|Frank Wright, Ph.D.
President & CEO
When we think of the work of the church of Jesus Christ, dreaming is not usually counted among its primary endeavors. Yet dreams often are an expression of our hopes. And we, above all others, are to be a people of hope.
The Greek philosopher Diogenes described it well when he said: “Hope is the dream of a waking man.” British poet John Keats, speaking about the hope for a better world, said: “The problems of the world cannot be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were.”
George Bernard Shaw, the British Nobel laureate, picked up on this theme and said, “Some men see things that are and ask, Why? Others dream of things that never were and ask, Why not?”
Many years later, comedian George Carlin, with his tongue planted firmly in cheek said: “Some people see things that are and ask, Why? Some people dream of things that never were and ask, Why not? Some people have to go to work and don’t have time for all that…”
Maybe you think you are too busy to dream big dreams. But if you think about the magnitude and the importance of the work we do, we cannot afford to neglect dreaming big dreams for the Kingdom of God. After all ours is the calling to preach the Gospel and make disciples of all nations. Ours is the calling to be ambassadors for Christ, representatives of the Living God.
The life of William Carey (1761-1834) is instructive. Carey was a young Baptist pastor who dreamed great dreams as the result of reading “The Last Voyage of Captain Cook.” But Carey’s dreams were not about the adventure of traveling the world and meeting new people. For him Cook’s narratives were a revelation of human need – the need for Christ.
Expressing a powerful conviction Carey said: “If it be the duty of all men to believe the Gospel . . . then it be the duty of those who are entrusted with the Gospel to endeavor to make it known among all nations.”
Carey, however, lived in a day when there were no missionary societies and little real missionary interest. When he proposed the idea of a missionary society at a ministers meeting, one prominent pastor scolded him: “Young man, sit down. When God pleases to convert the heathen, He will do it without your aid or mine.”
Yet William Carey was nothing if not persistent. He continued to argue that the command given to the Apostles to teach the Gospel to all nations was obligatory for all who followed in their stead. At the Northampton Baptist Association convention in May of 1792, William Carey spoke on Isaiah 54, with the theme: Enlarge the place of thy tent. He went on to once again urge his fellow ministers to begin a missionary society for spreading the Gospel. He concluded with a memorable exhortation that still speaks to us today: "Brothers! Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God!"