Summary: Are you an old man with just dreams or a young man with vision?
Let’s begin today by looking at
Acts 2:17 ‘In the last days,’ God says,
‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy.
Your young men will see visions,
and your old men will dream dreams."
As I look around this room I realize that I am qualified to be characterized as an old man. In fact I believe I am the oldest person here. And I must admit that this verse to me can be quite somber.
Now I will also admit that I am taking liberty with this verse by taking it out of context but a lot can be said about something being a vision or just a dream.
When I was a teenager I had visions for my life. I desired to write a book. I was serious enough to take a course in high school entitled “Comparative Literature” designed to help me write that great American novel. In fact I started writing more than one book and completed none. I also took voice lessons, learning to read music and sing A cappella. I dreamed of perhaps having a music career. Now I can’t sing my way “out of a barrel” as the saying goes.
I find myself in the final stages of my life looking back on dreams. But I also see so many young people with their visions still intact, so today I want to offer a word of encouragement to them.
So what is the difference between a “dreamer” and a “visionary”?
Motivational speaker Larry Hendricks summed it up this way,
“I think the difference comes down to a word, ACTION. A visionary acts, and a dreamer dreams. A visionary does, and a dreamer does not. A visionary says it can be done, a dreamer say it is impossible. A visionary can’t wait to get up and get started, a dreamer goes back to sleep.”
The word “vision” in the Bible means a revelation. Acts 2 says the young people will have revelations about their future through the Holy Spirit. No other animal on Earth has the ability to have a vision for their life. Animals react to surrounding influences. Man has the ability to change their surrounding influences.
Basketball superstar Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. However, he didn’t give up. His philosophy: “I play to win. The day I stop improving is the day I walk away from the game.” He didn’t just have a dream, he had a vision. He committed to shooting 300 baskets a day, and his vision became a reality.
• Winston Churchill failed the sixth grade, but became Prime Minister of England.
• When Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, he tried over 2,000 experiments before he got it to work. A young report asked him how it felt to fail so many times. He said, “I never failed once. I invented the light bulb. It just happened to be a 2,000 step process.”
These were men with vision that refused to be de-railed by surrounding influences.
A young woman brings home her fiancé to meet her parents. After dinner, her mother tells her father to find out more about the young man. The father invites the fiancé into his study. "So what are your plans?" the father asks the young man.
"I am a Bible scholar," he replies.
"A Bible scholar. Hmm," the father says. "Admirable, but what will you do to provide a nice house for my daughter to live in as she’s accustomed to?"
"I will study," the young man replies, "and God will provide for us."
"And how will you buy her a beautiful engagement ring such as she deserves?" asks the father.
"I will concentrate on my studies," the young man replies, "and God will provide for us."
"And children?" asks the father. "How will you support children?"
"Don’t worry, sir, God will provide," replies the fiancé.
The conversation precedes like this, and each time the father questions, the young idealist insists that God will provide. Later the mother asks, "How did it go, honey?" The father answers, "He has no job and no plans, but the good news is he thinks I’m God." This young man had the right dream of pursuing the ministry but he did not have the necessary vision on how to get there.
John Maxwell wrote a book titled Put Your Dream to the Test. He listed 10 important questions to ask yourself about your vision. I want you to write your vision down on your bulletin.
Now let’ answer these 10 questions.
1) The Ownership Question: Is this vision really my vision?
Is this something I want or am I just going along for the ride?
2) The Clarity Question: Do I clearly see my vision?