He told him, “Go wash yourself in the pool of Siloam” (Siloam means “sent”). So the man went and washed and came back seeing! John 9:7 NLT
This morning I was mentally going over my to-do list. It started with the practical, day-to-day things I needed to take care of, but soon it took on a life of its own and my mind went off in another direction altogether.
Then, suddenly the voice of Holy Spirit arrested my anxious thoughts and I heard Him say “Don’t work harder to make someone’s dreams happen than they do”. I’ve been meditating on this ever since and I’m going to share my thoughts with you.
As I started to think on these things, Holy Spirit brought people and incidents to mind where I had cared more about situations, outcomes, destinies, dreams, visions and plans than the people who voiced them in the first place! I remembered times where I worked harder, became more frustrated and exhausted and carried a heavier burden than the person who had the dream.
As I share some of these situations with you, allow the Lord to speak to your heart. You might identify with me, you might feel convicted of doing too much, or leaning on others more than you should…whatever the case may be, bring to the light what belongs in the light.
I thought about my childhood. I had been given a huge responsibility to raise children I did not birth and I felt the burden of not measuring up. In turn I recalled those guitar lessons the boys hated, but took because I never had the opportunity to take them myself. The intention was good – I wanted to give them what I have been deprived of, but as the saying goes “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”.
I recalled my professional life. I worked so hard, gave so much of myself, even to the point that there was little left for my family, to fulfil the hopes of parents and the needs of my employer. They had a mission…to make money, and a vision…to look like they cared while they were doing it. I had to make both those things happen.
My thoughts went to ministry life…some of the most disappointing, painful memories fall in this category. There were those I journeyed with who cared less about the call on their lives than me, those who had so many plans and visions, but relied on me to make it happen by funding it and by doing the heavy lifting. There were those who flattered me, praised me, hung on every word I spoke, only to go right back to doing what they were doing before. I also recalled many times where the Lord placed a burden on my heart and I tried to pass the buck or simply bowed out when the going got tough. To my shame I heard myself say “someone ought to do something about…” when I was that someone.
This being far from an exhaustive list, let me move on to the point I want to make. I was wondering whether this was even biblical. Then the Lord reminded me of His plan, His vision, His dream…to have a spotless bride for His Son. He acted by sending His Son to broker peace between us and Himself. There was no expectation on us to do the heavy lifting, God the Son took full responsibility for making the dream happen. His dream, His action. Yes, we also have our role to play, we work out our salvation with fear and trembling, we do our part to choose Him and to walk with Him and to do what we know is right daily and we do it by His grace, which empowers us to walk the narrow road. God does the God-stuff and we do the people-stuff.
In the book of John, chapter 5 we read about a blind man who had a dream, who needed his vision restored and about Jesus’ unique approach.
When Jesus had said this, He spat on the ground, made some mud, and applied it to the man’s eyes. Then He told him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So the man went and washed, and came back seeing.… John 9:6, 7 NLT
Jesus took care of the divine and expected the man to play a part in making the dream come true. Had the blind man not acted, done his part, put his hands in the water and lifted it to his owns eyes, he would have died blind.
There is another, somewhat similar account in 2 Kings 5. Naaman had a dream…to be healed and restored but as we can see from the following text, he almost missed the boat because he expected the prophet to do all the work…
The king of Aram had great admiration for Naaman, the commander of his army, because through him the LORD had given Aram great victories. But though Naaman was a mighty warrior, he suffered from leprosy. (verse 1)
So Naaman came with his horses and his chariots and stood at the doorway of the house of Elisha. Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh will be restored to you and you will be clean.” But Naaman was furious and went away and said, “Behold, I thought, ‘He will surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper.’… “Are not Abanah ? Coand Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israeluld I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage. Then his servants came near and spoke to him and said, “My father, had the prophet told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean ‘?”… So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child and he was clean.…(v9 – 14)
Let’s get practical for a minute. Are you working harder than someone else to make their dream come true? Prayerfully consider this question and find a way to put boundaries around yourself. Maybe you could seek godly counsel, speak to someone who can help or find a good book to read.
The next one might be slightly harder, but ask Holy Spirit to reveal to you any possible areas where you are expecting someone else to work harder than you, to make your dreams come true. Repent, confess your sin and make amends. Don’t expect people to do for you what the Lord has asked of you, and absolutely don’t expect people to do for you what only the Lord can.
Release them from the burden you’ve placed on them and trust the Father to empower you to do your own job well.
His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful and trustworthy over a little, I will put you in charge of many things; share in the joy of your master.’ Matthew 25:21