Dreams can be conceptual, teaching us a specific lesson, or they can be prophetic, a promise of what is yet to come. I dreamed last night that one of my stepsons asked about coming to Christ. He inquired if simply being a good person could get one into Heaven? Of course, the answer is “No”.
Imagine you are the coach of a youth baseball team (an analogy my stepson would identify with.) At the beginning of the season you told the kids that if they each played well they would go to the ultimate tournament in a great location, a trip every player was hungry to take. No one wanted to miss such an unparalleled opportunity.
The deal was, each player had to make a real commitment to practice, to improve, and to stay focused on the coach.
At the end of the season the team paid for a slot at the tournament. Travel arrangements were made for the trip. As the roster of players was read, certain names were not included…some of them the best players. What?
My stepson asked me how that made sense. The team had earned the trip; why would a coach leave some really good players behind?
The answer was one of commitment. The ‘team’ had not earned the trip, but each player had worked to secure their seat on the flight to the tournament. The deal made at the start of the season was between each individual player and the coach. Personal growth was the basis of the offer made to earn this trip of a lifetime, not team success.
Sure, there were some gifted kids who demonstrated naturally superior skills for the elements of baseball. However, they had not accepted the offer made at the beginning of the season. They did not commit; they did not improve; they simply rested on their innate abilities and offered nothing more. They rejected the offer; therefore they were not invited to the tournament.
The tournament was the reward for commitment, work and responsibility. Those who stepped up received the reward. Those who looked good without commitment failed to live up to the agreement. They refused the offer; they did not gain the reward.
Natural ability is seldom an important ingredient when life lessons are learned. It is what we do with our natural gifts that matters most. The stories that teach and touch us the most are those where a person does amazing things through effort and endurance – far surpassing what their natural abilities would indicate was possible. What glory does the Lord receive by the demonstration of our natural abilities? None. He chose uneducated fishermen to be His disciples. Their ministry success could never be considered the result of their personal achievement. Their stories are meaningful because only God could be the author of them.
Should we reward a pretty girl for simply being pretty? Sure, it happens, but physical beauty fades. It is learning to overcome our shortcomings that builds character and self-esteem. Faith allows us to accept the offer made by Jesus Christ. We must come to Him – only by making the commitment and putting forth the effort will we gain the reward.
The narrow gate to heaven is never opened by natural ability. The combination is only discovered through faith and commitment.
So, how did the dream end? The fact that my stepson asked the question in the first place indicated that his ears were now open. He left our conversation and went to speak with his family, his wife and our grandchildren. They accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior, though someone else led that prayer.
It is often the case that someone other than the one who planted the seed or watered the crop brings in the harvest. It doesn’t matter how, it doesn’t matter whom. What matters is that when we enter the narrow gate to heaven our family will be complete.
Only time will tell if my dream was conceptual or prophetic. I pray it is the latter. Are you betting your life on just looking good? There is only one key that will unlock the narrow gate – Jesus Christ.
Lynn M. Baber is a Christian writer, business woman, and retired equine professional. She shares the lessons learned in thirty-five years at the business table and in the round pen with her readers. Lynn frequently uses the human-horse relationship as a metaphor for the God-human relationship. Her mission is to share a message of God’s grace and encourage His children to gather closer to “home.” Her new book, “Amazing Grays-Amazing Grace” is scheduled for release in early 2010.
Visit Lynn at http://AmazingGrays.us