The Power of a Dream
Part two of Joseph’s story (Genesis 37: 18-35) continued at both campuses. A seventeen- year-old Joseph had a dream of greatness which he articulated to his parents and siblings very poorly. Their reaction was worse, allowing unchecked jealousy to develop into hatred and evil plans. Eventually a plot to kill was overruled by a plan to sell Joseph into slavery.
Pastor Jeff spent time explaining the nature of a God inspired dream; how that dream can be turned into a vision and then an action plan. He stated that Joseph’s story proves that “you are never too young to have a God inspired dream.” He also warned that no matter how noble, dream detractors will be present. Some will try to divert you; others will try to stop your dream by any means. In this age of social media those hurts can be instant, very damaging and universal.
What is your dream? Who may try to stop you? Will you submit or overcome? Will you be able to forgive your nemesis?
I was an only child, but one of the oldest on my block in Clifton, NJ. To have playmates I had to adopt the role of teacher/big brother to the younger ones. For many years I was leader of my own pack which was great for a frail, elementary ego. I saw the merit in teaching and passing knowledge. I pray my career choice to become a science teacher was directed by the Holy Spirit.
My father tried every power he could muster to get me to change my mind. “Teaching wasn’t for real men. Science teaching was a waste of your talents; industry was where you belong.” He even went as far as getting me a job in a chemical research lab for my summers in college. This he hoped would divert my teaching aspiration. It almost worked, except for one girl.
She sat in the corner seat of the last row in Radnor HS. My cooperating teacher warned me how shy and frail she was and “to never” call upon her. She told me I had too many challenges as a young teacher to worry about the unreachable. She reminded me of the littlest kids on my block who were afraid to play games until we kept trying and trying to get them involved. As they aged, some of them became more skilled than their teachers.
My last day of student teaching the girl handed me a note from her mother inviting me to dinner. At the meal her parents told me that my influence made the difference, and their daughter had reversed her negativity towards school. She was going to pursue a college degree.
Armed with the confidence that I could make a difference, I returned home upon graduation and announced that I was going to pursue a teaching career even though my father’s corporate arrangement would have started me at three times the salary. That was the beginning of the end of our relationship. That fracture ultimately cost both of us a family connection during my marriage and development of his three grandchildren.
Now the hardest admission. He never forgave me. It took me the longest time to understand him let alone forgive him. Can’t even confess that I did, although I did feel tremendous sorrow for him. Whether it was jealousy or stubbornness, just like Pastor Jeff predicted, my father allowed his feelings to become a cancer between us. Without forgiveness that cancer ate away at us for decades.
In the end I had a 41-year career and taught roughly 4000 students. I’ve been with my wife for 45 years. Our three children are unique blessings in this world. All of this would have never existed had I not acted on my dream to teach. I have no regrets. My life has been blessed.
Joseph had many more trials in his path which we’ll hear about during this series. Yet if your dream is God inspired (not about you.... involving others and advancing the Kingdom) then whatever price you must pay is worth it. Do not be afraid.
Go boldly to turn your dream into a vision. Bring others along to assist you. Follow examples like Dr. Martin Luther King, Dr. Bruce Main, Mother Theresa or our local visionaries, Lead Pastor Jeff Bills and Pastor Rick Court.
Forgive your detractors but don’t let them stop you from Kingdom work. Together we all succeed.