Both my children studied in England. They sent for a bulletin and the pertinent forms, and then got busy preparing their application. They needed references, transcripts, written essays, medical records, citizenship papers and a host of other paperwork in order to be considered. Once all the forms were filled out, sent off and their applications accepted, a whole new series of forms and paperwork had to be obtained, filled in and sent to the appropriate institutions. Student loan forms, dorm room preferences, plane tickets, travel passes, student discount cards, and transportation from the airport to the school all had to be arranged and verified. There was packing, a list of last minute items that needed purchased, British pounds to be picked up at the bank, British bank cards approved and student visa forms secured and approved before they could finally fly off for London.
Many of us have visions for our lives. We see where it is that we want to end up but we don’t know how to get from the dreams to the reality of making our dreams come true. We don’t grasp that to get from A to G there are many steps in between. In any journey we have to start by having a goal and then doing the things that are doable right now that can move us along the journey. Someone put it something like this, you need to do the things that are doable today so that you can do the things tomorrow that can’t done today. Life is a series of steps and we walk along our journey step by step.
Paul wrote, “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may accomplish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” Acts 20:24 Paul understood God’s vision for his life and his only wish was to “accomplish my course and ministry.” But to become the minister that he became Paul had to take steps because it didn’t happen all at once. The secret for Paul’s success is found in verse 22, “And now behold, I am going to Jerusalem, bound in the Spirit, not knowing what shall befall me there.” Paul was led, bound, prompted, and compelled by the Spirit to become the preacher that he became. Do you ever feel that way about things in your life? You just know you were put on this earth to do something great, and you feel compelled to accomplish it, but fear of the unknown holds you back.
The last two weeks Ruth and I have hosted three piano instructors at our home. They are in our town teaching Master Classes as well as judging a Piano Competition. One man is from Israel now teaching in New York, one is from Winnipeg now teaching in Korea and the third is from Taiwan now teaching in the United States. They all had a dream as children that they could spend their lives playing the piano and each of them has accomplished that dream because they each had a vision and then began step by step to reach their goal. Notice in verse 22 Paul says “not knowing what shall befall me there,” but he started out anyway because it was part of God’s plan for his life.
You and I are going to end up somewhere in life and it might as well be by design as by accident. Too many of us let life happen instead of making life happen. You may want to lose weight, to find a better job, or totally change careers. Maybe you want to get out of debt, or develop a closer and deeper relationship with your family and God. If those are your goals take the first steps. What is it you can do right now to make any of those dreams come true? If you will take the first step, God will reveal the second step and then the third step. Remember God promised Abram that he would be the father of a great nation and Abram believed God, even though he had no children at the time, and that faith was accounted to him as righteousness. You and I walk by faith, but we have to walk.
When my children went away to school, we started with step one and worked through the dozens of steps that had to be taken in order to make their dreams a reality. Start by finding a nice comfortable chair and ask yourself what you really want out of life (big cars and houses don’t count) then decide what steps you would have to take to make it happen. What are the things that are doable right now that could move you towards your vision? Now take the time to pray about it and ask God if your dream is his will. If you feel compelled by the Spirit then follow your vision, step out in faith, face the difficulties and see it through to the end. Like Paul you will be able to say, “if only I may accomplish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus.” One last thing, remember, you are never too old to follow God’s vision for your life. God working through Paul changed the world; God working through you can change your life, your family, your neighborhood, or your city. Let loose that vision inside of you, take the first step and take the walk of a lifetime.