On 05, Jan 2017 | In Laity | By Mitch
Forget the New Year’s resolutions. What are your dreams for 2017?
11 He came to a certain place and stayed there for the night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place. 12 And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, the top of it reaching to heaven; and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13 And the Lord stood beside him and said, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring; 14 and your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you and in your offspring. 15 Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” 16 Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place—and I did not know it!” – Genesis 28:11-16 (NRSV)
In Jacob’s dream, a ladder was set up that extended from earth to heaven. Angels were ascending and descending on the ladder. More than just a dream, this gave Jacob a vision that his life was intended for something greater than he imagined – something God envisioned for his life.
In the dream, angels, God’s messengers, were ascending up to God. But, angels were also descending down from heaven. Like a biblical email system, the angels delivered messages even as God speaks directly to Jacob. Jacob has unexpectedly found a God-sized vision in his life, “the Lord is in this place – and I did not know it!” (verse 16).
We must dream big dreams because we worship an awesome God. Jacob’s dream teaches us that God has dreams for us, we must pay attention to recognize them. “Surely, the Lord is in this place.”
Do you find joy being part of ministry that is larger than yourself? As lay servants, we often busy ourselves with programs, events and training, ministries that are easy to scale to a size we can handle. Why not ask, “What does it take to serve the vision of God?” Are we not God’s ambassadors and agents to carry out dreams and visions? I expect the new year to bring new dreams that reveal some snippet of God’s vision for our ministries. And, I expect it to be bigger than our own self-determined plans. Where is the greater joy, in fulfilling our plans or fulfilling the vision of God?
I met a soldier who was assigned duty in Bosnia as part of the Operation Joint Endeavor – a peace keeping force. Despite the separation from family and harsh living conditions, he expressed tremendous satisfaction with his time in Bosnia. He was involved in peacekeeping operations bigger than he could accomplish on his own. He found joy doing something bigger than himself. We, too, must aim for ministries greater than ourselves.
Suggested to do list:
- Write down ministry dreams for 2017.
- Pray that we seize God-sized visions and dreams.
- Dream big in 2017!
“Attempt great things for God. Expect great things from God.” – William Carey’s motto on a hanging in St. James Church, Paulerspury, Northamptonshire.