you to do is impossible. Never grow weary in pursuing the dream. Don’t listen to naysayers and neglect God’s still small voice urging you not to give up. And always remember this: it will cost other people dearly for you to surrender your dream.
So find the mountain God wants you to move for your generation, and stay with it until it moves! Don’t waste the preparation, resources, and power God has made available to you. Don’t waste your God-given potential to make a difference in your world.