Dream The Impossible Dream
With the coming of the new year, you will hear a lot of people and the media talking about resolutions. There are many who resolve, who determine, who commit themselves to improve some area of their lives. Most fail, often by the end of this first month.
I don’t really make resolutions, although I probably go through something similar on a daily basis as I try to be everything Christ wants me to be. Instead, I find the beginning of a new year to be a natural time to dream of what the next 12 months might bring as I partner with God.
In The Heart of a Great Pastor, Neil Wiseman and I wrote, “Dreams are the raw materials of adventure and achievement. They stir people’s blood and make them believe that they can move mountains.”
Martin Luther King Jr.’s stirring “I Have a Dream” speech impacted human rights around the world. Irish dramatist George Bernard Shaw’s visionary words still inspire the masses whenever they are quoted: “Some men see things as they are and say, ‘Why?’ I dream things that never were and say, ‘Why not?’” Senator Ted Kennedy used those words in his eulogy to his slain brother Bobby. I have never forgotten them.
Think of some of the more famous dreamers from our distant and recent past. One list I found on the Internet includes some of the top entrepreneurs of our time who changed the world of business. It includes Steve Jobs (Apple), Bill Gates (Microsoft), Fred Smith (Federal Express), Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Google), Howard Schultz (Starbucks), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), John Mackey (Whole Foods), and Sam Walton (Wal-Mart).
On another site, some additional dreamers were listed: Walt Disney, Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King Jr., George Washington, Nelson Mandela, Jim Henson, William Shakespeare, Abraham Lincoln, Ben Carson, Mark Twain, Aristotle, Thomas Jefferson, Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Winston Churchill, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington Carver, and Ralph Waldo Emerson.
And, of course, there are thousands of quotes from famous and lesser known people describing the importance of dreaming. Here are a few:
“All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake up in the day to find it was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.”
— T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph
“My own heroes are the dreamers, those men and women who tried to make the world a better place than when they found it, whether in small ways or great ones. Some succeeded, some failed, most had mixed results, … but it is the effort that’s heroic, as I see it. Win or lose, I admire those who fight the good fight.”
— George R.R. Martin, author of the Game of Thrones series
“Without dreamers, no dream would ever be given reality, and we would live in a very small and shallow world. … If you are a secret dreamer, it’s your time to announce yourself.”
— Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration
“Not much happens without a dream. And for something great to happen, there must be a great dream. Behind every great achievement is a dreamer of great dreams. Much more than a dreamer is required to bring it to reality; but the dream must be there first.”
— Robert K. Greenleaf, Servant As Leader
“Dreamers don’t fear change, challenge, commitment, and responsibility.”
— Euginia Herlihy, author of The Experiences of Life & Prayers
“Dreams have only one owner at a time. That’s why dreamers are lonely.”
— Erma Bombeck, author and syndicated columnist
“To all the other dreamers out there, don’t ever stop or let the world’s negativity disenchant you or your spirit. If you surround yourself with love and the right people, anything is possible.”
— Adam Green, American film director
“We grow great by dreams. All big men are dreamers. They see things in the soft haze of a spring day or in the red fire of a long winter’s evening. Some of us let these great dreams die, but others nourish and protect them; nurse them through bad days till they bring them to the sunshine and light which comes always to those who sincerely hope that their dreams will come true.”
— Woodrow T. Wilson, 28th President of the United States
“All successful people — men and women — are big dreamers. They imagine what their future could be, ideal in every respect, and then they work every day toward their distant vision, that goal or purpose.”
— Brian Tracy, American television host
Joe Darion’s lyrics from “Man of La Mancha” move us deeply and have added vitality to many sermons:
To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go
I know that this seems to be overkill, but I want you to understand how important it is for you to dream. To stay in the fight, every pastor needs dreams for the congregation he serves. Sadly, this is not always the case. “My dream is dead; I can’t go on. Our church services feel like we are tossing prayers into a wishing well. Worship is empty.” Those despairing comments in a letter from a conscientious Midwest pastor are too common.
It’s alarming how many dreamers are reducing their kingdom commitments at a time when dreams and dreamers are needed most. The dreams Christ gives us for our lives and for our ministries can’t be allowed to die. Something must be done to revive them quickly.
Think of the possibilities. Think of the needs. Dream on, my colleague! Throughout this new year, dream on!
“In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. … Your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams” (Acts 2:17).