I can’t tell you how many preachers/motivational speakers I’ve heard say these words, “DREAM BIG!”  Am I right? Even you, the Reader, can remember times in your life that you have heard this phrase spoken to you.  When I was in bible college I heard this phrase over and over again. “Dream big! Go make a difference in the world! Dream big!”

A year after I graduated college, my wife & I went to be Student Pastors at a church in Oklahoma. Not a small church, around maybe 400-500 people. There are people that flipped out when they heard we were going to be Student Pastors. While I was there I heard a story about an old preacher that still came and visited the church office sometimes. A friend of mine was talking to him and he started telling my friend about his life and ministry and, in lesser words, this is what he said.

He said that he had never, in his over 50 years of pastoral ministry, pastored a church larger than about 30 people.  [When I first heard this I was both surprised and, in my arrogance, thought, ‘Gosh I hope that isn’t me when I’m that age.”] He said that God had called him to heal broken and hurting churches. He would come into a church that had split or had a pastor run out on them, and he would stay there and bring emotional, spiritual and mental healing to it until another full-time pastor could come in. Then, he would move on to another church…b/c we all know churches that are in that situation.

In my time of meditation this story wouldn’t leave me. I kept playing over “fears” [and I put that in quotations to denote that they weren’t really fears] that I would end up like that man. I had always been told to “DREAM BIG!” and normally that had visions of granduer of pastoring or teaching 1000s of people! And what if I ended up like this man? Would my talents be wasted on a just a few? [Arrogant, I know]

And then it hit me…it’s not my job to dream big. In fact, it’s not my job to dream, really, at all.  It’s simply my job to obey.  This man, this servant of God, went about his life doing what God had commissioned him to do: to heal hurting people – what greater call can there be?  I couldn’t help but think that this man would be rewarded more than most. And it was in that moment I repented and asked God to simply help me obey. I asked him to help me dream HIS dream for my life. I surrendered my life to Him all over –  I had flashbacks to when I was 12 and first heard the call of God – and I felt as though He was calling me all over again. I felt…free! Free from the chains of “success.” Free from what others might expect from me. Free from what I expected from myself.

Our society looks at people with large bank accounts, large cars, large houses and large churches and says, “Wow, they’ve been successful!” But doesn’t God judge success on a much different scale? I’m not saying people with those things aren’t successful…I just simply believe that they are dreaming God’s dream for their life. In the world’s eyes, this man I’ve spoken of would not be considered successful…but in God’s eyes…?

I have friends that are pastoring small country churches, I have friends that are on staff at churches that have 1000s of people attending, I have friends that are in roles right now that are preparing them to be who they will be in the future. I find myself involved in the best work of my life helping to plant Journey Church in Denton.  It’s so easy for us to look at other people (and ourselves at times) and when they aren’t doing the things WE think they should be doing, to consider that they aren’t going to be or will be successful – when, in fact, they may be one of the most successful people in God’s eyes.

I simply want to challenge the reader, as I have been challenged…don’t dream big…dream God’s dream, and that will be enough. Learn to accept & learn obedience, learn to accept your role in this world, learn to accept who God made you to be and what He has tasked you to do. Because whether you are successful in anyone else’s eyes or not, in the end, isn’t God’s opinion the one that matters most?