The local authority I worked for a little while back found itself at the very bottom of the league table in terms of housing, welfare, health, and standards of every description. That was the bad news. The good news was that the government gave them a pot of money to try and improve things. What they chose to spend it on was not housing, welfare, health and so on, but a course. All the public sector workers got an opportunity, and I went on it. And I have to say, it was life-changing. It was designed to help us dream dreams, see the potential, get out of our ruts and go for the bigger picture. I’m not sure how much good it did for the local authority as a whole, but it certainly changed how I looked at life. And although it was a secular course, I think maybe even this blog is an outworking of those concepts in me.
Back to Joseph in Genesis 37:5-11. He was dreaming dreams; and he was even learning to interpret them. Very godly! But the results were far from desirable. All he did was alienate his family. What was going on?
Well, obviously Joseph was learning, by the negative reactions, how not to win friends and influence people. His ‘people skills’ certainly were in the early stages of development, but developing they definitely were. And God was at work. He was taking this callow youth, and showing him the bigger picture. He was helping him to see that life would not always be about looking after sheep and running home telling tales about his big brothers.
It’s very easy for us to accept what life brings along, to go with the flow. We maybe get a vision of one step up – either at work, or at church, or some other society. But probably very few of us achieve all that we could. Most of us don’t expect to get to the top of our particular tree. We don’t tend to see ‘go getting’ as a very desirable or godly attitude. But Jesus sends us to ‘go get’ people to fill heaven. How is that going to happen unless we catch hold of the bigger picture, and start seeing our potential in real terms? We see ourselves as cogs in the wheel – little people who just get on with the humdrum stuff of life. St Paul knew that the power of God within us could achieve ‘immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine’. (Ephesians 3:20)
Isn’t it time we started asking? Isn’t it time we started imagining? I dare you to ask God for a new dream!